You are a genius. No, I am not talking about your IQ. And I am not talking about whether you work for Apple. You are a genius because you are amazing, talented, inspiring and extraordinary. You are all these things. Me too. Maybe we haven’t figured out how to live them yet, but we are these things. And knowing this reminds us that no one can take this away from us except for ourselves. Only we can choose not to act like the genius we are born to be.
No geniuses are brilliant at everything – they stink at some things and are amazing at others. So we have to discover what makes us a genius – and for that we need to be open to try new things, investigate and have the courage to see the world differently. But the decks are stacked against us; we are guided to hide or cover up our genius.
We are taught in school to see things in the same way – the grass is green, the sky is blue and the sun is yellow; there is something wrong with us if we see shapes, colors or textures others don’t. We learn facts about the past to guide us in how to think about the future. We perpetuate our view of the past instead of inventing, expanding or allowing a new and greater view to think, act and respond. Our genius gets trained out of us; we learn to blend; we learn groupthink. It is easier to educate everyone in one way than to encourage each of us to see the world in our way.
The best ideas come not in the mainstream but from the corners – from the edges. When we allow our unique perspectives to come forward, be developed and flourish, we see more things from the edges. We consider things that were not previously considered because our unique genius perspective hadn’t found its voice before now. This is how we invent new and amazing things. This is how we solve chronic or challenging problems. This is how we find ways to change the world for the better – by giving ourselves permission for our genius to show.
Without stepping into our genius – those areas that host greater interest, ability and awareness – we shortchange our lives and our world. The reason we are geniuses is because we have what it takes to not only create great lives for ourselves, but to improve the world in the process. If we all were good at the same things, the planet would explode from the competition. But our uniqueness allows each of us to have a place – a way to find our fit – to find our genius and to bring it to impact the world for all of us.
Knowing this, why is stepping into our genius the exception more than the rule? It is because we are hardwired for survival – our brain encourages us to give up on the things that threaten us or make us feel unsafe. And for most of us, this is what it feels like to play to what makes us different and unique. We stand out and standing out feels unsafe. So we discount what makes us amazing and move into what makes us look and act like others. Without courage and an intentional effort to fight our fight-or-flight thinking, we sell ourselves short. We sell our world short.
What if we, as a society, were more welcoming to our differences – to the genius in each of us? What if were to make it easy to know ourselves, be ourselves and let others be themselves? Then we would encourage everyone to discover and live their genius. We wouldn’t be intimidated or fearful of those who see the world differently – but rather benefit from their art, science, math, sociology, psychology or engineering. We may learn a way to live more peacefully with each other, treat our planet better, live more present in each moment, appreciate the moments in life, build wiser to live on a constantly changing Earth, end the proliferation of weapons, or a hundred other things we need right now. All is possible. We have the wisdom. We have the genius. We need to choose to live it, bring it forward and applaud it as genius. Then we have the ability of creating the world that we all say we want.