Sunday, 28 April 2013

Why am I such an idiot?

It doesn't take a genius to know the answer.

I'm a bit of a late starter. At 38 years old I'm only just beginning to realise what I'm good at and what I'm never going to master.

From the age of 21 I've been striving to work out what was going to set me apart from everyone else. And while I thought about it everyone else seemed to be getting on with it.

Friends became successful traders in the London Stock Exchange. Others became wealthy sales people. Others opted for motherhood with such a clear view of their future.

I dawdled. I wandered along. Chip firmly wedged on my shoulder.

I still get frustrated seeing people of no age at all reach great success quickly and wonder how the hell they have the confidence and clarity of thought to do it.

But I also take comfort from some little known facts about the most famous genius of all time - Albert Einstein.

It turns out he didn't speak a word until he was four year old and wasn't fluent until he was nine. One of his maths teachers thought he was a lazy dog. Yet he went on to discover e = mc2. And that apples fall on your head if you spend too much time in orchards. Or was that Isaac Newton? Anyway I digress.

I've eventually realised that what makes me different, note not better, is how I think.

I come up with ideas. I solve problems. I've actually known this for years. In fact I was first made aware of it on a management training course 13 years ago when I worked at Green Flag.

But my creativity of thought was never harnessed. So it is only relatively recently that I've been able to find a role at work where what I'm good at is celebrated rather than merely seen as disruptive.

Having spent years trying to work out what strategy was all about, I can't help now but think strategically.

I simplify solutions and get frustrated that other people keep making things complicated all the time. But I also know my limitations.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.

Not my words those. That's what Albert once said.

He also said the secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. Duly noted.

And that if we knew what it was we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?


He was a smart old chap Einstein wasn't he? Wish I'd listened to him a bit earlier.

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