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Real Life Lessons

Your Genius
by CV Doner, PhD

What do the following five people have in common?

A single mom is raising three children and working 40 hours each week. At least once a week she takes the kids to the park, McDonald'sTM and church and is taking piano lessons. She does all of this without the help of her ex-husband.

A man you know at work has the ability to convince everyone around him to happily agree with his plans, to follow his lead and to accept his theories…and he isn't even one of the managers.

A young lady at school always leaves people feeling wonderful for having been around her. People in trouble talk about how they simply feel better when they are around her.

An auto mechanic listens to the sound of your car engine running and tells you exactly what is wrong with it.

Your child who seems to be able to talk his way into (or out of) just about any thing.

What these people have in common is that each one of them is a genius. Now I know that most of you who are reading this think that a "genius" is someone with a high I.Q. But, I beg to differ. I believe that the world is filled with people who have a particular skill, talent or gift, that, while to them it is "common," to people around them it is seen as nothing short of brilliant. I also believe that you are one of those people.

Think about it. You learned to speak your primary language while still a toddler. Your started speaking words, put words together and made sentences and then, not too long afterward, put together multiple sentences and carried on conversations with adults.

You went to school, learned the alphabet, and learned how to arrange the letters into words, the words into sentences and the sentences into simple paragraphs before you left the first grade. Do you understand how amazing that was? And what about learning to ride a bicycle or tie your shoes? And you learned to perform these amazing feats as a mere child!

We look at an actor like Anthony Hopkins, a scientist like Stephen Hawking or a writer like Tom Wolfe and label them as geniuses in their particular fields. But I wonder how any of them would perform as a single parent of three children under the age of 6? Or, would you take your car to them for repairs? In other words, the label "genius" is usually "context sensitive."

The problem with associating the word "genius" exclusively with people like Mozart, Jefferson and Einstein is that it blinds people to their own special genius, as well as the genius of others. If an individual is only a genius if he graduates at the top of his class at Harvard or she is given the Nobel Peace Prize then certainly very, very few people are geniuses…and the rest of the population is of "average intellect." But if all of us have been blessed with a peculiar ability or gift, then what?

Then What?

If you have a genius, then what are you doing with it? If you have a special genius, then how is it that you so often think of yourself in terms of being common or average or "not really all that good at much of anything"?

If you could learn to speak your native tongue so easily, imagine what else you can easily learn? If you have a special skill or talent that is "so easy" for you to perform-and you do-imagine what else you can do with amazing ease? Imagine the difference it would make in how you approached your life if you saw that you were a genius.

Furthermore, what about how you approach people around you? Could it be that their performance or their response to you often lives up-or down-to your expectations?

How Does What I Believe About Myself Affect What I'm Capable Of?

Years ago an experiment (who comes up with these ideas?) was carried out using 40 students and 2 teachers. The students were split into 2 groups of 20. One teacher was told that her students were geniuses and that she would need to work hard to stay ahead of them. The other teacher was told that her students were average. The fact was that all of the students had a "C" average. Can you guess what happened? After one year (it might have been one semester) each group reflected the beliefs of the teacher regarding her student's abilities. The 20 "geniuses" were making "A's," the 20 "average" students were making "C's" and lower.

When I was a child my parents told me that I was brilliant. They constantly told me that I could learn anything I wanted to learn and become anything I wanted to become. I had no reason to doubt them. When I decided to take piano lessons, I knew that this was something I could learn. After one year of lessons, I had gone through almost three years worth of instructional manuals. I did the same thing with the trumpet.

Maybe I have a "genius" for learning musical instruments. Then again, maybe I was able to learn so easily because of the belief system installed in me, by my parents. I do know that whatever your ability or talent, what you believe about your capacities for learning or mastering a specific skill or body of knowledge will have an enormous impact on the learning process.

Created By God? Individually?

King David tells us that we have been "fearfully and wonderfully made." Each of you were designed, created and gifted by God. You have talents and gifts that have been given to you, with which you are to enjoy life, serve others and honor God. But there is more.

Given the reality that you so easily mastered a specific skill, there are other skills that you can also master. Given the ease with which you learned this skill, you can just as easily learn so many other things. Your life can be filled to overflowing (the "abundant" life that Jesus spoke about) with more fulfilling experiences. Imagine learning to play a musical instrument, building your own furniture, developing meaningful relationships or learning to play tennis. Imagine learning a new skill that would become another source of income? After all, why not? You are a genius.

Stop accepting boredom and mediocrity anywhere in your life. Get out of the rut of only doing one thing well and begin to do many things well and, thereby, add to the usefulness and enjoyment of your life!