10.29.2008

The Brilliant Mind: A Journey Worth Failing For

Let me begin by stating that I am, in no way, brilliant.  However, I find the idea of excellence to be captivating, and I felt compelled to blog on it.

Every person goes somewhere.  Whether or not you want to admit it, over the course of life, you have gone from being a small child, new to the world, to whatever stage in which you may lie.  The part that I find scary is that no matter what I do, or no matter what I do NOT do, I will continue to move in some direction.  As all people do.  Even the "man" who lives in his mother's basement...he has moved from the place in which he began.  It just happens that often, that direction is backwards.  As in the case of the grown man in his mother's basement, he has gone from expecting his mother to provide, to being grateful for her generosity (once he is older), but then backwards towards hostility if the generosity is not carried out.  I can't help but think of Warlock from Live Free or Die Hard.  He has grown to become a technology god...but still lives in his parents basement.

Where is this headed?

One of the biggest strategies I have discovered in the journey towards brilliance is the idea of Initiative.  This is thinking and doing before everyone else even recognizes the need.  It's planning and executing the plan before the average person even acknowledges a problem that needs to be fixed.  The best way to begin this is by starting with immediate needs and taking care of them.  Efficiency is key.  Get the immediate things done before they are due, then start working on future things.  The brilliant mind can control past and present events, while idealizing the future.

A normal person imagines only what other people already do.  A great person does what other people only imagine.

Every great mind in history has been a dreamer.  There is great strength and importance in remaining true to reality and understanding the boundaries of fantasy.  But the worst thing you could do to your mind is to cage it in.  I have yet to find a reason to hold back an imaginitive mind.  Yes, they might be risking some reality.  But I would rather attempt to do the slightly improbable than remain stuck in the ridiculously overdone.  

Aragorn: What do you fear my lady?
Éowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond beyond recall or desire.

I have felt, I have not felt.  I have dreamed, lost hope, lived, and died.  I have loved, hated, and known passion unfathomable.  And in all my experience, nothing is worse than feeling empty.  To lose feeling is to lose a part of humanity.  It is to lose part of the very essence of being.  It damages the soul.  I would rather lose my mind to a dream than damage my soul to that dream's death.

Why would you desire to be of brilliant mind?

For me, it is because I am not satisfied with how life will take me.  I am not satisfied with being "another guy."  I want to be remembered.  In 30 years, I want my current friends to look back and remember "wow...what would I have been like without him?"  Eric Erickson produced a wonderful theory of social development.  And at the end of life, we are faced with the crisis of Wisdom: integrity versus despair.  Will we be happy with our lives, or are we sad that it is not what it could have been?

I know that there are two things I must to do avoid despair.  And it starts now.  I must fulfill my goals for my life, and I must fulfill God's goal for my life.

My goal is to be remembered and to change people for good.  I want to be able to know, in my old age, that there are people in my life that I mattered to.  That they look back and realize what they would have been like without me, as I look back and imagine what I would be like without them.  This is a large part of why I am teaching.  I want to change my students for good.  I want them, even if they hate math, to realize that one person does care about them, and wants the best for them.  And in their old age, they will realize that I helped them through a pivitol point in their life.

God's goal for me...I am still discovering.  I know how to find it.  But I'm not there yet.  I believe that God's will for me isn't about finding the hotel at the end of the map.   It's following the map that doesn't always make sense, but is guaranteed to get me there.

I think that Theodore Roosevelt said it best.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

No child wants to have an office job when they grow up.  They want to be firefighters, police officers, super heroes, astronauts...I can keep going.  They have dreams of bigness.  And somewhere, that dream dies.  As does a part of their soul.

Today, go and dream.  Today, go and take a risk.  Tomorrow, accept the consequences, good or bad, and be thankful that you were able to take that risk.  Because the critic will mock you, but will NEVER know the thrill of striving for a dream.

That is the heart of the brilliant mind.  To know how to dream, to take defeat, to turn it around and demand victory.  To get ahead of everyone else and make your dreams reality, and let other people dream of your life.  Not for the sake of jealousy, but for the sake of bringing them up.  The brilliant mind never seeks for self.  Self is too small.  The brilliant mind lives on behalf of a greater good.

So go out, and remember to look both ways before crossing the street.  For you never know what winds may come, nor where they may take you.