Becoming Aware of Your Inner Genius and Why All The Experiences You’ve Had are Ultimately “On the Way”
You may not know this about me – I didn’t have what some would perceive to be an easy start to life
When I was born in 1954, my arm and leg on the left side of my body were turned inward. So, from the age of about age one and a half, I needed to wear clunky, heavy braces on my left arm and leg that made me do a Forrest Gump-type of walk. I also had a speech impediment and when I was nearly 7 I was told that I was never going to be able to read or write properly. In fact, my parents and I were told by my first-grade teacher that I would never amount to very much at all.
I left home at the age of 13, left school at the age of 14, lived on the streets for a while (which I like to think of as my first steps in becoming an entrepreneur), before hitchhiking from Texas to California and eventually flying to Hawaii so I could spend all my time surfing. Then, when I was 17, I almost died of strychnine and cyanide poisoning with side effects that resulted in me being unable to fully breathe and ending up unconscious. A woman who found my in my tent helped rehydrate me and took me to a health food store where I noticed a flyer about a special guest speaker who was scheduled to address a group of yoga students that week. That speaker was Paul C. Bragg, and I can still remember what he said that night that just inspired me.
In brief, Paul said this:
- We have a body, a mind, and a soul.
- Our body must be directed by our mind; and our mind must be guided by our soul to maximize all that we are as a human being.
- We would be wise to set goals for our ourselves, our family, our community, our city, our state, our nation, our world, and beyond for the next 120 years.
- What we think about, what we visualize, what we say to ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, and what actions we take, determine our outcome and destiny.
I was completely taken aback by all he was saying because nobody had ever spoken to me like that.
Nobody had ever seen potential in me or said that I even had mental potential – except in the area of sports.
At the end of Paul Bragg’s presentation, he took us through a guided imagery meditation that he called “Alpha Meditation” during which I saw a vision of myself standing on a balcony and speaking to a million people. I remember having tears in my eyes and feeling inspired in that moment to overcome my learning problems because it was the first time that I had ever thought that maybe I could become intelligent and learn to speak properly.
At the end of the evening, Paul invited everyone to join him on the other side of the Island at six o’clock every morning for an exercise session and a lecture. So, I did. In fact, I went each day for the next few weeks to learn everything I could from him. One morning, Paul mentioned that he was leaving and returning to California. I knew that this man had inspired me more than anyone else had ever done before, and that I needed to ask his advice on how I could possibly become a teacher if I had learning disabilities and couldn’t read or speak clearly. His advice was not what I expected. He said that I would be wise to say these words to myself each day: “I am a genius and I apply my wisdom.”
He then patted me on the shoulder and told me to never miss a day for the rest of my life, because if I said those words daily, “sooner or later my cells would tingle with it and so would the world”. I never saw him again, but I also never missed saying those words to myself repeatedly every day till this day ever since.
Soon after that, I ended up going back to Texas and taking a GED – the equivalent of a high school degree. I didn’t know how to read half the questions there, but I closed my eyes and said to myself, “I am a genius and I apply my wisdom”. And I miraculously passed. So I decided to take a college entrance exam in case I ever decided to go to college, and I passed that too. So, I signed up for a summer school class – English and History – feeling encouraged and then failed my first college class test – I received a 27 when I needed a 72 to pass.
I felt like my whole world had shattered and that my dream of becoming a teacher had abruptly come to an end. I couldn’t stop crying on my drive home and curled up under a Bible stand in the living room where my mother found me. She asked me what had happened. I told her I blew the test and that I guess I would never be able to read, write, speak properly or amount to much or go very far in life as my first grade said to my parents when I was 7. At that moment my mother said something so deeply profound that it touched me to my core. She said, “Son, whether you become a great teacher, a learned philosopher and travel the world or return to Hawaii and ride giant waves or return to live on the streets for the rest of your life, your father and I are going to love you, no matter what.”
Her words hit home that day because she gave me love, certainty, presence and gratitude – four things that I now call the cardinal pillars of mastery.
In that moment, my hand clenched into a fist and I could clearly see that vision of myself on balcony in front of a million people. I said to myself that I was going master this thing called reading and studying, master this thing called speaking and teaching and do whatever it takes, travel whatever distance, pay whatever price to give my service of love across this world. And I am not going to let anyone or any things stop me not even myself.
I knew at that moment there was no turning back and I was going to do whatever it took to make my dream of global teaching a reality.
