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Sharing the gift that is "Gifted" - a new book by Robert Schinke
2024-06-27
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Professor Robert Schinke has always felt a very natural bond linking his love of research to the pragmatic realities of life.

That premise has driven a great deal of the work that the Laurentian University scholar has undertaken in the world of Sport Psychology, a field of study in which he is recognized on a global basis.

For as proud as he remains about being included in the “Stanford University Top 2% of Researchers Worldwide”, Schinke is among those who believes it is largely for naught if there is little to no benefit to a large swath of a general base of population.

“I could never really do the research without understanding the context and the context is grounded in reality with everyday people,” Schinke suggested recently. “I try and find issues that are interesting and really useful in terms of showing something new to the world around me.”

That is perhaps the biggest single attraction to the unveiling of his new book, “Gifted”, a self-help extremely manageable 177-page read that provides, as the book cover asserts, “8 Steps to Succeeding in Sport, Work and Life”.

Like so many authors before him, the man who has called Sudbury home for the past two decades or so found inspiration for this novel in his own life, having reached something of a cross-roads – despite the fact that he is among the world’s most pre-eminent writers in the highly technical aspects of Sport Psychology and is now serving his second term as president of the International Society of Sports Psychology.

The book is life – and his life lives through this book.

The beauty of this literary stroll is that it draws in the reader, very quickly, to points of reference in their own life. “Every single editor that read it said that they could see themselves in this book,” noted Schinke as the marketing efforts for “Gifted” begin to ramp up right across the country and beyond.

“I started with a basic premise that we are all born with innate gifts,” he explained. “We may have athletic gifts, we may have intellectual gifts, we may have gifts in our capacity to argue or reason – or with creativity.”

“What we are gifted at is something that we are just innately different and better than someone else, a standout in certain areas of our life,” Schinke added. “We typically have several of them.”

While gift recognition is not always easy, it is critical to achieving a certain “Zenness”, if you will, those moments in life when everything simply makes sense.

“Gift pursuit is the best thing we can do for ourselves,” Schinke noted. “People get frustrated because they are not on a path that aligns with their innate abilities.”

That said, the identification of those gifts, largely revealed through glimpses of excellence at various stages of our lives, is not without pitfalls. “I can’t recall all of the strategies that are included in the tasks at the end of each chapter, but the recognition of a gift is grounded not only in something that we prefer to do, but it’s also something that we can execute at a very high level.”

“One without the other isn’t sufficient.”

Through chapters that initially cover “Gifts, Forces and Contortions”, on through “Glimpses and Endurance”, slipping over to “Transcendence and Symmetry” and closing out, all too appropriately with “Regifting”, this voyage of self-discovery is one which offers tangible takeaways to folks at virtually any stage of life.

Ironically, one of the “glimpses of a gift” that would ultimately lead Schinke to put pen to paper dated back to the days of his Doctoral Study and the reading of the Martin Seligman best-selling book, “Learned Optimism”.

“I was originally an undergrad English major and always liked to write,” acknowledged Schinke.

“It was a bit of a glimpse of something I wanted to do in the future but ushered it off to the side. But I recall thinking how much I wished I could do something like that, writing a book that would really inspire people, a mainstream book written for the lay reader.”

When all is said and done, Schinke continues to emphasize the need for each and every individual to perform that critical self-assessment and not worry about whether that falls in line with their supervisor, their coach, their counterpart.

“We have all used our gifts - some of them are supported in our environment as adults, some of them are impeded,” he said. “There are so many stories of people who are gifted but whose gifts are subjectively evaluated by other people.”

It’s quite likely that every single human who walks the face of the earth can relate to that last statement, to some extent or another. It’s precisely why Schinke feels that we need to be true to our gifts.

“We all have those moments of glimpse, where we are in alignment with something that we are so damned good at.”

For Sudbury author and sports psychologists Robert Schinke, “Gifted” fits this mold to a “T”.

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