You are a genius.
How does it feel to read those words about you? Pretty good, eh?
Okay, let’s try this one:
You are an idiot.
Hey! That is not very nice, stop saying stuff like that.
I can safely say, that both of these statements are true about all of us—sometimes.
We all have times when we are very smart. We put together facts and intuition in a way that has escaped all of our coworkers. We are the hero of those stories, the wizard, and yes, even the genius.
Likewise, there are times and things about which we all are idiots. Although none of us like to admit it, we all do something stupid once in a while. We connect a complex system and forget to plug one piece into power. We type or say the wrong word. We forget a critical step in a multi-step process.
We are simply human, and humans make mistakes. It does not mean that we are perpetually or continuously stupid. Yet for that one painful moment, we did something amazingly goofy.
So please, get over both of these.
You are not as smart as your best moments and you are not as stupid as your worst moment. We will all get along much better if we could forgive and forget both instances.
Our successes are never complete and eternal: our failures are equally transient. Yet in our brains they are both magnified. Have you ever read a resume that included failures and successes? No, most people only include their successes.
The story goes that an ancient king commissioned his wisest men to come up with a saying that could always be true. What did they tell him? “This too, shall pass.”
The moments of genius in your life and in your work should give you the hope and courage to always get back up in those other times when you get knocked down. The moments of failure should give you the humility to treat other folks with great empathy when they are struggling. We all hope that the opposite is also true: that others will feel our pain when we are the one with adversity. And that they will celebrate the good times with us—at least a little bit.
So please. Find your center. Live in the moment and don’t try to live too large or hide in the shadows.
After all, you are a genius. We need your help.