How to Tap into Your True Potential without Apology?
Starting with Einstein, genius is typically imagined in terms of the extraordinary, both intellectually and creatively. Words like mastermind, wizardry, exceptional talent, rocket scientist, mathematical complexities, are the usual cultural associations we endow such a notion with.
I’d like to offer an unusual take based on my experience as a leadership mentor and performance coach. I recognize that genius is misunderstood, let alone inquired into with compassion and curiosity. To me, compassion is the “space” where intelligence meets fate, the shortcomings and the humanity of people, with an acute desire to help or demonstrate understanding.
Beyond the vastly available homogenized interpretations, I have observed that genius is not as rare as one might construe. For the purpose of this concise article, I’d like you to imagine that in fact, you have genius cells in your brain. In addition, and only if you can allow some playfulness, that you are in fact a genius, probably in areas where your brain hasn’t yet connected the necessary neural pathways to access your genius cognitive potential.
For now, the question remains: has it been tapped into? What is it? How do you recognize it and, more to the point, set it in motion in your life? It is widely known amongst the scientific community that the brain is capable of forming new neural pathways to expand its consciousness.
Allow me to share my observations and experience with genius. I hope you will find it revealing.
The two faces of genius
Let’s begin with a dilemma. The main problematic with genius is that it possesses two faces. The faces depend largely on how efficiently you deliver and explain your genius ideas and profound insights to the world. Do they make sense? Are they practical? Founded? Otherwise, you end up feeling more like a freak than a genius. Sometimes, there is an intuitive knowing when it comes to a problem or a person, but the words to express it are missing. I have seen many individuals shy away from their genius for this very reason. Not a lack of genius or knowing but an absence of skills to express or explain their ideas. It can be terribly frustrating.
Needless to say that genius is inspired by deep creativity. More often than not it is accompanied by stages of melancholy. A dear friend of mine and a great therapist used to say to me that “happiness is productive while it is melancholy that is creative”. It is perhaps too early in our human development to inquire into forms of depression as a chemical environment for creativity and expanded cognition, or is it?
However, we do not command genius. It comes and goes as you have most likely noticed. You cannot push creativity, let alone moments of brilliance. Einstein took a warm bath almost daily to take his mind off whatever equation he was struggling with. Many of his insights came from seemingly “doing nothing”. Yet, when genius thoughts come, you better pull over or get out of the tub, and fetch your notebook — by the time you get home or get your towel, it may be gone and you will not remember. That’s how it works.
“Genius is an inner or internal chemistry of the brain that works on a pulse, just like your heartbeat. It does not articulate itself through will power, let alone excess thinking. It comes, and then it goes. It’s here…and then it’s not.”
Genius is individual and acoustic
In addition, genius is highly 1) Individual and 2) Acoustic. It means that you hear and see your brilliant insights or ideas “inwardly”, not outside. It’s all built from within. Something outside might have triggered your genius, but the result is perceived within. Call it the third eye. If you are in fact a genius, you may have observed that your relationships mean a great deal to you on the inside. The visual and tactile aspects of life are not as crucial to you. For example, your love for someone is felt deep within you. Your love becomes your muse as the chemistry is inside of you. Hence, why geniuses experience the chemical effect of melancholy, another aspect of the genetic makeup of genius. Melancholy takes us deeper.
Many human beings are more tactile or visual than acoustic. They need to touch what they care about or see it move around. People who are truly individual, operate differently. They might have tactile and visual aspects of their nature but the “inward acoustic” is mostly predominant. It’s one of the signs that you may be a genius.
Living for the “wow” moments
Another important aspect is that a genius experiences “accelerated jumps” in creativity. Some people call it quantum mutations. I prefer the word mutative. Geniuses are all about breakthroughs or mutative thinking, no matter what field of expertise they are in. In their work, art, craft, careers, relationships, or projects, they are primarily focused on the “aha” moments that are derived from altered consciousness. The “wow” is what they live for. Hence, why they potentially can forge the future direction of society.
Conversely, tribes (families) keep things stable and “real”. Mutations are very scary to them. Traditions have to be maintained with stability and repetition over time. Hence, why we evolved so slowly as a species. Families rule the world still to this day.
Innovation and inventions came through individuals
Similarly, the collective, what we call society, doesn’t accept new things as easily, but much faster than the tribe. New directions, new ideas, new thoughts unanimously come from individuals. Galileo, Einstein, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Gutenberg, Jesus, Edison, Karl Benz, Marie Curie, Mozart, Alexander Graham Bell, Pasteur, Mother Theresa, etc. The list is endless! It is fascinating to understand that you never saw a group, a tribe or a mob mutate society into anything. Unless, of course, there was one or more individuals in their midst, but they worked alone inside the group construct. There are countless examples in music, art, philosophy and literature as well. In short, most people function from the visual and what is outside themselves. They only believe what they see. Individual genius works inwardly.
A genius is often rejected or becomes a martyr
At first, a genius is often rejected. Removing the religious or spiritual connotation, Jesus was not exactly elevated until centuries after his death. He literally invented the notion of “cooperation and tolerance” amongst people. Acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness, as well as many other breakthroughs for humanity, which eventually led to Human Rights, can easily find their origins in his teachings. Outside the religious perspective, he was a true mutative genius. Other great examples are Mahatma Gandhi and Aristotle.
An intolerant society condemns or rejects individuals. It thus condemns itself to extinction, as it will not find new directions to expand and survive. Without the genius of individuals, the doors to new ways of thinking, innovating and relating are locked. Virtually all civilizations have suffered such a fate, regardless of their size or power. Societies such as the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, or the Maya civilization. Societal collapse is generally fast. However, some involved a gradual fading away, such as the British Empire, but the result is the same.
The structuring and articulation of genius
Another component to genius anatomy is structuring. Insights must be articulated to have power and impact, so people on the outside can understand them and grasp their meaning. Also, a genius loves being excited and empowered. His intuition and alertness are always heightened. Conversely, the tribe or family is always afraid of change. It requires support and obedience to the laws, the traditions and the rules. A creative genius loves breaking the rules and forge new paths of evolution and understanding.
What blocks genius?
However, being a genius is fraught with difficulties and blind spots. There are pitfalls to his gifts, such as anxiety, tension, doubt, or confusion. In spite of the fact that they are part of the process, a genius can be caught up in melancholy or frustration.
Essentially, it is because they forget to wait for the muse, the pulse. Instead, they push, they worry, they want things “now”, they don’t trust, they take things seriously, which cuts them off from their genius pulse. They rush, get distracted, they take on too much, which leads to burnout, and they also can get overwhelmed by the fear of failure. Sometimes, vanity can make genius fall short.
To recap, genius is:
- Mutative. Mutating direction, and how we think about things.
- Acoustic. They hear things within (on the inside).
- On a pulse. Genius comes and genius goes. When it comes you better stop the car and get your notebook :) You may not remember your thoughts or ideas by the time you get home.
- Empowered. Empowerment is their nutrition and inspiration, not touch, smell or looking at a pretty sunset, even though it can lead to a trigger. Empowerment is always within. The third eye.
- The Pitfalls. A genius may fall prey to pushing, worry, wanting things “now” or take things seriously