How often are you brilliant?
How frequently do you have groundbreaking ideas?
If you are like me, the answer is not very often. And that can be discouraging.
We look at very successful people and assume they are brilliant every hour of every day. How can we possibly keep up with them when we only have a great idea once in a blue moon (and we aren’t even smart enough to know how often a blue moon occurs)?
What if I told you that even the most successful people aren’t coming up with fantastic ideas every single minute? And that is coming from someone who has been called brilliant (no, not me).
In this book Linchpin, author Seth Godin explains what he calls, “The Law of Linchpin Leverage.”
“Most of the time you are not being brilliant,” Godin says. “Most of the time you are doing stuff that ordinary people could do. We are brilliant only in tiny bursts.”
That is a comforting thought.
I often feel lousy if I am not constantly coming up with fantastic ideas.
It is refreshing to hear, especially from someone who is considered one of the best writers in the world, that being ordinary is okay. Godin is one of the people I assumed was overflowing with brilliance. If he is doing ordinary things most of the time, then it must be okay for the rest of us to do the same.
We can’t get down on ourselves when we aren’t coming up with brilliant ideas.
We can’t let our feelings of inadequacy get in the way of finding our next brilliant burst.
So the question you are asking is probably, “how do I find my next brilliant burst?”
Godin sheds some light on this as well by saying, “People who tell you, ‘I could paint a painting like that’ are missing the point. The craft of painting or the craft of writing that book, those are the easy parts. It’s the art, and the incite, and bravery of value creation that are rewarded.”
The majority of your life you won’t be brilliant. And you don’t have to be.
But to be brilliant and create value, you do have to be brave.
It is brave to ask questions, especially when you are afraid you might get an answer.
It is brave to speak up in a meeting, particularly when everyone else has their head down.
It is brave to share an idea, even if you might not consider it brilliant.
You won’t create amazing things 24/7. And that’s okay.
But be brave and you will recognize your brilliance. Even though it only comes in tiny bursts.