I was (ok I’ll admit it, still am) a quite disorganized guy. In addition, I have a reputation for outstanding achievements at different competitions in the domains of physics, sociology, languages, chemistry, and so on. Due to this quite bizarre combination I was known as the slothful genius of the school. Now, regarding being a sloth – I admit my bad ways and do my best to improve. Regarding being a genius – oh boy, I don’t like to call myself one. Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi – they are the geniuses. I might earn the title one day, but that’s far from now.
Being a “slothful genius” I was confronted with comments such as “Boy, you are wasting your opportunity!”, “Boy, you are capable of so much, why don’t you make use of what you have?” and “You can’t even imagine how it feels not to understand a math problem, use your brain, don’t be so lazy!” (by the way, the last comment is tommyrot). Except for some really good friends, most of the people who said these things said them because they were happy that I wasn’t doing my best.
Some People Might Not Welcome Your Change
Then I decided I needed to change. I set aside time for schoolwork in the afternoon, I organized my wake-up routine so I would never be late for the first class and decided to shave more regularly. Looks tell more then you’d believe.
There were some people who observed that I was finally following a path that would seed better results, and that made me a lot happier. They started to treat me in a more respectful manner, teachers as well as classmates.
However, the majority of people initially wouldn’t admit that I was making changes. They had gotten so used to my old behavior, they didn’t even observe that I was trying to get better organized. This might happen to you, too, and it might happen for different reasons. In my experience, people are more happy to know you behind them, than to know you in front of them.
Don’t be afraid. This does not mean that if you improve, people will stay away from you. First of all, real friends stay with you and do a high five. Then, after just a very short while, everyone else gets used to the fact that people – including you – do change. If you stay nice and friendly, this issue will vanish.
Accept Your Flaws, But Don’t Be Proud Of Them
You should always be aware of your flaws, how you can change them, and why you are going to change them. It took me awhile to do this, and it’s ok if it doesn’t happen overnight to you either – that isn’t how it’s supposed to be, anyway. Being aware of your flaws and mistakes also involves accepting them. I’ve come to know that one of the best helpers to accepting your flaws is to joke about them, make fun of yourself.
There are periods your life when you don’t even realize a given flaw, or don’t consider it a flaw yet. For example, I spent a lot of time believing that being rude is equal to showing power, only to find out that being rude is nothing but a sign of insecurity. Then, the time will come when you eventually realize that what you considered cool or correct before is no longer in alignment with your values.
Constant Effort and my Chest Workout
In addition to my earlier advice, I suggest you commit to the following rule: be persistent.
I recently joined an athletics group, where we do some weight workouts twice a week. After my first training, I spent half of the evening in front of the mirror admiring my “new” chest muscles. Luckily I did so, because the next day I couldn’t find but the slightest trace of them. The swollen muscles were just the “promise”, they were the illusion of what I could achieve if I worked a little.
It happens the same way in every area of life. You work a little, you see some results. Then, if you work a little more, you see some more results. If you work a lot, you see a whole lot of results. However, if you work just a little, then give up, then even those little results are probably going to fade away, like my swollen chest.
Don’t worry though, if little effort shows no results, it simply means you have a bit more work to do.
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17 thoughts on “A Story of Change: The Slothful Genius”
Great post! It’s funny how even though we as individuals resist change, those around us usually initially resist it in us as well, even if they want it!
@Miche, you pointed out very nicely, others resist change in us even if they want it. You hit the nail on the head, as they say it.
And thanks for the compliment. :)
Persistence has always been a problem of mine. I’ll work hard for a little bit, and give up when I don’t see the results I had desired. My little results faded, and when I chose to start back up again, it as like I was starting from scratch, just to repeat the cycle all over again. Years (decades) have gone by and I’m still stuck in the same rut. It wasn’t until a few months ago where I decided to change. I chose to remain persistent, and most of all, be patient and realize that achieving any kind of goal will not happen overnight. Thanks!
@Patrice, you’re welcome :) I too found myself in a similar situation. Teenagers go through this, and I’m still one.. I really respect those who make it to changing, but I’m a little fed up (to be honest) with immature girlfriends promising “I’m gonna change, I promise, I promise” all the time. Change is hard. And harder. And even a lot harder. And keeping persistent is maybe even harder ;) Congratulations, I wish you luck :)
Thanks for this post Zoli. When people become use to your personality, they grow to become comfortable around you. However, when you starting changing and becoming a better person, the people that know you want you to stay the same. Some people don’t want to see you grow. Avoid this and always improve in every aspect that you can. This is what I learned, and I’m glad you are putting the effort to do so!
@Tristan, you’re welcome :)
You are absolutely right about this. I recently heard a quote relevant to what you said: “I have seen a lot of successful people in my life. One thing was common about them: others have laughed at them all the time, until they became successful.” Change for yourself.
This also got me thinking about the obligation we sort of have to use our genius and our talents… since they are, after all, gifts.
Thanks for making me reflect!
@Miche, wow, thanks for dedicating your time to write a second comment here :) Yes, I also experienced that, when you’re kind of talented at something, you are *expected* to continually do well in the area. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though :)
MadMolecule here; I’m flattered that you liked my photo enough to use it!
Regarding change, I’ve long believed that people can change, but they usually don’t. One bit of advice that I’d add is: If you feel the need to change for someone else, then don’t. Even if it’s a change that you know you should make, making it for someone else is likely to result in a superficial, temporary change and not a genuine, lasting one.
This is my first visit to your blog; nice work, and keep it up!
@MadMolecule, although the editor (Peter Clemens) selected the photo, I would also like to say thanks for it, I really dig it :D
People usually don’t change, because they give up too easily, in my opinion. Correct change usually affects positively yourself and others as well, however, you’re right, the trigger should be your own opinion.
Thanks for the compliments :)
Inspiring post! The topic of strengths and weaknesses is a major one for me.
Usually, I encourage people to see the potential strengths in apparent weaknesses, and manifest them authentically. But it can work the other way too: if you have a real flaw which you trait like a strength, then you just come off as narrow-minded.
@Ideas With A Kick, “if you have a real flaw which you trait like a strength, then you just come off as narrow-minded”. That really made me think :) Wow. Thanks for coming by.
Hi Zoli … loved the way you say most people prefer to know that you’re behind them .. we need to step aside and do our thing to the best of your ability. I’m glad your brains kicked in! and you’ve decided to share your life with those of us who will appreciate what you have to offer, and offer your experience to others to benefit them.
Change indeed – just glad you’re not a sloth any more ..
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I really like the idea of accept by don’t be proud of your flaws. Far too often people take the idea of accepting your flaws as saying “yeah, I’m this way, so what? Deal with it!”
Thanks for pointing out that this is not the best way to deal with flaws. ;)
Thanks for the kind words. I also think a lot about that idea, and plan to turn it into a broader blog post, because changing that attitude determined a lot of things in my life recently. Thanks for coming by.