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    How Can a Gifted Kid Pick Good Role Models?

    I want my gifted readers to change the world. Good role models are in short supply. Some of my readers should become elected officials, but I can't recommend anyone in government as a role model. Some of my readers should get into big business, but then they'd have to know how to sort good business skills from greedy motivations. I'd love my readers to revolutionize the arts, so they'd have to pick role models that have made the transition from artist or performer to business tychoon...and I'm not too sure about a lot of those guys, either.


    A kid's first role models are usually parents. Helping a gifted kid pick out role models that expand on those gifts is a big parenting job. (photo - jose-moreno - unsplash)

    Many parents are uncomfortable with the title Be the Boss by 12. “Boss” implies someone who is mean, ignorant, and self-centered to the point that they don't care at all about the people who work for them. They don't want their kids to turn into one of those kind of people.

    Well, I don't want their kids to turn into a rotten person, either. I want my readers to grow up happy, healthy, and ready to change the world for the better. To do that most efficiently, the people of the world are just, plain, going to have to see those great kids as The Boss.

    And those great kids are going to need to project that kind of authority to the people of the world. That's how it works! But there are a few obstacles between here and there. Let's talk some of these out.

    For example, a lot of gifted kids aren't aware of the idea of a role model, especially one that could help them really build power from their gift or talent. Many parents aren't familiar with this idea either. In fact, there are parents who don't want third party interference when it comes to raising their kids. OK, a role model doesn't have to interact directly with anyone. They can often serve just as effectively as a role model from a distance.

    Moving on, it's also often the case that many gifted kids feel that they're simply smart enough to figure it all out on their own. While in principle they might be correct, what they're often not aware of is how big “it all” actually is. A role model could save them a lot of learning time because the role model can demonstrate the habits needed to succeed and point the shorter way.

    In addition, there really aren't many solo geniuses in the world who gained world-wide acclaim without becoming part of a very progressive community of like-minded people. Real scientists learn from each other daily, continuously. Great musicians start out with great teachers, and when they learn all they can with a teacher, musicians learn from each other, peer-to-peer.

    As a gifted person grows and develops their skill sets, here's the progression of people one might naturally grow with over time:

    1. A role model — a famous person with the right characteristics that a kid should copy
    2. A teacher, mentor, advisor, or other person to help direct the development of advanced talents
    3. Professional peers.

    So, in the young years, it's a role model. How should a gifted kid pick a couple of them out? Chances are, your gifted child has already picked a few out. They have favorite famous people. If they read they probably have favorite historical figures. They have people that they want to be like.

    OK, parent, do a judicious, light handed job of vetting these figures. Remember, no one is perfect; all these role models will have flaws. How can you turn the flaws into teaching points? How can you make flaws that disqualify a kid's choice into a larger life lesson?

    The Be the Boss by 12 ebook series starts with a volume just for parents: Volume Zero: Parents' Prep. It will help you become familiar with the whole Be the Boss by 12 concept.

    Order and Download Parents' Prep Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G072719 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    Two Kinds of Quickness that Lead to Success

    In upcoming volumes of Be the Boss by 12 we will map out all of the different ways you, as a gifted kid, can stand out as a leader if you are small. Today we are going to work through the ways you can use speed and agility to demonstrate leadership skills and gather a following.


    Just like in football, a leader can impress with physical speed and agility, and in making decisions with speed and agility. (photo - jeffrey-f-lin - unsplash)

    Let's start with some obvious, physical things. The big guys in class often give the impression of being leaders, whether they're actually trying to or not. Now, some of these bigger kids often have some athletic skill. They can be strong, fast, and agile. It's very often the case that the class is attracted to big, strong, and fast kids as informal leaders. This is the same process that all kinds of big animals use to spot bosses and leaders in the group.

    So, this gives us Quickness Type Number One: physical speed and agility. The good news with this is that, in fact, you don't have to be big and strong to be quick and agile. I bet you've been surprised once in a while how smaller people, whether kids or adults, can move so quickly, and so gracefully. This means that even if you are kind of small in your class, you can create a physical impression of speed, which, actually, implies a kind of power that people do respect.

    The use of speed, quickness, and agility is not the basis for being The Boss. It's just a tool for you to use to create the impression of physical power. That's what counts: Creating the impression of power. That's a very handy thing to be able to do if you can do it, or if you can learn how to do it.

    Since quickness and agility with our movements isn't quite enough, what can we add to that to create an even stronger impression of boss-like power? Like the athletes in a soccer/football game, people who can keep their eyes on the whole field, spot the teammate in scoring position, and make the instantaneous decision to pass the ball, you can be quick and agile when you make decisions with your classmates. This gives us Quickness Type Number Two: mental speed and agility to take in information, and make good decisions quickly.

