In our last +1, we talked about doing Genius Work (vs. Mediocre Work) as we reminded ourselves that both the Romans and the Greeks had a word for our inner guiding spirit—that Optimus best within each of us.
The Greeks called it daimon. The Romans called it genius.
As you may recall, back in the day we talked about the fact that WAY back in the day the Romans believed we each had our own genius. It was kinda like a little mini-me. If we ever did anything amazing, it was said our GENIUS had done it.
This is one of the reasons why experts on creativity (from Steven Pressfield to Elizabeth Gilbert to Stephen King) tell us that OUR job in the whole creative process is to simply create the conditions for our genius to show up.
And, that’s basically what we spend all of our time talking about in the Carpe Diem Work session of our Mastery Series as we operationalize our Genius Work equation with some key practices to Optimize our Energy Management, Focus Management, W.I.N. Management and Consistency Management.
Check out the Mastery Series for more on that.
Today I want to go back to Pressfield’s wisdom and take it to my backyard.
Recall that Pressfield tells us: “In The Soul’s Code, Mr. Hillman introduces the concept of the daimon. Daimon is a Greek word. The equivalent term in Latin is genius.
Both words refer to an inhering spirit. We are born, each of us (says James Hillman) with our own individual daimon. The daimon is our guardian. It knows our destiny. It kens our calling. James Hillman makes an analogy to an acorn. The totality of the full-grown oak is contained— every leaf and every branch—already within the acorn.”
I’ve always loved that acorn-to-oak tree metaphor.
In fact, one of my ALL-TIME favorite wisdom gems is this James Allen’s line from As a Man Thinketh where he tells us: “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
It wasn’t until the other day that I actually SAW the power of those acorns in action.
Quick context: We’re moving. As part of that move, we got our Ojai house ready to sell. As part of that, we cleaned up the backyard, put some new mulch down, did a little landscaping, etc.
Then we didn’t spend much time back there.
Fast-forward a few weeks. I’m cruising around yanking out some weeds and what do I see?
Several DOZEN micro oak trees sprouting up!!!
It was nuts.
A neighbor’s oak tree kinda hangs over the wall. It’s always dropping acorns but they never fell on soil ready to receive them.
But when they did…
That’s Today’s +1.
First: What are YOUR dreams? What’s your destiny?
Let’s quiet down long enough to pay attention to our guiding spirits as we soak our acorns in that James Allen wisdom again: “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
Second: Are you giving your inner intelligence a chance to sprout and express your fullest potential?
Let’s bring Rollo May in to help us understand how to do THAT with yet another acorn metaphor. He tells us: “The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.”
Here’s to tending the seeds of our potential and remembering that, ultimately, our power is only expressed through courageous decisions.
When shall we make them?
I say: TODAY.