“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,”
I immediately enjoyed this quote when I first found it some years back. I enjoy it because it has deep truth for me. On some level it seems like it would have to have some meaning for everybody.
I was lost for many years, judging where I was in my life compared the people around me. With the years I spent getting my butt handed to me dealing with addiction, I watched a lot of people “grow up.” All the while, my life was backsliding into oblivion.
I remember clearly, wondering how people could get up and go to work every day! It blew my mind that people continually just went on with there lives day after day after day. All the while these people were not needing to use chemicals the way I did. I couldn’t fathom how they did this.
Today it isn’t as much of a mystery to me how people show up their lives day after day. I have been doing this quite well for the last 9 years in recovery. But when I couldn’t fathom it, I felt very stupid for not being able.
In the last 9 years I have had a great deal of success, accomplishing many things. I am not left wondering how people get up and go to work day after day, because now I do this!
Even though I have had more success than I could have imagined before I made it to recovery, this social comparison piece of my brain is still busy, often!
It is way too easy to focus on people around me, see what they are up to in their lives, and judge my situation accordingly. If I envy what they are doing, I may get the feeling of being inferior to them. And if I don’t envy them, I may get the feeling that I am superior.
This tendency to compare can get excruciatingly annoying, especially when I see someone’s coming out in an area that mine does not. But I also don’t feel good when I get the feeling of being better than someone.
Letting Social Comparisons go to my head really is a double-edged sword. It is difficult to win either way!
I don’t feel that either of these conclusions are ACTUALLY correct. It is pure habit. I am no better or worse than anyone else. And it is possible to not get stuck in the feelings of superiority or inferiority.
From Social Comparison to Learning New Skills
There is something good to be taken out of the act of comparing ourselves to others. I just have to be more mindful of how I interpret the data!
What I mean by this is that when I am seeing someone as better than me, that doesn’t actually mean they are better than me. It just may be an area where they shine, and I do not.
I think envy has a way of showing me what I desire though. If I didn’t have an interest in an activity, I wouldn’t have envy and I wouldn’t care if someone shines more than me. Getting over my self, I can actually see if this person will teach me what they know!
In recovery I have been taught that if I want something that someone has, then I better be willing to make the effort to get it.
Go get it ,or drop it and move on to something else, since resentment is a go nowhere proposition for me.
So, if I want to learn how to be a great leader or run a successful online business, or whatever else I desire to learn, then I better seek out information from those whose genius shows in these areas! I better do the research, follow directions, do the work, then rinse and repeat until the desire is manifested.
We all Have our Own Abilities
If after all that time and effort the dream doesn’t manifest, then it is possible that I was chasing the wrong dream. Maybe that is me being a fish that is trying to climb a tree!
I don’t think it is likely that we are all going to jump right into the activities that puts our genius on display. Though some people do!
If you are anything like me, finding the outlets for personal genius is a process of elimination. Meaning that I make attempts at multiple areas to succeed in, and through the process I wean out what is not for me. I also narrow down where my genius is likely to shine!
Either way, even though my genius doesn’t show in an area doesn’t mean that any extra skills I pick up won’t be useful!
Everyone has their genius level areas! I tell myself this when I catch myself thinking I am superior to others skills. Also reminding myself of my own genius when I am feeling inferior to the skill of others.
On my good days, I am able to give others and myself the benefit of the doubt. Meaning that I choose to say that just because I am not seeing others or my own genius in action, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. I am just not seeing it!
I know that there is always more to the story. There is always more potential genius laying in wait in all the people I surrounded by. And there is always more potential genius in myself!
Today I am even closer to recognizing my genius areas than yesterday, mainly because I have taken the time to investigate it in front of all of you!
Thank you for stopping in to be reminded of the genius that exists in the world and in yourselves! If you enjoyed what you read, please give this post a share on your social media!
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Much Love, Travis H
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