So, zebra or no zebra? HPI or non-HPI?

How to identify HPI?

Enlighten me, Monseigneur!

(Article updated 09/2021) by Mel POINAS

If you’re here, it’s probably because you’re asking yourself this question: what if I were a person with High Intellectual Potential(also called HPI, gifted or zebra)! Definitely, there is life before and life after scratches.

On the HPI trail

I asked myself this question over four years ago. Back then, HPI wasn’t as fashionable a topic as it is today, and I had no idea what a High Potential Profile was. a High Potential profile . I was familiar with the term “gifted”, but like many people, I associated it with the cliché of the introverted genius who succeeds at everything he sets out to do.

Even back then, I was very interested in hypersensitivity, personal development and well-being at work. I was even thinking of retraining as a psychologist and wanted to go back to school (I did a semester of distance learning at the University of Clermont Ferrand, but didn’t go ahead as I ended up moving to New Zealand).

I was passionate about cognitive science. I was determined to understand how the human brain works. Above all, I think I was unconsciously looking for answers to my own inner workings. In the news feed of my social networks, I regularly had suggestions for articles related to psychology, cognitive science and personal development. One day, I came across an article entitled: Discovering that I was gifted as an adult changed my life! (source : Mademoizelle)

A little piqued by curiosity (and by my heart, which was seriously starting to race) I discovered the characteristics of HPI. A revelation! It’s as if everything became clearer after reading this testimony! I recognized myself in every way in this description of High Potential people and in the associated characteristics!

discovering you're HPI

I didn’t feel particularly intelligent, let alone gifted! I hadn’t “done anything exceptional” in my life. I even repeated the year twice… I’d been looking for my path, at every level, for many years (since I can remember) and I’d never really found it! Not to mention the cruel lack of self-confidence I hid behind arrogance, impulsiveness, vulnerability and fear of others. I had trouble connecting because I felt I wasn’t understood. After reading this Mademoizelle article, the little voice lurking in my heart woke up and dared to speak out…

That’s right, trust yourself!

To have an answer to my perpetual questions

In this article, a number of leads caught my eye. Like many zebras, I have a very atypical educational, personal and professional background which, by deduction, makes me an atypical person. I don’t leave people indifferent; generally speaking, they either adore me or can’t stand me. Even if it’s very difficult not to please everyone when you’re HPI (yes, we’d like everyone to like us and we don’t understand when they don’t!)… You can’t please everyone, that’s just the way it is! In the end, it’s just as well that pleasing everyone means pleasing no one

Then there’s the feeling of being always TOO much! I don’t know if all zebras have this too much but reading other testimonials gives me the impression that they do! I think it’s because we take things so much to heart! We’re too sensitive, too emotional, too fast, too visionary, too lucid, too exalted, too endearing, too attached

Looking back, it’s sometimes difficult to follow or understand an HPI person. What’s going on in our heads, the emotional rollercoaster… But also the distress we feel when faced with certain situations or misunderstandings. Even if being a zebra is ultimately a wonderful opportunity, you have to learn to tame it.

I’ve often been told: why does everything affect you so much? Why does it bring tears to your eyes? Why are you crying? Why are you getting angry? Why are you so upset? Why are you so involved? In other words, you shouldn’t care, you should let it slide, let it go, it’s not your problem, it’s none of your business, you’re not even concerned…

HPI and Injustice…

But because it’s UNJUST! Unfair, you understand! It makes no sense, no sense at all! Why don’t I just let it go? Because I can’t! I don’t know how to give a damn! I can’t… And we’re all concerned! We all live on the same planet, we’re all human beings, we all belong to the same ship and I’ll never understand why anyone would sabotage the boat that keeps us afloat! When you’re HPI, it’s as if you have a super awareness of the world with a hyper-lucidity that easily becomes anxiety-provoking.

It’s true that I don’t live in Africa, I don’t lack water, and I’ve never known misery, yet when I think of the living conditions in certain villages, of the children, the women, the families, I get sick to my stomach and it goes round and round in my head!

When I think of intensive livestock farming, of violence against animals and human beings, of a world that’s walking on its head and turning upside down, of attacks, wars, people getting into fights over soccer teams or a blinker forgotten in a roundabout, it’s beyond me!

All I want to do when I’m confronted with all this nonsense is hole myself up in a cave and never come out! Turning a blind eye to the absurdity of the world… But, let’s be honest, we can’t live in autarky, at least not entirely! 😉

After all, it’s true that we’re quick to criticize our fellow creatures (and our sometimes destructive personalities), but I recently realized that animals can also be terribly cruel to each other! When I took a closer look at bees, I discovered that they kill males! (I promise, despite the unlikely digression about killer bees, stick around, you might find it interesting!).

The male bee is called a drone. They don’t forage or create honey – they just reproduce! When winter arrives, the female bees kill the drones to preserve their reserves and optimize their chances of survival. A sad fate for these little insects! The human being almost seems like an altar boy…

But let’s leave the wilderness behind and get back to our sheep…

Being a zebra, the answer to all my life’s expectations.

After reading this famous article on giftedness, I spoke with my psychologist at the time to validate a potential HPI. The puzzle was just beginning to take shape and I was just beginning to make sense of it all. In the end, I wasn’t crazy, I just had a different, unidentified way of functioning!

In those days, gifted adults were still called gifted adults. I didn’t really recognize myself in this term, preferring the more symbolic Zebra, hence the title of the blog and book Follow the Zebra. I like HPI because it’s short, practical and consensual, even if I have trouble with the notion of High Intellectual Potential. You can’t blame people for finding it pretentious when you hear: I have more potential than you, so I’m smarter than you

Zèbre was more neutral, easier to wear and, above all, more useful for explaining the concept of High Potential without being confronted with people’s apriori.

The WAIS test, validation and relief.

I passed the WAIS IV . The WAIS test is not an end in itself, but I think I needed it. I’d lost too much self-confidence to take the test on my own! And only a psychologist can give the test under the right conditions.

Now I know, I’m sure!
I’m HPI, zebra, gifted, High Potential and all the other names people call us.
IQ >> validated ; Emotional overload >> validated ; Hypersensitivity >> validated ; Unconditional optimism >> validated

It’s much simpler now. Every day I learn to live with this particularity and make it a strength :)! And we’ve been doing it for 4 years now – joy and happiness!

Thanks to this identification, my life has changed! The last four years have been full of twists and turns, but I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for for 30 years: my place in the World.
I hope you find yours. 🙂

What about you? Zebra or no Zebra?

If you’d like to find out more about HPI, please click here to read the article.

You can also find more information, resources and tools on Giftedness in Mel POINASbook. With a lot of humor, Mel tells the story of the discovery of her giftedness and the routines she put in place to finally find her place!

Le livre

Écrit par une HPI !
Un témoignage et des solutions concrètes pour découvrir, comprendre et apprendre à vivre en étant HPI.

To go further, you can read

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