Share your genius:


I’m reading (listening) to a book on Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. I might make a book review of it later but I wanted to make a separate post about a theme that runs through this book. Da Vinci was a chronic procrastinator. He did amazing work that he was interested in, but the moment he lost interest he stopped (sometimes mid painting). He left behind hoards of studies that could have changed medicine and city structures but never did because he found editing and publishing too bothersome. He wanted to learn, not share, and in theory there is nothing wrong with this. Your time is your time, no matter how you want to use it or share it. I’m not arguing that he didn’t have the right to keep his findings to himself. I’m saying it’s a shame he did.

Da Vinci found out how our heart valves worked in his unpublished studies. Nobody gave mind to his theory until new researchers rediscovered what he did in 1960. Nineteen-sixty. He was that ahead of his time, that genius, but he didn’t share because of the work¬† load it would take.

Lucky for him we have found all his notebooks and know of his genius, but I’m betting for a lot of great minds this isn’t true. I’m guessing that there are a lot of great minds like him, who love the thrill of learning but don’t love the work that goes into sharing, and I’m guessing that their work has been lost over the years. It’s even more of a threat now that most work is done digitally. How many floppy-disks full of information have simply been thrown in landfills at this point?

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Success: It’s Tied to Your Confidence


Okay, I don’t want to sound like a broken record player saying “confidence is key” over and over again, but it has a lot to do with being happy, and it has even more to do with success. Can you be successful without being super confident? Of course, but there are plenty of studies that show that success and confidence feed off each other.

Why? Because confidence drives us to try new things that we might not without. It increases our chances of rebounding successfully and quickly, because we don’t take failure as personally, rather more of an occupational hazard. People with self confidence are better at selling themselves and more likely to get the job. And a big one? Self confident people are less likely to constantly compare themselves to other, because they know that though the other person is great, they have their pluses too, even if they are different.

Some tips to help raise your self convenience:

  • Know yourself: Knowing yourself is the first step to getting to the point to accepting your flaws (while still working on them of course) and knowing your strengths. Get to the point that you can ramble off ten or fifteen things you absolutely love about yourself talent wise, then do it again physically, and again emotionally/relationship wise. When you start this it’ll be super hard, you might have to make the lists over a few weeks to begin with. But get to the point that you know your strengths and you know your pluses.
  • Build on them: Okay, so you know what you’re good at, how can you be even better at them? Constantly grow. Constantly improve. Keep it up to date, it’ll bring you pride and it’ll bring to confidence.
  • Stop critiquing others: Yeah, gossip is everywhere, and I don’t think it’s possible to rid yourself of it completely, but when you get better about seeing the good in others, you’ll also get better at seeing the good in yourself. See people’s effort, see people’s humor, see people’s dedication. In return you’ll start seeing yours.
  • Stop comparing: I know this is a tip everyone knows, but maybe if people say it enough it’ll be so embedded in your head that when you go “he’s so much better at this than me,” you can shake your head at yourself and say “I’m good in a different way” or “of course he is I just started to learn about this a few months ago, give me a few more and I’ll be better.” You won’t stop comparing yourself completely, but you can get to the point where you correct yourself right after, and then the number of times you have to do that will slowly decrease.

The Follow Through.


© Anna Katherine Oates, 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

There are times when you pick things up and don’t like them, and then there are time when you pick things up and don’t give yourself time to like them. I’m serious, there is a big difference. I could go with the easy example of reading for myself. I hated reading as a child, loathed it, even. But I was forced to with school, and well, there it was, I found the right book and it took off from there.

I’m not saying that there is going to be a “right book” for everything, that if you try something enough times that you’ll like, but I’m saying there is something to learning or trying something new, and that’s the follow through, even if it’s just a month of dabbling in it. Promise yourself you’ll finish one or two projects. That you’ll not judge yourself based on skill you haven’t given yourself time to learn. I used to say all the time (and still do for that matter) “I’m so terrible at painting and drawing” and my mom would always reply with “to learn to draw you have to draw.”

Life changing advice I received as a seven year old.

Another thing we do? Well, we don’t try things fully, we don’t go into the depths of it. Part of this is our culture, a kid tosses a ball a lot when he’s in grade school and all of a sudden all the parents are saying he’s going to be a college athlete. Oh okay. But we do the same thing in the reverse. I tried realistic drawing a lot when I decided I wanted to draw, and guys, I sucked, and it wasn’t because I was bad at art, and that’s what we’re taught as kids. If you don’t like crayons and markers in pre-k you don’t like art, you’re not creative in the visual way. Not the case. Turns out my visual super powers don’t come from physical on the paper art, but things like photo shop. I would have never found that if I had just said “why would I take that class? I suck at art.”

  • Give yourself time to fall in love with a hobby
  • Give yourself room to fall in love with a hobby

I don’t know if you could say it any easier. Hobbies don’t just grow out of thin air, people who are good at things don’t just happen to fall upon it. Sure, talent counts for a lot, but it can also be built, and more than often, people never make it that far.