It is about what you can contribute

In the book, Show Your Work!, author Austin Kleon wrote,

There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.” If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.” Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals: it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.

What I love about the idea of scenius is that it makes room in the story of creativity for the rest of us: the people who don’t consider ourselves geniuses. Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute—the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start. If we forget about genius and think more about how we can nurture and contribute to a scenius, we can adjust our own expectations and the expectations of the worlds we want to accept us. We can stop asking what others can do for us, and start asking what we can do for others.

I just hoped that I read something like this years ago!! What’s interesting about this scenius is how it changes the focus from “I need to prove something.” to “I need to do something.” and it’s not necessarily about how smart you are, you just need to contribute something and this is something I definitely need in the long run.

There will always be someone more smarter than us more talented than I us, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is what we can do and it is not correlated to our intelligence. Everyone can do something, can contribute something.

In terms of Philippine History, now I understand why a lot of our National Heroes are in one way or another, related to each other- they may be a distant relative, or a colleague. There was no internet back then, they can only send letters. In those letters, they passed around pieces of information of when is the next uprising against the Spanish colonizers. And of course, they can only send those letters to people that they know. Hence, most people in our history are related to each other, and sometimes-instead of names-they called others like this, “sister of *name*”, “cousin of *name*”, “uncle of *name*”

What can I do about this?

I am in a school publication for this academic year and honestly, there are a lot of others that are better than I am in terms of writing and that’s great. Ultimately, its about what I can contribute. Having that kind of perspective prevents me from comparing or even having insecurities. And once I graduated too, there will be others much more experienced than I am in the profession that I’ll take, but again, it is what I can contribute and I am grateful that it is not something correlated with intelligence.


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