If you knew how much work went into it, you would not call it genius. – Michelangelo
What does that mean?
To many people, the word ‘genius’ makes it sound like something was easy. E=mc², why that’s just genius – and it sounds so simple. What Michelangelo was trying to point out is that no one sees the amount of work that goes into something that is so breathtakingly spectacular, be it an equation, or the ceiling of a chapel.
This saying also hints at something most people know, if they take a moment to think about it. Genius is just another word for someone who has worked so incredibly hard and come up with something spectacular as a result.
Why is hard work important?
Well, this ceiling isn’t going to paint itself, ya know! How often do you have a great idea, and wish it would just get itself done already, this hard work is just a killer! However, it’s the hard work that refines the idea into something worth having, something worth being.
It’s kind of like a gem stone. In the rough, an idea is rather imperfect, having flaws and unwanted inclusions, and it’s the same with a gem stone. It takes a lot of hard work to find out how to cut off the unnecessary parts and isolate the imperfections, and it’s the same way with a gem stone.
You may be able to see in your mind’s eye what you think it will look like at the finish, but without the hard work, you won’t be able to remove the unnecessary and flawed portions, leaving only glittering perfection behind. And it’s the same way with a gem stone.
Where can I apply this in my life?
The section above talked about an idea that took a lot of work to perfect and make look good, work good and be good. Have you ever had a time when you made something that took a great deal of effort to put together? And how did it feel when you were done (only counting the ones that worked out well)?
I have been doing mid-sized home improvement projects for ages. Each shelving unit, whether unpainted pine or buffed oak, was a design project and execution nightmare. Nothing ever went quite right. Minor modifications at the last minute were the rule of the day. But when I was done, they served their purpose quite effectively. Not exactly things of ‘genius’ proportion, but I felt good about them.
What ideas have you had, but never put much effort into? Grab some paper and write some of them down. How about ideas you started working on, but either stalled on or gave up on? Write a few of them down as well. Now you should have quite a list of ideas to work on.
Pick one idea or project that you really want to do, something that will result in something very nice, perhaps even so spectacular some would say you were a genius. Do you have any ideas as to why it slowed down, or never got started?
Were you too busy? If this really means something to you, look for less productive activities and take some of that time to use for your idea. Is it going to be too expensive? Come up with some ideas as to where you could come up with some money, either by doing things for friends (for a nominal fee) or cutting back a little at Starbucks or McDonald’s.
Find a way to get started. Make a plan, even if it’s a preliminary plan. Figure out what you don’t know and how you will find out. Seek out the knowledge and expertise necessary to finish it, and get busy. Take the first step right now. And follow it up with another.
The point is Geniuses don’t make excuses. They find ways. They keep after it for however long it takes. Perhaps I’ll never do something that rises to that level of skill and beauty, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. The same goes for you.
You can have the results you want, or you can have excuses as to why you don’t have it. The choice is yours. Choose wisely, my friend.