    Maybe it's not 100%, but as a rule gifted people are quick-witted. Even if the topic being discussed isn't in the sweetspot of your gift or talent, you still have a mind that likely puts things together faster than most people. Sure, it might be something of a stretch for you get used to handling ideas and decisions outside of your comfort zone, but practice making those stretches whenever you run into them. Don't be shy about trying, and don't be shy about saying what you think.

    After all, shyness doesn't mark you as a leader. Speaking up in an appropriate tone of voice can. And if you've got the right ideas needed for the situation, you'll get high marks for leadership.

    Our approach in Be the Boss by 12 is based on patterns in your behaviors and the way you see things. We teach you how to watch for other people's patterns, too. This helps you figure out what people want, or what they need to hear if things are going a little strangely.

    We have an ebook that can help you discover these patterns and turn them into reliable rules for dealing with people, and learning more about them. Build Your Own System of Rules shows you where many of these patterns come from, and how you can use them all through your life to become an ever more successful grownup.

    Order and Download Build Your Own System of Rules Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G071819 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    The Three Killer Tricks for Promoting You and Your Great Talent

    Many people consider Mr. Trump to be an unqualified man of minimal capabilities. Yet, he landed “the big job,” didn't he? How do you suppose he accomplished that? He did it by carefully building a large following through the art of self promotion. This strongly suggests that to succeed, the only skill anyone, gifted or not, needs is the ability to draw a large following to one's self. And I think that might actually be correct.

    Front Man

    Self promotion is a performance art that every gifted and talented kid needs to master. (photo - faruq-al-aqib - unsplash)

    What does this mean for us as gifted kids? It means that, for most of us, we will have to create a part for us to play when we're not at home. OK, so what do I mean by that? It means that when we're out in public, especially when we are using our gifts or telling people about them, that we think of ourselves in a special way, and that we act in a special. So, let's figure out how we need to think and act.

    The first Killer Trick is all about the way we think of ourselves. Thinking might be the hard part of promoting ourselves. Some of us might have habits of thinking of ourselves as unimportant (for any of a number of reasons). Some of us might be so concentrated on our gift or talent that we haven't thought of ourselves as having to meet and work with people ever. Regardless of where we all are starting from, let's all start shaping the way we think of ourselves with these three ideas:

    • “I have great confidence in my gifts, and in myself as a person.”
    • “It is important that the rest of the world gets to experience the things I do.”
    • “It is up to me to make sure that the world gets to know me well.”

    The second Killer Trick is smiling with confidence. Smiling is the universal ice-breaker. Even more powerful is smiling as a person who is confident in the gifts and talents that they control. Confidence of the kind where you really believe that you can make something about another person's life better. People respond well, as a rule, to a confident smile, and they will often accept your request to talk with them a little bit to get acquainted.

    The third Killer Trick is to get this new acquaintance to start talking about themselves for a little while before you start talking about the things you do. Why should you do that? It is very common among people that they think of themselves as the smartest person in the room whether it's true or not. When you get these people to talk first, they associate you with being smart, too. And even if you are young, or very young, when you start to speak to them as a young adult they will take you much more seriously.

    Once you can tell that they take you seriously at some level, then you can begin to teach them about you and the things you work on as a gifted and talented person. And if you express yourself with enthusiasm, they might become enthused, too. If you are excited about the things you do, speak about that excitement; why are you excited?

    But since we're young, we ought to keep in mind that we will often make social mistakes with people simply because we are inexperienced. We just don't have a lot of practice in meeting people and making them happy to know us. So like everybody else, we have to learn from our mistakes, and not get discouraged. Being good around people takes a lot of work for gifted people.

    Fortunately, much of what makes us gifted comes from us being quick learners. If we pay good attention to what works and doesn't work with people, we can make adjustments, just as if we were learning to play a musical instrument better, or write better computer code for an app we're working on. We will find reliable patterns in the way our relationships to other people work, and we can learn even more quickly because of the patterns we discover.

    We have an ebook that can help you discover these patterns and turn them into reliable rules for dealing with people, and learning more about them. Build Your Own System of Rules shows you where many of these patterns come from, and how you can use them all through your life to become an ever more successful grownup.

    Order and Download Build Your Own System of Rules Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G071119 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    The Three Times You Just Gotta Ask Questions

    A lot of people in my age group were brought up with the “be seen and not heard” form of social interaction. I guess it was presumed that kids had nothing to say worth hearing, so there was no point in training them to be anything but silent. So, actually, not only didn't we learn how to interact with grownups, but we didn't even learn how to be polite! Just “silent.”

