Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This I Believe

I've been listening to a podcast for the last several months that has captured my attention. This I Believe describes itself as "an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives." I have found most of them to be amazing and inspiring.

I've been reflecting upon one essay in particular for the last couple of weeks. Ann Heywood was a military wife and held more than 30 different jobs before she started her own business helping other people find the right job. Some consider her to be the precursor to the "follow your bliss" movement.

Her essay offered two things that stood out. Heywood wrote "I believe that every human being has a talent--something that he [or she] can do better than anyone else. And I believe that the distinction between so-called "create" talents and ordinary run-of-the-mill talents is an unnecessary and man-made distinction." She also wrote "I also believe that in the process of searching, no experience is ever wasted, unless we allow ourselves to run out of hope."

What an important lesson this essay offers in self-discovery and understanding. Each of us offers the world a gift that no one else can offer. Each person is valuable. None of our experiences are wasted--even the painful ones. They all drive us to a place that makes us uniquely ourselves, uniquely gifted, and uniquely valuable.

Is there a more powerful act that any one person can take other than transforming a difficult or traumatic experience into something that propels oneself toward finding one's unique gifts?

1 comment:

  1. Jason, I am currently co-writing a book about genius, and I am now constantly asking people "What is it that makes you a genius?" Almost to a person, their first response is, "But I'm NOT a genius." So I probe a little further. "Okay, but what is there about you that's special, something that you do really well, that you're proud of, or in which you're innovative?" At that point, I start getting some answers, and some surprise. "Hey, you mean that's a bit of genius???"

    It's like asking someone to define their beauty. Most likely they'll say they're not beautiful. But over the past couple of decades, there's been a lot of focus on finding the beauty in oneself as well as in others. We all have a sense of our "best feature," or the side we like to turn to the camera, so to speak. Sometimes it's a facial feature, but it could just as well be nice hands or a sexy back. Or sometimes, it's something intangible, yet unmistakable.