Just met a new friend here who very, very smart. I have no idea if he meets criteria for genius, but he’s close enough for me. I’ll just call him my New Genius Friend, ZE. We are having a dialogue lately on creativity. His interests include the intersection of creativity and leadership and how one informs the other. His work seems to be mostly directed at the business sector where leadership training is often used and I would argue very much needed, though I have no interest in this sort of thing, mostly because I seriously suck as a leader. And I’m not sure I care about that at all because I hate the idea of leading people in much of anything, except maybe leading a herd of humans racing like scampering rodents off a steep cliff, and I might even have to think twice about that one, as momentarily thrilling as it sounds.
ZE: Has self-expression affected your life, and if so, in what way?
To me self-expression is my writing. For many years, I did not write. Now I write all the time, so I am expressing myself and my emotions to the whole damn world every day, with thousands of rapt listeners. God I love it so much. But I do not write to express myself.
I write because I have to or need to. This is a gift I was born with, and as with many people with gifts, I have been working like mad overtime on my gift for most of my life.
This is where people confuse giftedness and hard work. They think it is one or the other, but often it is both. Many people are born with a gift but then work, often very, very hard, on their gift for years or decades.
It’s my opinion that they get better at it, but I suppose that remains to be proven.
It’s a good question. Would I be just as good a writer if I picked up a pen now for the first time as opposed to working like Hell on my skill for years? I say no, but has it been proven?. It probably doesn’t matter because most with a gift secretly think they suck and always look to those who do the gifted thing better than they do. This makes them mad and insecure, so they are always trying to be better. I am always trying to be a better writer because I look around and see better writers all the time. They often make me a bit mad that I can’t write that well, so I kick myself in the butt for being a lousy writer and resolve to beat that guy if it’s the last thing I do.
Even if you could prove that practice is worthless, I think a lot of us gifted folks would do it anyways because the gift seems to compel you to insecurity and constant upward striving.
The most gifted people often secretly feel that they suck. This is interesting. Lousy writers don’t get blocked. Every blocked writer I knew was a great writer.
Also blocking is usually stupid. Blocking is caused by fearing that you can’t write well, which in the case of most good writers, is pretty much a lie. Once you sit down and start doing it, you usually see that the blocking was a lie, and you can actually do it well. This is because gifted people are perfectionists, but that is a rather good thing I think.