Talking With Your Hands?

On the fourth of July we went camping and my wife took pictures of me in a serious discussion.

I was having a discussion with my brothers on the definition of a role-playing game. OK, maybe it wasn’t that serious, but the way I was holding my hands one might wonder! This amused me and inspired this post!

I’m one quarter Italian and I’ve been told that talking with your hands is an Italian thing. The questions for today are: is this really an Italian thing or just folk rumor? Is being part Italian the reason I talk with my Hands?

A New York times article states “To Italians, gesturing comes naturally.” Not a scientific publication, but I’m not making major life decisions here, this is good enough for me.

There are some interesting things online about talking with your hands, unrelated to being Italian. Many things I never knew before starting to write this post!

There is a lifehacker “Guide to Talking With Your Hands Without Being Annoying”. Hopefully I can avoid looking like the image a commentator left on that post: Fast Talking Hand Gif


According to a Forbes article “Great Leaders Talk With Their Hands”. My arms open and spread in the pictures should indicate that, I was trying to be open and honest, with nothing to hide. Can’t say I was consciously trying to convey openness or why I’d need honesty in the case of discussing the definition of a role-playing game. Perhaps I thought it would help make my point…?

I discovered that people are researching gestures and the research indicates that we gain cognitive benefits from talking with our hands. Our working memory can more easily use a gesture to communicate, which frees up some mental space for more complex thoughts. This makes sense to me. I enjoy complex discussions that fully utilize my mental capabilities. The more engaged I am in the discussion the more gestures I tend to use.

My takeaway from this little study, on talking with your hands, is: in general it’s a good thing. A caveat, we should take notice of ourselves once and a while and decide if we’re gesturing well or just being annoying.

What do you think? Do you talk with your hands?



The New York Times, When Italians Chat, Hands and Fingers Do the Talking

Lifehacker, A Guide to Talking With Your Hands Without Being Annoying

Forbes, Great Leaders Talk With Their Hands

Discover Magazine, Talk With Your Hands? You’re Doing It Right

Egotistical or Self-Aware?

After writing many posts about myself, a concern crept into my mind, am I being egotistical and selfish or am I becoming more self-aware?
“Know thyself” is generally considered wise.
Being egotistical is not.
Often one seems to be confused with the other.
Is this one of those fine lines where a virtue can turn into a vice?

John D. Mayer Ph.D says “People who display such an ability [to know thyself] understand themselves and know who they are.  They evaluate others more accurately and therefore make more allowances for others’ foibles; they are better at acknowledging their own limitations, too”. Making allowances for others’ weaknesses and acknowledging ones own limitations doesn’t sound like being egotistical!

“Our Ego Is the Enemy of Self-Awareness” states Sara Canaday.  In her article by the same name, she makes several good points. Confronting the reality of yourself, truly looking at our weaknesses and strengths always includes pain.  To our ego the pain isn’t worth the price of genuine self-knowledge.  She provides several good suggestions for improving self-awareness, take a look, if you dare!

Bringing back everything to yourself or relating to yourself can seem self-obsessed, especially if done in a rude way (which is not necessarily selfish, it could be a lack of social skills).  I found an interesting post by Peter Kowalke on where he shares his experience with self-awareness and how it’s different from selfishness.  He does make a point that we should guard against selfishness and there seems to be a risk of it in the unschooling method.

Using this knowledge, my plan is to keep writing and assessing myself. My hope is to improve self-awareness and avoid being egotistical.

What is your plan?


Know Thyself by John D. Mayer Ph.D

Our Ego Is the Enemy of Self-Awareness by Sara Canaday.

The Fine Line Between Self-Awareness and Selfishness By Peter Kowalke

Weirdo, Obsessive, Perfectionist or Gifted?

What makes a person gifted vs just a plain old weirdo? Is having a tendency towards obsessions simply a mental disorder? How about perfectionism? Are these primarily problems of a deranged mind in need of therapy?