    Question Hands

    Life for gifted and talented people is all about asking good questions in order to get good information. (photo - artem-maltsev - unsplash)

    Well, you just have to be able to ask questions whenever you need information. So, now, in order to satisfy the simplest demands of manners and politeness, here's how you get started. Before you ask the question that's important to you, you have to start by asking another question, because, in fact, it's polite to ask permission to ask a question. Without disrupting any conversation that a person is already engaged in, you should ask, “May ask you a question?” And if they say, “Yes, of course,” then you go ahead and ask away. Simple as that.

    Now that the issue of manners has been satisfied, we can get to when you just have to ask your question. The most obvious time, and maybe the easiest, is when you hear someone say something that causes you to wonder about what was said. Maybe you didn't understand what was said. Maybe you wanted the person to continue talking about the topic simply because you found it interesting. Now, if you want to challenge what was said, then you have to be polite about it, and not start an argument. You might politely open your question with why you are asking. You might say (for example, if this is the case), “I was reading a blog about that, and they had a different view. Please tell me more about how you came up with your view.”

    The second kind of time that comes up for gifted and talented people is when you're working hard on something, and you just can't overcome a big problem in your work. Some gifted people are too proud to ask for help. That's going to slow them down. In almost any aspect of life, the people who succeed the most quickly are the people who can get good answers to their questions most quickly. Giftedness isn't about having all the answers before you start. It's about having capabilities that help you learn and grow more quickly than average. And learning is all about finding the right questions as soon as possible, and then getting good answers for those.

    The third, and perhaps, most important time you need to ask your question is when it's really important to you, but you think you already know what the answer will be. In times like these, our emotions are usually giving us mixed signals or bad signals. Here are some quick examples from my life.

    I wanted to ask a girl out, but thought she'd say no. Good thing I asked anyway, because she said yes.

    Eventually, I had to look for a job. It happens when you grow up. You can't go around looking for a job while you believe no on will want to hire you. Some people call that “making the decision for the other person,” when you shouldn't. You should always let the people make their own decision for real, even if sometimes it's not the decision you want. You always need to ask the question.

    It's kind of like asking for that date with the girl. If you want it, you have to ask for it. In fact, it's all kind of like sales. Why do I say that? Because during some of my jobs I've had to sell things. You can't say, “I know you won't want this, but will you buy my stuff?” You don't know what they're going to say, so don't ever make it up in your mind. Ask!

    Gifted people should stick to using questions as information gathering tools. Never guess; always ask a question. If you don't have good habits when it comes to asking questions that help you succeed, we have an ebook that helps you understand your habits, and how to fix them up if you need to. Building Habits to Win will help yo get started.

    Order and Download Building Habits to Win Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G070519 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    Finding the Special Pattern that Locks to Your Gift

    A few posts back I worked through some thoughts about boredom and giftedness. I related how my junior high and high school peers weren't bored because we found our passions. School became a backdrop with a variety of resources. I've been thinking about that ever since. Let's take another idea from Be the Boss by 12 to explore this: the attention pattern.

    Color Swirl

    Everybody's senses “click” with sights, sounds, touches, tastes and smells. What kind of patterns really get your positive attention? (photo - daniele-levis-pelusi - unsplash)

    The big, important pattern in our ebook series is the spot the boss pattern. This is the pattern of boss-like appearances and actions that we instinctively respond to when a group naturally seeks out potential leaders. We take this pattern apart, restack it, and figure out how a gifted kid can make use of the parts of the pattern to succeed in life.

    But there are many of these pre-wired patterns. I suspect, and this is ony a suspicion at this point, that attention patterns help a gifted kid find their areas of greatest specialization. In the natural wiring that creates the phenomenon we call “giftedness,” there probably also exist unique attention patterns that draw a kid to specific activities.

    I'm visually oriented, for example. Striking natural beauty from coral reefs, to the Grand Canyon and up to Hubble images of astronomical objects simply call to me.

    Some of my musical friends have completely novel descriptions for time; some I understand, some I don't. There are patterns in time that are captured by patterns of sound. The musicians play with these patterns, and reshape them, changing the way the sound works and the ear responds.

    Recently, I watched a movie about a very young girl gifted in mathematics. They did not go into the way she experienced her maths, but mathematics could arguably be considered the ultimate tool for quantifying, describing and manipulating all conceivable patterns.

    So, you're thought of as gifted, you're bored with traditional school work, and you're frustrated with life at an early age. It's a big universe out there, and since you are young, you haven't had much time to explore it's variety. And something else that might be critical (just another guess), is that as a rule, you should think of attention patterns as designed to find patterns in the real world. It's not that your brain can't find the same kinds of patterns in a virtual reality experience; it's just not what they were built to do.

    We can also flip this pattern idea around and ask, “In your thoughts, what patterns do you experience most frequently that are similar to real world experiences?” These could be important clues that help you find your most intense interests even though they haven't been triggered by experience yet.

