Positive Disintegration
The Active Mind
The Creative Life
Intensity & Well-Being
Careers & Contributions
Relationships & Belonging
Memoir & Biography
Politics & Society
The Digital Life
Sorting Out Our Values

Class, Luck, and the Outlier’s Quest for Belonging

Whether unusual people find the companions they need often comes down to luck—from being born into the right socioeconomic class to landing in the right career field.

In this interview, P. Susan Jackson talks to us about what her gifted clients tend to do when they don’t find people who click with them, what they can do instead, and how luck can shift for better and for worse over the course of life.

Where True Poverty Resides

When Adam Carrington, a practicing Christian, finds his well of patience for a fellow member of his church running dry, a core tenet of his faith takes on a more profound meaning.

The Dodo and the Ancient Poet

Once, there were more of the author’s kind.

Are they truly all gone?

Getting Unstuck: Countering Polarization with Cognitive Flexibility

Stuckness, says Dr. Mike Brooks, is at the root of both his clients’ anxiety and depression and our political polarization.

So how do we get unstuck? In this interview, we chat about cognitive flexibility, the importance of relationships, and how it all unfolds on social media.

Favorites from the Archives

Remembering How to Be (Without Your Phone): An Interview with Anya Pechko

To connect meaningfully, the most important thing we can give people is our time—without a phone constantly interrupting it. Consultant and coach Anya Pechko shares some striking insights on how to do this from her work with clients seeking to overcome digital addiction.

The Confusing Life of Being Too Different

It’s fashionable to argue that it’s better to fight for something and die trying than to surrender and admit defeat. In this article, Roland Persson argues that while we believe this for a reason, it’s not because of objective knowledge of human behavior. So what’s an extremely gifted person to do? Persson offers some thoughts on the pursuit of happiness for those who are simply never going to fit in.

Self-Creation After Chaos: An Interview with Lotte van Lith

Chaos around her and intensity within her led the teenage Lotte van Lith to an eating disorder. Now, having recovered and reintegrated, she helps gifted people express their intensity with self-compassion—and let loose their incredible creativity in the process.

from the editor

Issue 16: Toward Positive Maladjustment

In our June 2021 Video Letter from the Editor, Jessie introduces our four latest articles, talks about pandemic stress and its impact on the health of people with superstimulable systems (with a personal story), tries to convince you that you should become a paid supporter if you want the magazine to grow, and talks about what's going on in the member community.

Issue 15: Resilience & Creativity

Calling Down the Lightning

Why is Thoreau’s “little world” the image of restorative solitude, and Van Gogh’s “blazing hearth” that of genius misunderstood? In diving into these two men’s stories, David Wakeham demonstrates the pressing need for mentorship and community in those with great potential—and the consequences if this is nowhere to be found.

Book Club, April 2021: The Righteous Mind

Want to connect with other Third Factor readers over some in-depth content? Join our book discussion group!

Creative Disintegration

What drives us to create? Reflecting on her carefree creative expression as a child, struggles with self-consciousness, and industry pressures, Laura Stavinoha confronts the role her desire for validation had on her music and comes to understand why, ultimately, she creates.

So What is the Third Factor, Anyway?

You asked. We answered. What is this thing we named our magazine after, and what are the first and second factors? And why is this concept from Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration so much more important than his more well-known construct of overexcitability?

Why I’m Optimistic About Our New Forum

We’re trying to cultivate a high-quality space for Third Factor’s intellectually engaged readers to develop meaningful connections and have robust discussions. So why is this so hard on Facebook? Our editor in chief ponders why our new forum, at least so far, seems to suit us better than Facebook.

Resilience: From the Roots to the Branches

What stops a bright, intense, gifted person from blossoming? The Daimon Institute’s Sue Jackson sits down with us to talk about the hurdles her clients often face—and how they can begin to put out the roots they need to bloom.

Issue 14: A Hodgepodge of Color

The Depths of Dabrowski’s Levels: An Interview with Michael Piechowski, Part II

Michael Piechowski shares why he’s updated the way he thinks about Dabrowski’s levels of development.

The Mind Palace

Sherlock Holmes is known for his remarkable mind. But as Boris Glebov sees it, one of Holmes’ most powerful mind tricks is accessible to anyone—and can be especially helpful to creative writers.

The Heroes of Our Own Political Stories

Jessie just can’t help trying to understand why people think about politics the way they do. She’s betting plenty of others with high intellectual and emotional excitability might feel the same.

Transcending Tribalism

Both Democrats and Republicans are spiraling into echo chambers and out of control. Now Dan Greco’s primary allegiance is to a plurality of voices.

Between Scylla and Charybdis: A Radical Centrism

Frank ran for office as a Republican. But instead of left vs. right, he looks at politics as open vs. closed—and that’s guiding his search for a new political home.

A Place for Orchids

If you think of yourself as “overexcitable,” you’ll surely see yourself in W. Thomas Boyce’s book, THE ORCHID AND THE DANDELION.

Issue 13: When the World Seems to Disintegrate

In Search of Exemplars: An Interview with Michael Piechowski, Part I

We chat with Michael Piechowski about his work on the theory of positive disintegration and finding people whose lives show the theory in action.

Positive Disintegration and the Pandemic

We’re used to talking about theory of positive disintegration at an individual level, but what about at the level of a country? Laura Stavinoha looks at the pandemic as an instance of disintegration and explores what it will take to reintegrate an entire society at a higher level.

The Canary in the Coal Mine

Sensitive people are like the canaries back in the days of coal mining. We’re the first ones to notice when things are off, whether within ourselves, our family, or our world.

The Positive Disintegration of Maria Sklodowska Curie, Part II: Autonomous Growth

In this deep dive into the dynamisms of Dabrowski’s level IV in Marie Curie’s life, Krystyna Laycraft shows us just what the third factor is all about.

Friendships of the Good

It’s hard for men to forge emotionally fulfilling friendships in our culture, argues Ian Simm, but a look back in time shows it doesn’t have to be this way.

The Anti-Creative Funk of Isolation

Creativity has always had a solitary component, but the pandemic drove home to author Jessie Mannisto how much creation is fueled by human connection.

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