An alternate theory provided by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen in her book The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius she claims that there are at least 20 million Gifted American adults, our schools only have 3 million gifted children. How can we have so many more gifted adults? Many gifted adults are misdiagnosed with a disorder. The most common mis-diagnosis are: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (OD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Mood Disorders such as Cyclothymic Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Depression, and Bi-Polar Disorder.

I have never been diagnosed with any of the above mentioned disorders, but at times I have thought that I was struggling with depression and/or Cyclothymic Disorder (a mild form of bi-polar). After reading The Gifted Adult book and the articles I reference, a much more likely scenario, is being an unidentified Gifted Adult (and child). Our current process for identifying gifted children is an IQ test. As a child I never scored “gifted” as far as an IQ test is concerned. One, I lacked test taking skills (of which I never really mastered until college) and two, I doubt I would have scored high enough to qualify even with lacking in test taking ability. The author of The Gifted Adult makes a strong case for the limitations of IQ only as test for giftedness.

The Gifted Adult is intense, complex and driven. Of this I strongly relate, but we have been taught that our strong personality is excessive,  weird, and therefore wrong. The reason for our intensity is being more sensitive to light, sounds, touch, taste and smell. This increased sensitivity also makes us more complicated, we naturally perceive a complex depth beyond what is on the surface. We’re driven because we have an innate sense of how things should or could be, which gives us the urge to perfect (perfectionism). The author has counseled hundreds of gifted people and the gifted are regularly confused by their own unexplained inner conflicts. The inner conflict is largely due to a loss of identity often identifying with some kind of social stigma or disorder instead of their natural gifts. The key is to manage or balance our giftedness. This enables our strange tendencies to become blessings instead of a curse.

Are You a Gifted Adult? (Questions From the Book)

  • Insatiable curiosity?
  • Own worst critic, due to very high standards (Perfectionist)?
  • Have a powerful need to be a seeker of ultimate truths?
  • Have been criticized for being “too much” of just about everything?
  • Extremely energetic and focused, yet constantly switching gears?
  • Intensely sensitive, able to intuit subtly charged situations and decipher others’ feeling?
  • Criticized for not “sticking with one thing”?
  • Bothered by bright lights, aromas, and noises that others ignore?
  • Can see many sides to nearly every issue and love a good debate?
  • High energy and driven by your own creativity?

There is a test in the book and a longer list. You should get a copy at the library or purchase the book if this sounds like you, or someone you care about!

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children
The Gifted Adult
Self-Knowledge Self-Esteem and the Gifted Adult

Temperament Board/Card Game

You have a board like shoots and ladders or candy land (has a start and finish). The objective is to get to the finish. You move towards the end by drawing task cards. Each task card has something like 4 options.

Example Card Text

  1. Categorize a group of Insects according to their like properties.
  2. Paint a fence.
  3. Compete in a basket ball game.
  4. Council a person with emotional problems.

Either on the backside of the card or on some answer sheet the most preferred temperament and/or cognitive process would be listed.

Example answer text:

  1. Rational
  2. Guardian
  3. Artisan
  4. Idealist
  • Each task on the task card is assigned movement points. The points for each temperament need to average across all cards but not on each card. On each card certain actions need to be worth more points than other actions/tasks in order to tempt the player to choose a task not as well suited to their currently assigned temperament.

Another type of card can be one that asks what would you do in situation “x”. The card give 4 options and the person needs to pick the option that his temperment would be most likely to do. Instead of moving you forward for success, maybe it moves you backwards upon an incorrect selection.

  • Randomly draw personality/character cards (like in the game cash flow, when drawing occupations) to start the game.
  • The simplest version of the game would only use the four temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational.
  • Added rules or improved/more complex versions of the game could use all 16 MTBI types and the associated cognitive processes.
  • Depending on the task each player has a chance to succeed in accomplishing the task based on his or her temperament. Possible example:
    • Rational:
      • 90% to perform a Rational task
      • 70% for Idealist
      • 60% for Artisan
      • 50% for Guardian

Action’s needed to implement:

  • Create Board
  • Create Cards with actions
  • Determine number of actions to create, could create a limited amount like 10-20 to prototype the game.
  • Create Temperament Cards
  • Decide on Each Temperaments Chance to perform the task on the cards