Last updated on November 25th, 2019 at 04:20 pm
This is my last post in my series about Gina Rudan’s book, Practical Genius: The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Talents and Passions Working for You. In the last part of Gina’s book, she wants you to explore what fuels you.
Gina claims that fueling your genius is a lifestyle, a practice that requires a conscious effort to sustain the mind, body, and spirit that will get you to that place where your genius is working continuously.
She suggests that to shift the paradigm in your life and your work, you have to act upon your practical genius as a self-selected lifestyle that sets you up for continued growth, gratification, and ridiculous success. Her secret formula is choosing the right content for your body, mind, and heart.
Practical Genius: Feed Your Mind
How many of you start your day with a list of goals and “to-dos” only to transfer them uncompleted to a new list the following day, and the next day after to begin the process all over again? I have done this myself, and Gina wants me to know that the reason I keep transferring forward my goals is that I am looking at time all wrong. If you are like me, somehow we have gotten into the bad habit of assigning value to the time that we manage. Gina believes managing time is an organizational pursuit, whereas spending time is an expression of your purpose.
Why do vacations recharge you?
Vacations or periods off from work recharge you because you get to pick everything you do on your time off to indulge your passions, your physical desires, and your intellectual curiosities. You are more relaxed, open, and willing to try new adventures.
When you are on vacation, you are turning your energy inward by pursuing pleasure, personal wellness, quiet contemplation, and a little mindful silliness. And Gina asserts that you should begin each day with this exact vacation mindset. You start your day about you and include some of your creative pursuits before you yell at your kids to get out of bed and make their lunches for the day.
I think the idea to focus on a creative pursuit at the start of each day is lovely, but how does a tired, sick single-mother feed her genius when it takes her everything she’s got to get out of bed in the morning? Sometimes, I think what coaches spout as simple solutions to life are not so easy for people in certain situations to implement.
Whatever starts your day nourishes or drains you for the day.
What if their home-life doesn’t support any self-directed genius until everyone has left the house for the day, or what if their only time for genius is in the car when they are driving to and from work? People live very complicated lives sometimes. But maybe all you have to do is roll over in bed before everyone gets up and read something that fuels your soul or concerns your biggest dream. We can all do that–simply sleep with the book like I do. Or use audiobooks or YouTube videos to fall asleep or wake up to. You can also choose to wake up to music that makes your feet dance in bed.
For years my mornings have been filled with getting my son the right nourishment to get him through his day at school without a thought to me in the morning. I want his day to go so well that I put my day on hold until he is happily walking into school. I work my butt off to make sure he laughs out loud at least once before he gets out of my car to face school. It’s my gift to him. It’s how much I love him.
But I must confess that I’ve forgotten to think about me in the morning.
Gina would call what I do “focusing on the output before focusing on input.”
Rudan wants you to gather passionate ingredients for a daily genius breakfast where you feed your spirit before you begin fussing over others in the morning. For me, once I’ve dropped my son off at school, and before I start answering client’s emails and doing my regular work, I need to look at my daily tasks, projects, meetings, or conversations that require analytic ability, such as planning, evaluation, brainstorming or problem-solving.
The ultimate goal would be to spend my day using both sides of my brain simultaneously.
Save your emails, return phone calls and invoicing for late in the day and consider eating lunch at the local airport while watching the planes land, or spend a lunch hour walking through a nursery, flower garden, or in front of your favorite painting at the local museum. Spend at least one part of your day doing anything that fuels your creativity.
It’s easy to forget that the adventure you seek in life can be simple to create in your daily life. Eating lunch at your desk does nothing for your creativity. Go, have a picnic. Go outside. Go for a walk.
Gina Rudan argues that a great way to stimulate your daily creative genius is to turn off electronic stimulus–your cell phone, smartphone, TV, tablet computer, etc. Go be in nature minus electronics. No step-trackers, no hat-cams, no cell phones, and no cameras. Just you and the outside world.
Try turning off electronic stimulus for at least 30 minutes every day.
Practical Genius: Play more
Here’s an area of Gina Rundan’s quest for genius that I agree with 110%: spend time exploring all the things you loved to play at since you were born and how these play-things make you feel (or made you feel). Write down your play history. What was your greatest play moment? Was it a specific toy you loved? Was there a sport you felt great when playing? Was there a National Park you loved to visit when you were on vacation? Was there a pet you loved spending time with?
Your play activities are the times when you were in your flow–you felt at one with your experience and lost track of time. You were in your genius zone. The zone is the place where your life-purpose is trying to form. The more you explore your play history and look at the times when you were lost in an experience, you will begin to see a pattern in what you love doing. Think about the neighborhood kid who was obsessed with their Easy-Bake Oven, who then grew up to be a pastry chef. Or the kid who loved building with Legos, who grew up to be a mechanical designer. Or the kid who always danced, who grew up to be a choreographer.
Contrast people who played at something as a child then became an adult version of that play to those who are lost and unsure about what they love to do because they were not encouraged to keep playing. When play is interfered with, people tend to become the kind of genius family, friends, spouses, co-workers, companies, and bosses want you to be–over the real genius you are at your core–the one you were using play to discover as a child. You become afraid of being rejected, so you hide your real genius that is dying to come out to play. You stuff your real gifts so far down inside you that it’s difficult to remember what real play feels like and what you really love to do.
If you once loved to paint when you were young, then you should buy some cheap paints and paint. If you like to write, then you should be blogging or keeping a journal. If you love to organize, you should offer to arrange other people’s spaces. If you like to dance, you should find a way to dance more, even if it is a Zumba class at a local community center. The point is to incorporate some activity in your life that feels like play to spark your creative genius.
Find play that attracts you, engages you, and makes you grow–this is the place where your practical genius lives, the path toward understanding your life’s passion, and the way to find your big dream.
Thank you Gina Rudan for sharing your book with the audience of 8WomenDream.
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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