Rules for being a gifted adult, Part 2: New and improved for the 21st century

Pentagon and Marvel Superheroes.
Sam Burns looks at a display of the new cover for Marvel Comics' custom-made comic book for U.S. service members at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on April 28, 2005. Marvel unveiled a custom comic book for members of the Armed Services that was distributed to more than 150,000 service members in the middle east. (DoD photo: Tech Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON, October 29, 2014 – Like many superheroes with secret origins, there comes a time for all the rest of us who’ve been carefully hiding in plain sight to let those superpowers rip. It will be good for us, it will be good for our family, and it will be good for our careers.

As former ostracized kids who managed to stay out of trouble, or at least not get in a lot of trouble, we long ago survived childhood – which is, essentially, the goal of all children. But we need a new approach.

Merely doing the exactly the opposite of what the rules dictate in order to protest them seems pretty simplistic if you think about it. It’s what kids do, and what we did when we were kids. One advantage of getting older is figuring out that breaking the rules doesn’t require polarity.

READ ALSO: Rules for being a gifted adult Part 1: Secret Origins

Nowadays, the most personally satisfying way of breaking a rule is not to do its opposite, but work through its fallacies in your mind as a way of deciding what to do next.

That doesn’t mean your world is a world with no rules. That means there are new, special rules, just for us—rules that free us from the old rules, rules that can unmake our misery and free us to choose anew. Here they are, with a tip of the mortarboard to Mary-Elaine Jacobsen.

Rules for Being a Gifted Adult

  1. Get the mundane tasks out of the way without getting sidetracked by how much they annoy you. Save your energy for your greatest passion. That means doing boring stuff only if it’s blocking fun stuff.


  1. Don’t allow yourself to become scattered, no matter how many talents or interests you have. It’s perfectly okay to have a million talents and interests. If closure—finishing stuff—is part of your path to satisfaction, then do it.


  1. Develop a self-care plan and practice a technique like meditation, yoga, guided imagery, or deep breathing to center your self each day. I just noticed those are really quiet things. Maybe you need to do something loud. Revised rule: do whatever reminds you of who you are and lessens your risk of coming apart at the seams.


  1. Stay on track with important goals. Think and plan from start to finish. Identify clearly what you want to achieve. Then find people who can help you develop a step-by-step plan, who’ve gone where you want to go, and who want to share what they’ve learned. Oh, and drop your rules about who knows what. Experienced helpers might be under five, over 94, or any age in between.

Want an attractive formatted version of the “Rules for Being a Gifted Adult”? Put Rules for Being a Gifted Adult in the subject line of an email to [email protected].


Fran Ponick, MA, is certified in P-ESL (Pronouncing English as a Second Language). Fran’s company, Leadership English®, offers full-service business communication skills, training, and coaching for executive and entrepreneurial non-native and native speakers of English as well as award-winning writing and editorial services for businesses large and small.


Leadership English®: Your Voice. Your Future.

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