Forget what you think you know about genius. It’s not a magical, elusive gift — a “lightning bolt from the gods” that strikes people like Einstein or Mozart, but not the rest of us. Everyone’s got genius, but it’s up to you to find it, put it to work, and watch it change your life. Practical Genius: A 5-Step Plan to Turn Your Talent and Passion into Success will show you how to:
One of the great benefits of being a human being is the endless ways we have to express ourselves. Lucky us. Language, music, art, dance–we don’t have to say a thing, but we can give expression to a whole wide world of truth, experience, and feelings. The more evolved the species, the more sophisticated the means of expression–or so the story goes.
Living as a practical genius requires that you use all the tools at your disposal–every letter of alphabet, every color, every note, every shape and texture of the human experience–to give expression to your genius. If you can’t express it, it might as well not be there.
What’s your story?
I have a friend who goes to parties and always says to people she’s just met, ‘Nice to meet you. So what’s your story?’ She says people almost never know where to start their story, usually falling back on how they know the host of the aprty or what they do for a living. That’s not a story! That’s a wasted opportunity to express your genius.
When I asks you, ‘What’s your story?’, I want your answer to make me understand your narrative; I want to hear the vocabulary and themes that reflect your values; and I want to see your ‘illustrations’, the visual expressions of the genius of you.
Here’s your challenge:
Take a whole day to note all the instances and ways you tell your story–if at all. What are the signals you send in your ordinary exchanges with people? Is there anything consistent about the way you project yourself to those who populate your day? Do you convey an energy, a sense of contribution, or connections with others that are a reflection of you are across all of your communications?
When you e-mail or tweet or update your profiles on any one of a number of digital venues, are you purposefully telling your story–or are you just regurgitating empty bits of information that have no meaning and steal time from your and everyone who reads about you?
The two-minute drill
Here’s a stunning reality: you have only two minutes to get someone to care about you. That’s it. The all-time two-minute drill. That means you don’t have the luxury of indulging in small talk or gossip or gripey nonsense when you engage with people every day–whether you know them or not. So if you waste your two minutes on sports or the weather or even your kids, you’ve burned through your currency with that person and you should not expect to get another chance to impress your truly valuable, authentic story on him or her again. Game over.
The goal in expressing your genius is to reveal it without silencing the hard side for the soft or vice versa. What will help you avid that tendendy is to try not to share from a place of assumptions, labels and societal expectations of what is and isn’t appropriate to share. Remove those barriers and practice being honest and transparent, and whoever is listening will feel a sense of trust in return. Try this, I mean it. You will be shocked how easy it is, once you commit to quit talking about nonsense. The result will be edifying engagement, and most people will gladly follow your lead.