    In many cases these attention patterns follow rules, and form habits. You can also investigate these in an effort to find your passion of giftedness. Our ebook Build Your Own System of Rules outlines the Be the Boss by 12 system for understanding both yourself and the people around you. It might prove valuable in your search for a more enjoyable life.

    Order and Download Build Your Own System of Rules Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G061919 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    The Big Plus for Gifted Kids Who Get Real World Interaction

    Many of my friends know numerous kids, teenagers and young adults with diagnosed anxiety disorders. We wonder if they were just as common when we were kids, because we really don't remember there being so many. Of those young people that I know well with anxiety, they burn tons of screen time but very little engagement with much of the world.

    Farm Kids

    By instinct, early childhood development is about building adult-grade self-sufficiency. If screen-time habits from childhood are inadequate for modern adult living, might this be a factor in the apparent growth of adolescent anxiety in America? (photo - troy-t - unsplash)

    I think back on my current screen time habits. Since the early 1980s I probably average six to eight hours in front of a computer, and up to two hours on TV (since I've avoided the new habit of binge-watching). So, I'm a fairly big screen user, probably not a whole lot different than younger people. I'm not anxous about very much. OK, this weekend I was cooking for a small, high-end wine party and was anxious about things coming out right, but that's about as bad as it gets. (And, the food and wines were all superlative, in case you were interested.)

    So, I'm not a screen-time basher, at least, not in isolation from other factors that might create anxiety in a young person. What I might suggest, though, is that as prevalent as screens are at work and at home, there is still a big disconnect between real world demands and screen time skills. Perhaps for some kids, facing real world situations is a completely alien experience, and that seriously scares them. Their life-managing habits as learned from screen time aren't up to managing real world situations with confidence.

    I can't speak for city people of the mid-twentieth century, but we rural and small-town kids got heavy exposure to everything. Nope, it wasn't all safe. You could fall off a tractor and break something. You step behind a big animal at the wrong time and get kicked and injured. So, you had to learn how to move around big and dangerous things safely.

    We also got exposed to all kinds of people. Some were nice. Some were mean. Most were just OK, nothing special. A lot of them were relatives, and a lot of others were from church. They all should have been well-behaved adults, but a fair number weren't. You had to figure out who was who just to stay out of trouble.

    And I haven't even gotten to the plain old act of playing with other kids, some of whom were nice, some of whom were mean, and most of whom were just OK, nothing special. The point is that we spent a lot of time around real world objects, animals and people. As very young kids, we learned habits that don't come from screen time.

    There's no point in suggesting that all gifted kids should find a farm and move in with the family. Those days are gone. But, are there places close at hand where a gifted kid could get exposure to real world situations to build an additional set of habits, since screen habits will continue to be important, too?

    Perhaps you will need to get inventive to create a broader range of real world experiences. This is way outside of the services provided by a school system. The point is to avoid anxiety as your gifted child starts “touching” the real, grown up world. Maybe you can think of this as experiments in social exposure. You can set up controlled conditions, keep things safe, dip the toes in, so to speak.

    It may be helpful to work out a system of rules for designing these experiences. Engage the child to get an idea on where to start, and how to proceed from one experiment to the next. And if you want a few suggestions on how to do this, get a copy of Build Your Own System of Rules for some help. It will give you and your child an approach for studying real world experiences, and learning how to succeed through what you discover.

    Order and Download Build Your Own System of Rules Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G061719 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    The Greatest Remedy for Boredom or Loneliness: Curiosity!

    A post or two back I mentioned that boredom wasn't a big problem in my junior high group because we each had found our subjects of passion. We weren't bored because we were busy exploring our fields of deep interest. Of course, an alternate name for our passion could be “deep curiosity.”

    Curious Group

    Your health-building curiosity expands rapidly in the presence of other people who enjoy exploring their curiosity as well. (sketch - danetta-armm - friend)

    So, let me aim curiosity more directly at your feelings of boredom or loneliness. Who cares how gifted you are, or where your greatest talents may lie. If you're feeling bored or lonely, let's just take a look at the way you experience curiosity. Maybe that will lead us someplace helpful.

    A lot of gifted and talented people might have a personal focus on a small range of possible achievements, but they also live with a very broad interest in the world in general. There are millions of STEM people who also love art, or music, or architecture. There are tons of musicians who can build awesome electronic devices to augment their music. And most of these people absolutely love to hang out with people outside of their normal range of interests.

    In my case, I'm an astrophysicist. I used to be considered a serious keyboard and guitar player. One of my favorite things to do even these days is to hang out with the jazz cats. We talk music, and we talk the world's problems. It's a blast.

