What if “big and bold” doesn’t work for me? (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work for most of us)

What’s that old saying…”the truth hurts”? Recently, I was thinking about how truth, reality and the universe like to gang up and remind my ego that I’m nothing special.

But I’m learning that, as painful as it is, being nothing special can be a big honking relief.  

See, humans are really wired to work together in communities (which is why we’ve been able to muddle through Ice Ages and stampeding mastadons and a whole lotta other stuff). We’re born to collaborate. Communicate. And contribute.

But in the last couple of centuries we began to idolize the isolated genius, the lonely rebel, the tormented iconoclast (p.s. all mostly white dudes, in case you’re wondering).

Now, while it’s super romantic to think of working ALONE touched by the inspiration of angels and unicorns, it’s not really realistic.


Mozart? Grew up with musicians and teachers.


Darwin? Got advice from peers and colleagues.


Einstein? Worked with teachers and research assistants.


Yes, Mozart and company were all stupendous craftspeople, but they all had help (usually in the form of secretaries, wives, assistants, mothers, and house-cleaners.)

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by your own efforts to make the world a better place, maybe it’s time to put your focus in a new direction. Instead of wanting to be the NEXT BEST THING, start asking, “how can I help?

Stop focusing on being brilliant, and start focusing on how you can be of service. Because brilliance sometimes needs a little love from the rest of us humble humans. And chances are...in your quest to help, you’ll stumble over your own genius contribution. If you’re feeling underwhelmed by your own efforts to make the world a better place, maybe it’s time to put your focus in a new direction. Instead of wanting to be the NEXT BEST THING, start asking, “how can I help?

Stop focusing on being brilliant, and start focusing on how you can be of service. Because brilliance sometimes needs a little love from the rest of us humble humans. And chances are...in your quest to help, you’ll stumble over your own genius contribution.