“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. One that I wish I’d heard earlier in life, but it’s no less true today than it would have been in my childhood.
I know it’s true, because I was a fish who thought he was just stupid.
Back when attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was defined as, “Doesn’t live up to his potential” (a term I still despise 35 years later) and the accepted treatment was detention, I wandered through the halls of various academic institutions vaguely aware that everyone else seemed to speak a language I didn’t understand.
If someone had told me that I thought outside the box (a phrase which wouldn’t be coined for a number of years), my probable response would have been: “Wait . . . there’s a box?”
It turns out that I didn’t need to focus.
I didn’t need more discipline.
I just needed someone to understand that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t need to know how to climb a tree, because climbing trees wasn’t what I was meant to do.
To read the rest of this article, pick up a copy of the January 2020 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy below.