    In the 1960s the musicians and the visual artists used to hang out in famous groups in many of the world's big cities. Some of these groups also become visibly active in social issues, most notably at that time the war in Viet Nam.

    If you are gifted and talented in some way, but you haven't found the passion for a field of work that speaks to you, simply get curious about other gifted and talented people in your age group. You'll have to practice this and get used to this. But here's what happens if you do:

    Spending time with other gifted people, regardless of their interests, will help you explore much more of what the world has to offer much more quickly than simply hanging out by yourself. If you keep practicing making friends and hanging out with other gifted people, both your boredom and your loneliness will evaporate. That's not to say that every problem you feel automatically disappears. It is to say that building a community of your own out of lots of interesting people solves many perceived problems that come with growing up gifted.

    This getting out and meeting with other people serves another purpose. Be the Boss by 12 as a program emphasizes the life-long need for gifted people to network. You have to learn how to connect with big decision makers in order for you to make a good living with your gifts and talents. People don't just come flocking to you as if you have some international reputation for being gifted and talented. Nope. You have to make that noise yourself.

    So if you build good networking skills with the people you're most comfortable with, those habits will also work well for you when it comes time to make money with your gifts. Doesn't matter if it's arts or STEM, you have to be able to walk up to decision makers, shake their hand, tell them who you are, and why they should get to know you better.

    After all, you are worth getting to know better, aren't you?

    Order and Download Building Habits to Win Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G060619 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    The 2 Worlds of the Genius

    You know, since I grew up before “giftedness” was invented, I personally view the phrase “gifted and talented” as a brand used to sell tests to parents and sell “gifted” educational programs to school systems. When I was growing up, we didn't need tests and programs. We did, however, live in two worlds. In one world, we “played the game” of being high-performance students within the confines of the standard school system curriculum. In the other world, we jury-rigged our own ways of building up our skills. It's in this other world where we worked hardest! Some parents could afford a little more outside support than others. Some of us found odd jobs, even at very young ages, to fund our extra-curricular activities.

    Throughout History,
    These Have Been
    the Two Worlds of the Genius!

    Color Black and White

    In one world, the development of extreme gifts and talents is usually best facilitated by a combination of individual hard work guided by a knowledgeable mentor. Be the Boss by 12 shows the gifted kid how to bring their awesome results back into the other world. (photo - benjamin-davies - unsplash)

    Good institutional support for the ambitions of gifted kids, especially for kids who have issues with the lack of challenge, is no doubt a great thing. However, the gifted parenting groups on Facebook suggest that such support is uncommon to start with, and if it exists is gated through a testing system that may not be calibrated to a wide range of children.

    Maybe, as was the case for us small town farm kids in 20th Century Michigan, institutional solutions for the education of gifted kids still aren't necessary! If we would have had the web in the 1960s, for example, we would have gone bonkers on the new freedom to explore our interests on our own. So let's look at a few issues that exist now that didn't exist then and see if putting together a DIY (“do it yourself,” just in case...) program for gifted education makes sense.

    Let's look at a frequently posted issue: boredom and under-challenging classroom experiences. When I think of my gang back in junior high, I see a bunch of focused and motivated young people. We each connected with a topic (in some cases, topics) for which we had both the skills and the passions to pursue with great results.

    In my younger, grade school days, I also took it upon myself to ask the teacher if I could do other things when I got done with assigned work. In my case, I got science books from the school library, and then I drew hundreds of pictures (poorly, I have to say) from the books I was reading. In both grade school and junior high, I had interests that could absorb my attention once the assigned work was completed.

    Online resources today make this a lot easier, as long as the gifted kid doesn't disrupt the classroom working the web.

    Another issue that could have practical consequences: Testing for giftedness and participating in gifted and talented programs might yield competitive advantages when it comes to getting into desired colleges. There are a couple of ways to look at this, the current scandal on big-money admissions cheating aside.

    First, at the undergraduate level the actual curriculum is pretty standardized. Any good state university will deliver a useful educational environment. Strictly viewed from the standpoint of undergraduate education, a gifted kid can do well in any good school.

    Second (Part A), if there are advantages to getting into some schools, it's in the huge, well-connected network of alumni. So, one could plan ahead and get into an Ivy League school to connect with American social power.

    Second (Part B), one could also choose to get into a college to network with the scholars involved in your field of interest at the earliest possible point in life. Like many things in life, the earlier you can become active in a community of interest to you, the faster you can grow into a recognized member of that community.

    Third, let's assume that the gifted kid in question really made huge strides in their DIY educational program. They may have generated sophisticated intellectual properties (writings, music, art, inventions) that show real distinction when compared to those who went the institutional testing route. This shows the admissions department an active life of high accomplish, making this kid a very attractive student.

