Children with outstanding talents sometimes get rewards and acclaim, but many are overlooked or unsupported. Adults with exceptional abilities can also live on the fringes of recognition and contribution, which may result from mainstream discomfort with many outsiders.

One example of restricting someone's talent concerns Jericho Scott, a 9-year-old Connecticut boy banned from pitching in little league games because he was "too good" at it. Some parents complained their kids had found his pitching "unhittable and frightening," so the league ordered him to stop playing.

Later in his life, that kind of athletic prowess would be welcomed.

Another example of restricting the public recognition of talent was in the Olympics opening ceremony.

Singer Yang Peiyi, who had the superior voice, was replaced on stage (and therefore kept away from the view of millions of people) by another young girl, Lin Miaoke, who mimed Peiyi’s recording of “Ode to the Motherland” because Peiyi’s face was considered “not suitable” by a team of Chinese Olympic and political authorities.

Creative and intelligent kids may often find themselves and their friends on the edge or fringe.

Writer, actor and radio host Sandra Tsing Loh, a physics grad of CalTech, talked in our interview about being part of the "nerdy kid" group.

“You were taking cello lessons, and in the Latin Club, and such a geek compared to everyone else," she recalled. "Junior high is a particularly horrible time. But around that time I and my friends, who were totally the nerds, had real fun starting our own little clubs and stuff like that."

And, she continued, "there’s a joy in our creativity, imagining a whole second world where we rule the world and have power."

She thinks that sort of imagination helps fuel talented and creative people, and that the kids who won the popularity and beauty contests usually did not go on to do anything particularly creative in life.

"Except for the few people who were actors," she added.

A related problem is how educational and social systems often fail to support and encourage the most talented people.

A TIME magazine article (Are We Failing Our Geniuses?, Aug. 16, 2007) noted that U.S. Department of Education statistics showed the highest-achieving students in six other countries scored significantly better in math than their U.S. counterparts.

Author John Cloud pointed out that American schools spend over $8 billion a year on educating the mentally retarded, but that spending on the gifted "isn’t even tabulated in some states; we spend no more than $800 million on gifted programs."

Like many others, he thinks it doesn’t make sense to spend so much more on low-achieving students, at the expense of nurturing those with the greatest potential to contribute high level abilities to the world.

Maybe the issue is not whether we live as outsiders or not, but how much we value who we are and gain support, and how much freedom we have in expressing ourselves creatively and developing our talents.

As personal development author Wayne Dyer has said, “Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.”

Malcolm Gladwell describes in his new book Outliers: The Story of Success some of the personal and social aspects of how people become outstanding, “outliers” on the upper end of intelligence, ability and achievement curves.

Mastery requires about 10,000 concentrated hours of work at developing talent, but also support from other people.

“No one," Gladwell says, "not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses - ever makes it alone."

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There are more quotes by Dyer and many other personal development authors at Personal Growth Information

Many of the psychological and social issues that affect how successful we are in developing multiple talents are explored on the Talent Development Resources site