The World Really Needs Your Genius
I am not religious.
16 years of catholic school (elementary, high school and college) can do that to you.
When it comes to religion I have more questions than creeds. I hope to one day figure the whole religion thing out.
But today I’m not here to share my theological uncertainties.
I’m here to tell you what I believe in.
I believe in people.
I believe in the human soul.
I believe people are born good and each person is born to give something back to the community of the living. I believe, somewhere in our soul, we all know our calling. I believe we all have a gift or what the Romans called–“genius”.
Yet understanding we have a genius and using that genius are two different islands. Islands separated by a shark-infested ocean that is (since I’m writing a metaphor) on fire.
Doing our soul’s work, our genius is not easy. It’s painful and heartbreaking and lonely. Others will scoff at and attack our work. Our work will be criticized, laughed at, and considered a waste of time.
But doing your work, performing your own liturgy is the only way to cross that fiery ocean full of sharks. It’s how we transcend.
We know how it’s easy to listen to the critic, quit our genius, get selfish, and entertain easier things like TV or cocaine or a holocaust.
Because attempting world domination is easier than paining.
The easiest thing to do is ignore your genius, resent your talent, and find something else to do.
We’re addicted to self-sabotage.
We love personal drama. Even more, we love other people’s drama.
We love anything that distracts us from our genius.
And we use our free-will for the wrong things.
I am writing this post from the New Jersey shore.
Maybe it’s the blue sky or the rolling sea.
Or maybe its the wind that turned my beach umbrella inside out that has got me thinking about a higher existence.
Please, believe in what you will–but I believe you have a talent, a “genius” that the world needs. I know it needs it because most people do not fill the world with their talent.
They fill it with children, carbon monoxide, noise, and garbage (Seriously…as I was writing this a Tastykake wrapper rung my ankle. And is there anything more New Jersey then getting hit with a Buttercreme Cupcake Tastykake wrapper while sitting on the New Jersey shore?).
So why do we choose to ignore our genius?
Hitler provides a chilling reminder of how difficult it is to create something useful that the world might benefit from.
And because its much easier to attack others than to work on yourself.
Maybe it is God or maybe it is what creatives call the Muse or maybe it is the wayward Tastykake wrapper blowing in the New Jersey wind that encouraged me to do my work. To ignore the critic, listen to my genius, and roll up my sleeves and write today.
Now–let’s say I didn’t write today. Would the world be okay? Of course.
But would I?
Sure I could go a day or two without writing but after that I would get cranky. Like being on a no-creativity diet.
Denying your genius is soul cancer.
I believe if you’re brave enough to listen to your genius, you will cross that dangerous ocean of fire and sharks and find a sovereign state, an sandy-island ripe with personal fulfillment and self-respect.
An island free of critics and Tastykake wrappers.
An island that only can be breached by the oars of your own genius.
Keep paddling friends.
The book was inspired by the life and death of one of my students and the growing mental health crisis facing young suburban men.
If you would like to help with the project in anyway–interview suggestions, reading or research suggestions–you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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