    Now, it should be said that this level of accomplishment will require discipline and strong work habits to achieve. We have an introduction to this topic, Building Habits to Win. As a kid grows up they get habits from their instincts, their family, and their school life. Even if all of these habits were good (and they're not), a fair number of them will hinder the focus required to undertake a DIY learning program. This ebook helps kids sort through their habits, and to pick out and build up the ones that will help them succeed.

    Order and Download Building Habits to Win Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G052719 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    4 Factors for Restoring FAIRNESS

    Another big, whole-life issue came up in a recent Facebook parenting group this week: FAIRNESS! It's an even bigger issue when you put Be the Boss by 12 into the picture: How does a future leader create fairness in all of the gray areas that leaders often encounter?

    Fairness Poster

    Fairness is fairly easy to obtain if everyone agrees on the same standards of fairness. Since that rarely happens, wise leaders have to figure out how to make their difficult judgments acceptable to the people or groups in conflict. (photo - jon-tyson - unsplash)

    Our ebook series Be the Boss by 12 is a comprehensive guide for making habits work for us instead of against us. That includes making the habits of others work for us, too. So, let's take an extreme, yet common case, where one person's habits of fairness are “rules-based,” and the other person's habits of fairness are “self-centered.”

    We can imagine that we're in 6th grade, a bunch of us are playing some kind of game, and there's a tough guy or bully who thinks that winning by cheating is still a real win. Since the cheating started, pretty much everyone else is having a hard time having fun. What should happen next?

    Let's start out by looking at the things that could happen:

    • The bully could continue cheating, and everyone else could continue to have a bad time.
    • The bully could leave the game, and everyone else could have a good time.
    • The bully could stop cheating, play fair, and then everyone has a good time together.

    OK, that covers what the bully might do. What might the rest of the players do?

    • The rest of the kids could just put up with the cheating, even though they're not having fun.
    • The rest of the kids could find a way to force the bully to play by the rules.
    • The rest of the kids could find a way to force the bully to leave the game.
    • The rest of the kids could leave the game and find something else to do, preferably that would exclude the bully.

    All right, those are all the things that could happen in this situation. Let's now suppose that one of the kids see how to take the leader's role in this situation and “fix it” in some sense. What else would this person have to keep in mind while dealing with the bully?

    • Regardless of what happens, we need to keep everyone safe.
    • If we can bring fun back into the situation, that would be great.
    • If we can teach everyone a bit more about playing and working together so that everyone benefits, that would be great, too.
    • If we can't fix the situation, then we have to find a safe way to stop what's happening and let everyone leave.

    Those three groups of ideas are what you as the young leader use to set up the way you will bargain with the bully to restore fairness. Bargaining, or negotiating, is your fourth factor. If you think it's safe enough, you could start the bargaining with a statement like, “Look, your cheating is wrecking the game. If you play by the rules we can all have some fun. If you won't, then we're all just leaving the game to do something else.” That's not likely going to be the end of the bargaining; it's just a starting suggestion.

    At this point some would say, “Hey, Dr. Meylan, what about being brave enough to step up to the bully? Wouldn't that be a fifth factor, you've got to be brave enough to take the lead?” You know, I wouldn't mind if you added that to the factors. I was just assuming that, regardless of how scared you felt, you made the decision to try to fix the situation. Once you made the decision, here are the things to think about that might help you succeed.

    But in addition to creating fairness for others, there are all kinds of reasons a gifted kid should really consider learning how to lead. For example, you might need to know how to create fairness for yourself. There might be a job or other opportunity in your future that you will want. If you don't know how to deal with other decision makers, you might get a bad deal taking that job.

    To help you think through some of the benefits of being able to take charge of your own life, we have the ebook Be the Boss by 12: Time to Be the Boss. Who knows how much better you can make your own life, the lives of others, or maybe even a sizable part of the world. But you have to make a decision to “Be the Boss.”

    Order and Download Time to Be the Boss Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G052519 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    The 3 Parts of a
    Life-improving Rule

    I'm writing this blog assuming that you, the reader, are a bright person around 10 to 12 years old. If you're older than that, this will all work for you just as well. Here's the issue. Regardless of how you are being raised, you already live by a large number of habits. You probably don't know that they're habits. You probably think that the whole world just operates the way you do.

    Helping Hand

    In my case, I needed to invent and learn the life-improving rule that it is OK to ask for help or for things to help me succeed. (photo - noah-buscher - unsplash)

    Well, as old as I am now, in just these last few years I've learned that there are a lot of childhood habits that I should have stopped using once I got to be 12 or 13 years old. You might have some of these, too, and now you're getting close to the age when you will want to figure out different ways for your growing-up self to do things.

