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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Related to category two is Dick Richards’ book “Your Genius at Work”. A workbook that walks through 32 exercises for finding where we’re unique and genius, deciding if we’re using that brilliance at work, understanding our purpose, and putting our genius and purpose together.

I’ve always believed that the great differentiator between those that are successful and those that wallow in obscurity (despite having comparable carrying capacities) is self-knowing. Those that understand themselves reach for challenges where they are confident of success. Those that don’t understand themselves play a lottery with every opportunity, unsure of the outcome.

What I appreciate most about Dick’s book is the way he leads the reader. Like a trail guide, but one that’s open source. At the bottom of the mountain he explains why it’s worth climbing, he points out the advantages of each route, describes the benefits of each alternative destination, and leaves ample room for individuality. In the books are 13 exercises for helping us understand our genius. Each one is an alternate path to discovering our brilliance but he doesn’t insist that each step will work … if it doesn’t work there’s lots of permission to skip over to the next path.

Also freeing is his attitude to what genius might be. From angels and daimons to core process, Dick frees us to see this idea as spiritually or technically as necessary.

I’ve spent an enormous amount of time looking inside myself. Beside my desk is a printer paper box overflowing with journals, notes, articles, and diagrams I’ve used to try and understand myself and my capacities. In my life I’ve always wrestled with two questions: What am I great at? and What was I built for?

What is my genius? Oh, I don’t know for sure. Here is my response to Dick’s kind invitation to sort through some of these questions in an online discussion group.

Out of that process came a stronger conviction that within us are two ways of knowing. And that I can confidently rely on either source when making decisions.

For other reading on these ideas:

– Dave Pollard’s got several posts: book review, some additional ideas, a crack at purpose, and a further extension.

– A review on Slacker Manager.

Commentary

Hey… what a great idea. Any guidelines that helps someone find their own genius, or,
your might say, find their true vocation, has good to be useful even if just to satisfy
a curiosity.

Steve, I think it’s enormously important. Note though, that Richards makes a distinction between genius and true vocation (or purpose). He stresses that genius is an internal brilliance where purpose is an external calling.

While I think I understand my genius, I’m still quite uncertain about purpose.

Steve, I just waded through more than 3,000 spam comments. Spotted in the mix, while wading through the carnage, was a post by you.

Unfortunately, it was only spotted just as the site was refreshing from a mass deletion.

Could you do me the favor of reposting your comment?

Point taken. Might I suggest that it can be a bit like having the potential but
not necessarily knowing how or if it is possible to turn that into some
practical application that applies to the realities of this world. It sounds like
in the right hands this could be a great basis for a workshop… if it has not
been done already. I shall now zoom over to Amazon and get myself a copy.

I think Dick does run a workshop. He’s included advice for running through the process in a group setting. Sort of a sideways invitation to have a go yourself if you like.