This morning, I was reminiscing with my girlfriend about my posse in high school. I told her it felt like we were the justice league or something because we were all amazing and smart. We each did great on any standardized test and the school recognized us and invited us to participate in events such as the intramural science fairs, Math Olympics and ACT/SAT prep events our charter school system hosted. There was Nate had a natural leadership and charisma, Devaughn with great empathy and knew how to lighten any mood. There was Hakkimte the archetypal Asian tech wiz and Dejuan my rival who beat me for the highest SAT in our class by 50 points (1750) but I beat him on the ACT for the highest in our class by 2 points with a 29. Then it made me think that I just hyping up the situation because they are my friends and we had great times for most of middle and high school. I don’t think so. As time went on I began to believe every one is a genius, it’s just sometimes a genius of the wrong thing.
There is a quote attributed to Gandhi and it goes.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
I believe the habits we consistently engage in is what we become geniuses at. If we consistently practice math we become math geniuses. If we consistently play video games we become video game geniuses and if we consistently start trouble we become genius trouble makers. A lot of times we don’t realize what “genius” we cultivate or have dormant due to being on auto-pilot. Doing a job we hate for decades, sedating ourselves with YouTube, Facebook or T.V., following the crowd, etc are all signs of being on auto-pilot and will put the latent talent to sleep. Everyone’s DNA is unique, thus giving each of us unique talents and inclinations. The reason why we memorialize people in history is because those historic figures have found a way to cultivate and refine their uniqueness. The sad truth is that people sometimes demonize uniqueness calling those who excel nerds and geeks and telling people, or worse ourselves, that they should be “normal” and fit in. People do this to ‘level’ the playing field and make it feel like no one is special or better than them. The constitution says “All men are created equal” I disagree. I agree all men (and women) are entitled to the same rights, but we are not created equal. We are all created unique and until we create a culture and mindset that praises our differences we may never collectively realize that everyone is a genius.