A man walks into a bar.
We’ll call him Bart. Bart is no a normal man. No, Bart is a bonafide PhD of Computer Science, an auspicious artist of 1s and 0s. Keyboards run away from Bart in fear, knowing that he’ll give the semicolon almost as much work as a texting tween.
Bart walks up to Jane.
Born and raised on a backcountry farm, Jane can coax milk out of the udders of a cow with one hand while wielding an ax in the other. Milk and firewood at the same time baby.
With their craft, Bart and Jane can create magic.
They’re both geniuses, because we’re all geniuses.
Bart and Jane pull up two seats at the bar, and as the Beatles play off a rusty jukebox in the background, they both take a swig from a magical pint of SwicharooBrew.
Bart and Jane swap bodies.
Fast forward past the inevitable confusion and self-touching that comes with a body swap. Until they can find another pint of SwicharooBrew on Monday – which is only produced by leprechauns in Ireland who are notoriously hard to find on the weekend – Bart and Jane decide that it’s best to live each other’s lives as if everything’s normal.
The next day at work, Jane is elated to discover how smart Bart was to install an automatic drink holder in his computer. WOW! It’s even decorated with a shiny removable disk.
Excited to dip his toes into the art of outside manliness, Bart awkwardly adjusts his bra and picks up an ax for the first time in his life. Grunting, he swings it in a high awkward ark over his head, doing his best to exude the aura of a lumberjack he saw on Youtube.
The ax comes down to the right of his future firewood, missing it completely. Bart lets out a not-so-manly scream as the ax hits his foot.
Think back to the last time you climbed a tree with fins.
It looks and feels stupid.
And that’s ok. I know I’m no natural when I try most things for the first time. It usually ends with me tripping all over myself and covering up my lack of skill with self-deprecating jokes. I’m not advocating that we never try new things – far from it. I’d just like fish to put their self worth and success into their ability to swim. That’s it. It’s when we try to pretend that we’re something we’re not that we self-destruct – and the mythical standards of others trigger our self-destruct sequence.
Fish’s gills are built to survive underwater. Like fish, we all have similar gifts that we’re born with or cultivate over time. Einstein did not care about fitting in on conventional metrics – just look at his hair if you don’t believe me. He was an eclectic dude while embraced his love for science.
The world would be a much happier place if we stopped letting others (or our own minds) suppress or belittle our own genius. We all do it, telling ourselves that we need to climb the trees of academia, corporate America, or popularity.
It’s much more powerful and productive to encourage our unique genius to shine. When we find our stroke, swimming becomes a lot easier than trying to climb a tree with fins.
Everyone has genius inside of them. Embrace it!
Many of us are still searching for our own stroke of genius.
Sometimes it’s relatively small – the courage to move 17 facial muscles and flash a smile to a stranger. Or the emotional work of asking someone how their day’s going when you know good and well that you’re opening up the gates of Hell.
Sometimes it’s as big as a Nobel Prize – the biggest work we produce in a year, blowing away our perceptions of what’s real. We take a leap and create something awesome: a business concept, a piece of art, or in Einstein’s case, a theory that shook our universe.
Everyone has genius inside of them. The conscious decision not to believe anyone who tells us differently is in our hands. And we make this decision not just once, but every damn time we get a whiff of the toxic aroma of self-doubt.
Trust Einstein. Embrace your genius!
He knew relatively what he was talking about.
PS: Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I have hair just like Einstein’s. What’s that? You do too? What a perfect reason to join our tribe. Sign up to get a weekly dose of awesome on the left!