As a kid, I had many interests and hobbies that I enjoyed. I played football, drew comics, created short films, and even had a band. However, I struggled to stick with any one thing for very long. Every year, I found myself moving on to different hobbies and passions, never able to stay fully committed to any one of them.
On the contrary, some friends seemed to always stick to one thing. From elementary school until high school graduation, some played football, others stuck to basketball, and one was always the guitar player.
When I joined the football club in high school, I thought I didn't have talent. I thought, "Oh, I suck at football." But what I was missing is that most of them had years of playing experience while I was just getting started. I was not obsessed with football; they were. And hence, the gap between our skills was so big that I couldn't keep up.
What I was missing is that most of them had years of playing experience while I was just getting started.
Talented or obsessed?
I took computer science as our major, and one of my friends was a genius at it. He understood many things the teachers taught before we learned them. I used to think he was a genius. But behind his brilliance was the time and effort he spent learning them. He might still be a genius, but what I admired from him was his obsession towards programming. He was obsessed for years, even before we met.
I've only learned this after many years of knowing him. I used to think he was gifted and a genius, but now I see him as a hard worker, passionate, and curious person. Always exploring and learning new things. I refuse to disapprove of his hard work by saying he is gifted.
Behind his brilliance was the time and effort spent learning, tinkering, and exploring.
Another friend is always busy tinkering, drawing, crafting, and creating things to express herself through her creativity. She is not afraid to learn from others, knowing that it will help her improve her skills. She put herself out there. Despite what others may say, she is determined to create and share her work with the world. I greatly admire her dedication to her passion and craft, which has led to her success. I am excited to see what she will do next.
Because when it comes to her, what might seem like an overnight success, I see it as a lifetime of hard work. I wish I had the tenacity to be so self-absorbed in the craft that I no longer care about what people would say about me.
What might seem like an overnight success, I see it as a lifetime of hard work.
What makes a "genius"
Often, what we see as an overnight success, gift, or talent was years of obsession hidden behind our backs. When nobody was looking, they dove into their world. Nothing is more powerful in the long run than an obsession towards one thing.
So, the next time you see someone "amazing", "genius", or "talented," ask them what they do in their free time. You'll learn that many of these "geniuses" were just mere human beings obsessed with what they do.
What do you do when nobody is looking?
I hope you find this inspiring. Remember:
It's not going to be easy, but it's not impossible.