• Sarah Phillips

Finding Genius

Updated: Jan 17

There is a lot of pressure to act or at least appear like a “genius” in every aspect of our lives - to be someone who succeeds unequivocally, and without the appearance of too much effort.


Oftentimes when we start something new (like a career path or even an art form), we strive to learn from and be like the geniuses. In an attempt to become one, we memorize their morning routines, their famous sayings, and and we may even buy a poster of them to place above our work or creative space.


Mirroring and praising the external output of a genius can be inspirational, but it does not lead to discovering your own genius. To achieve above average success at anything (I would argue), that you need:


A natural disposition towards what you are doing + Interest in doing it


I am in no way saying that hard work is not a component, because everything that we do requires forward momentum to complete. However, if the above components are not part of the equation, then you will not achieve the success that you envision for yourself.


Success has two viewpoints: the external appearance and our own perspective. If you continue to grind because one of the necessary components is missing, then others could still view you as successful. For example, you may be able to achieve a bonus or complete a project by putting in twice the effort of the person who enjoyed the task more than you. Both you and your cohort complete the project, but you'll likely feel burnt out and frustrated afterwards. Conversely, the other person may have felt excited throughout the whole project, and they maybe enjoyed the process so much that their feeling of engagement matched or even overshadowed the external gain.


II


Geniuses are people who exploit the intersection between their talents and interests. Tying to mirror what they do, eat ,or how they act will not give you the results that you are looking for. If you look up to a genus, then it could be interesting in itself to learn about them, but they are one person in the world - and you will never be them, because you are yourself.


And it's good that you will never be like them, because you are and will continue to be like yourself. You have your own set of tendencies and interests that, when combined, are your own genius.


"Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."

- Lao Tzu


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