Everyone is a genius.
Finding the work that was made for you.
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
This quote - often and incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein - captures an overlooked aspect of our daily work. We all have innate gifts, strengths, and interests in our lives. If we build our work around those areas, we will most often find fulfillment and success. If we try to build our lives arounds areas we aren't as skilled in, we will most often find frustration.
Mark Manson, New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (among other best-sellers), recently talked about his experience dropping out of music school.
Mark was chatting with the top student in their class about practice, and how much energy it took Mark to practice 5 hours per day. This struggle didn't even register with the top student. The practice was so natural and so hard-wired as a requirement for success, that the top student never even considered alternatives.
And that's when Mark knew he was in the wrong place.
Fast-forward to today, and the truth of that situation finally registered with Mark. Because now he has aspiring writers asking him all the time how he musters up the energy and persistence in writing. And much like that top music student, the question just doesn't register with Mark. He puts the time into his craft because he loves it and couldn't not do it.
This simple lesson brings us full circle to our original quote. I can train relentlessly for the next decade to play in the NBA, and I can assure you I will never get there. Instead I focus on strengths and natural inclinations of mine - writing and leading. By focusing my work around these two areas, I'm giving myself the benefit of tapping into my own genius, and I'm giving myself the inherent reward of fulfillment through success in these areas.
If you're feeling more like a fish climbing a tree than a fish swimming in water, don't believe that you're not a genius. Just go find the water and swim.