    There are a lot of ways to make these kinds of changes, but none of them happens by itself. You have to decide what you need to do differently. In my case, one of my habits was not to ask anyone for anything. I was taught that asking for things was rude. I could accept something that was offered, like a second cookie off a tray, but I couldn't ask for it.

    But as a grown up, you have to ask for things from people to help you succeed. There are rude ways to ask and there are polite ways to ask. Sometimes you have to do more than ask: You have to persuade and convince someone, sometimes, to get something important.

    Suppose you're a great musician and you want to put on a concert in the school gym or auditorium. Well, you can't wait around for the principal or the band teacher to offer you the use of the gym. You have to go ask if you can use it.

    And once you've grown up and you're becoming a famous musician, you have to be able to ask for the right pay to play or record, or compose for a movie soundtrack. If you can't ask for the right things, you may remain unknown and poor.

    So, let's say we need to stop being shy about asking for good things that we really need to build on our gift or talent. Our habit is that we believe we shouldn't ask for things, and we need to change that belief into that we have to ask for things to make our success possible. There's no other way to be successful. We can't wait around for people guess that we're good at music, or that we need some help to become better known as a player. We have to be able to speak for ourselves with anyone who can help us.

    Well, it's very hard to change habits, especially the ones we learn from our parents. So, we need to make up little rules for ourselves that help to remind us how we need to change a habit. For Be the Boss by 12, I invented a special kind of rule to help. Here are the 3 parts:

    • There's a sentence, or at most, a short paragraph, that describes the new thing that you want to make a habit in your life.
      • Then there's a short description of how much better life is if you learn to do this habit all the time.
      • Well, then, there's a description of how life will go if you don't add this habit to your life.

    To help us feel comfortable about asking for things, we could write this rule out in the following way:

    • It is vital to my success as a gifted adult that I learn now to ask for the things and the help I need.
      • If I learn now to ask for help to become a success with my gifts, I will speed up my ability to live a successful and happy life.
      • If I don't learn to ask for help when I need it, I will have to wait for someone to notice that I have something to offer, which leaves me with no control over my future.

    We use this three part rule to remind us of what we want to change in our lives, and what the consequences are if we make the change or don't. This kind of rule helps us practice the new habit that we want to create, and reminds us of the reasons we really need to learn the new habit.

    We describe these kinds of rules, and a few other important helps in Be the Boss by 12: Build Your Own System of Rules. You can build your own system of self-empowerment, custom fit to you, by mapping out changes you need to make, and training yourself to make them.

    Order and Download Build Your Own System of Rules Now

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G051419 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.


    One of the tougher aspects of parenting is the management of priorities given the limitations of a 24-hour day. Even when you want to just drop everything to take on a teachable moment you don't always have the time. And until you “clock-train” your kid, even a bright child doesn't understand the time constraints you bear.

    Question Mark

    As much as possible, treat your child's question as if coming from one of your peers. Ask back, “Do you really want to know?” If the child says, “Yes,” use the time available then to open up the topic, with the promise to take up the topic as soon as you can later to finish the answering process. (photo - emily-morter - unsplash)

    The mission of the Be the Boss by 12 series is to give gifted kids the tools to be successful adults. We think we share that mission with parents. The pattern of adult interaction that kids take from their families will be the basis of the way kids will interact with grownups when they're big. They get more practice dealing with grownups when parents treat their kids “peer-to-peer” as much as possible.

    If the only practice a kid gets in dealing with adults is dealing with them “as parents,” then they'll likely continue to see grownups as parent figures, even when everyone in the room is the same, grownup age as they are. I'm not a big fan of transactional analysis (TA), and it's pretty old fashioned by today's standards. Yet, on this point TA might have it correct: If you think everyone has parent status, then you will always interact with adults as if you're the kid.

    Realistically it's impossible all of the time, but whenever possible, treat all of your children's questions as if the questions are coming from a grownup person. Sometimes it's impossible because of time constraints, sometimes because the kid is just pushing your buttons. But a lot of the time it's hard because your kid has just put you on the spot. That's really uncomfortable.

    I mean, let's be honest here. A really gifted kid might not have your years of experience, but they're probably making up for that gap with their gifts, talents, and the work they've already put in to achieve big results. And it's also very clear that advanced education or exceptional training isn't always enough when engaging a gifted child. So if you don't have answers at the ready, what can you do?

    What I have observed in a few households is that, somehow, the parents have built a family culture of learning. These families probably all did it somewhat differently. But when such a family pops up, the interactions between parents and children are a wonder to watch.

    One feature that was often part of these families' lives was dinner time conversation that focused on grownup issues. Might have been the politics of the day. Maybe they discussed the environment. In some families the kids and parents really had related interests, such as when the parents had STEM careers, and the kids were conversing about the days their parents had at work. I have heard that the families with political dynasties (eg., Kennedy's, Bush's and Gore's) carried on such dinner-time conversations. With practice your family probably could, too.