I hugged my mom and went to my room and began reading my Funk & Wagnalls dictionary that I received from Kroger supermarket at the time and made a commitment to memorize 30 words a day – spell them, write them down, pronounce them properly, use them in a sentence and understand their meaning. I refused to go to bed each night until I had reached my goal.
You know what happened? I started passing at school. In fact, I’m convinced that I wanted to learn more than anyone else in my class. I lived in the library, I read everything I could at night – even encyclopaedias. Then suddenly, I wasn’t just passing; I was excelling. Other students also began asking me questions in the library, which was the unofficial beginning of my teaching career and something I continue to do to this day.
Right before my 19th birthday, my mom asked me what I wanted as a birthday gift. My reply was, “The greatest teachings on the face of the earth – the greatest writings humanity has ever created, by the greatest minds who have ever lived.” She contacted her brother, my uncle, who was a professor at MIT, and a chemist and physicist, who sent me two giant crates filled with mind-expanding and thought-provoking books – ones that I would never have considered picking up just a few years prior.
From then on, I lived reading – I spent 18 or 20 hours a day reading everything I could on every imaginable subject. I wanted to learn everything I could and be knowledgeable about it. I also wanted to find the most universal laws to build a foundation of wisdom that would help me do something extraordinary with my life.
Today I am living out the dream that I set out to do – to travel around the world and to teach.
In fact, I have been to 154 countries traveling and speaking, and have presented my signature program, the Breakthrough Experience in 66 countries. I didn’t know what a genius was when I started, but I later learned that a genius is one who listens to their inner voice, follows their inner vision, and lets the voice and the vision on the inside be greater than all the opinions on the outside.
A genius is someone who no longer lives in conformity but in enormity, and in a vision of what they want to create in this world.
I used to present a program called “Awakening Your Genius” in which I looked at the many common denominations of some of the most ingenious polymathic individuals through history. What were their common threads?
- They pursue something that actually inspired them;
- They created original ideas that serve humanity; and
- They tended not to subordinate to outer authorities.
I’m a firm believer that if you set your mind to doing something that’s deeply meaningful to you, amazing doors of opportunity will keep opening if you persevere. You would be wise to stay with what truly inspires you long enough for that to happen – perseverance is one of the keys.
In fact, if you think that you’ve had setbacks and failures, that might be because you don’t really have the objective that truly inspires you and light your fire.
You see, when you do something that inspires you, you are not likely to see failure, you are likely to see feedback. So, if I scan through my life and look at the voids that are determining my values – I can clearly see how everything in my life that I thought was “in the way”, was actually helping me fulfil my mission and actually “on the way”:
- My void of being constrained inspired me to now travel the world.
- My inability to speak made me want to articulate and teach.
- My challenges with reading made me want to read – I have read well over 30,500 books to date.
The very things that we are told that we are not going to do may be the very things we’re destined to do. So, when somebody says you can’t do something, it just may turn out to be a gift.
Every one of those components of my life was exactly what was needed to get me where I am today.
And, after working with thousands of people while presenting my signature seminar program the Breakthrough Experience, here’s what I know for sure:
- You are probably at times comparing your life to a fantasy of how you believe it “should” or “wish it would be” instead of honoring the way it is.
- If you look back on your life and make an inventory of all the experiences you’ve ever been through in your life that you thought were errors or mistakes – they are actually gifts.
- Anything you cannot say “thank you for” becomes baggage. Anything you can say “thank you” for becomes fuel.
There are two things you would be wise to master in life:
- Prioritize your life and fill your day with the highest priority actions. Why? Because when you live by high priority, you grow in self-worth and confidence.
- Ask yourself how everything in your life is helping you fulfil what is highest on your list of values and helping you fulfil your mission in life.
You are likely to awaken your genius when you live by your highest value and pursue challenges that inspire you.
There are so many people out there doing bungee jumps, walking on coals and doing rope climbing – all of which are useful metaphors for courage. But these metaphors are totally insignificant compared to the courage it takes just to be your true and authentic self.
Start each week with a boost of inspiration from Dr. John Demartini. To receive your Monday inspired quote click HERE:
About Dr John Demartini:
Dr John Demartini is a human behavior specialist, a polymath, philosopher, international speaker and published author. He has recently been awarded the IAOTP Top Human Behavior Specialist of the Year as well as the IAOTP Lifetime Achievement Award. His work is a summation of over 299 different disciplines synthesized from the greatest minds in most fields of study today. His extensive curriculum focuses on helping purpose driven individuals master their lives so that they are able to more extensively serve humanity with their inspired vision and mission. To find out more visit: www.DrDemartini.com or search for Dr John Demartini on your favorite social, podcast or media channel.