curse or gift?

At the age of seven, Jeremy Sassoon was the youngest student at Britain's newly opened Royal Northern College of Music, as gifted at trumpet and piano as he was at math, football, and anything else he set his mind to. The boy prodigy was sent out, in front of the assembled press of Manchester, to hand a bouquet of flowers to the Duchess of Kent, who presided over the opening. Over the next two decades, his rocketing accomplishments appeared to keep pace with his gifts: At 17, wooed by both science and music schools, he made a wrenching choice and decided on medicine over music. By 23, he was a doctor. By 30, a practising child psychiatrist. But then Dr. Sassoon left medicine and spent the next eight years suffering from bipolar disorder. He now can be found on most weekends in Manchester playing piano in restaurants, at weddings, or at nightclubs with his band, Dr. Sassoon's Jazz Prescription.

The trajectory for gifted children is not simply onward and upward; they are as likely to be plagued by crises of confidence as anyone. Perhaps more so: Their intellectual gifts mean they are even more aware of the flaws in their clay, of how short they fall from self-imposed goals.

“People are forever telling me the achievements of my life,” Dr. Sassoon says, “and yet I feel I've accomplished nothing – nothing compared to what I might achieve.” He has put his finger on a thorny issue: Is a gifted child destined to become an exceptional adult?

via The Globe and Mail.