    Something else you might try. Depending on how important the question is to your child, you both could do some web work together to dig things out. One of the big helps you can provide here is to teach your child how to evaluate if a piece of web content has its facts straight or not. And if you don't know how to do that, here's your big opportunity to learn with your kid!

    While web surfing is one way to find things out, you can expand the kinds of sources your children use to find things out. There are still newspapers, books, news magazines and other “older” forms of media that you and your kids can use.

    And on top of all that, you don't have to wait for your kids to ask you questions. Maybe you're curious about something, and your questions might make a good topic for you all to study. It could happen!

    So here's the bottom line. Your whole family grows together as a learning community as adults! And it's the “as adults!” part that's so important for all of your children's successes, not just your gifted ones. The most important “survival skill” for kids to operate effectively in a grown up world is to know how to operate as a grownup themselves.

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G050819 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    How to Think about the Future

    Does anybody ever ask you what you want to be when you grow up? For gifted kids it's a tough question for a couple different reasons. Most of us think about the future quite a lot, but we don't have enough experience in life to put a good answer together. At least, not an answer that we might want to live with.

    Girl with Map

    We don't have to plan our whole future right now. The next little trip, adventure, or project is good enough for now. (photo - elio-santos - unsplash)

    One of my professional claims to fame has to do with teaching older people how to get ready for the future. In these people's cases, they have to make decisions on how to plan something, usually something big. But no one can possibly know the future, so grownups are often afraid of guessing wrong. If they guess wrong about the future, then their plans might not work so well.

    I know that a lot of gifted kids start thinking about the future, for real, at a very early age. And we all have our different responses to what we imagine about our futures. Most of us are optimistic about our futures, even though we don't actually see all of the footsteps it will take to get there. Some of us get a little wigged out exactly because we don't see all of the footsteps from now to then. Well, since we all need the steps anyway, let's look at some of the steps I recommend to grown up people.

    The first thing to do is to mostly forget about The Big Future as if you can actually do anything about something that big. What you do instead is you look at what you can call the immediate future, that is, new things that you can start doing now. Since we're gifted kids, we could look at the immediate future as a stretch of time when we will accomplish something new with our gifts or talents.

    All right, so, if we're really going to push ourselves hard to turn our great gifts into even stronger talents, we want to push hard enough to grow, but not so hard that we discourage ourselves. What are the steps?

    With grown ups, I teach them steps from science. They don't usually know much science. Some of you reading this are artistic performers and creators, and some of you are STEM people. The thing about science is that it's about asking questions and learning from answers. Scientists attempt to turn their questions into experiences. Either they build some kind of experiment, or they go out into the real world and make careful observations. It turns out that the great artists and musicians of the world do exactly the same thing. You can make these your habits, too. So here we go!

    How to Build a Growth Experience

    • If you are currently hitting a wall or barrier on something you want to accomplish, or if there's something new you'd like to try to see if you can get good at it, make a list of the things that you do understand about the topic or skill.
    • Describe in some detail what you actually want to be able to do that's different from what you can do now.
    • Use what you currently know to write out some instructions to create an experience that takes you at least a little way from what you currently know, or can do, to what you want to learn.
    • Repeat these steps as often as necessary to achieve what you want. Big success is achieved through small steps of learning.

    Some might say, “That doesn't sound like a way to think about the future.” OK, well, actually, it's not. It is, instead, a way you can create a small piece of your future. If you follow those steps, you've done the following things to create a more talented you:

    • You took your current level of knowledge...
    • You visualized an improved “you”...
    • You built a special experience designed to help you grow in a direction of your choice...
    • ...and you kept improving your learning experience until you accomplished your goal.

    You'd be surprised how many grownups just can't accept that simple set of steps. Some think it's too simple. Some think it's too hard. But mostly, grownups simply do not want to change anything about themselves. Gifted kids, by contrast, almost all want to get better and better at what they do.

    There are many people who believe that the best way to prepare for the future is to create the future. I've just given you one way to do it. If you can learn how to build a new, future you whenever you want, you'll usually be ready for whatever comes next in life.

    Thomas Meylan, Ph.D.
    Digital Clones, Inc.

    If you wish to respond to this post, please email gntblog at digitalclones dot biz and be sure to include the code G042919 in the subject line. Constructive input will be reposted under this blog post.

    How it works — Prepare a Genius for Adult Life

    Boss by 12 Cover

    The gifts will mostly take care of themselves.


    Build emotional toughness
    into the child's inner dialog.


    Teach the child to project
    the social cues of "The Boss."

    Be the Boss by 12, Volume Zero: Parents' Prep
    Available Now!