The Fire of Genius…was extinguished

People ask me if I really think each person is unique.  And should each person’s work reflect that uniqueness.  Yes and Yes.  History has shown repeatedly that whenever we remove the individuality of people, that culture ultimately fails.

In 1782 Sir Edward Gibbon, English historian and member of Parliament, wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  He outlined how “the uniform government of the Romans introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished.”

Ouch – the fire of genius was extinguished.

As far back as 1776, Adam Smith saw the dangers of removing the uniqueness of each person’s work. In his highly influential Wealth of Nations, he wrote that a person who spends his life performing the same repetitive tasks “generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.” Wow! Now that’s not a pretty picture.

Since 1925 we have moved toward jobs that remove human uniqueness and specialized talent.  Assembly lines, cubicles, tenure and vested retirement plans have brought us interchangeable parts – and interchangeable workers.  The lack of individuality and uniqueness in many of our jobs today are crippling the human spirit, and reducing the minds of men to the same level.

The demise of big corporations and the loss of a “secure” job may be painful – and it also may be just the wake-up call needed to redeem the fire of your genius.

  • Does your work embrace your “genius?” Could you describe work that does?
  • How easy would it be to replace you in your current position?
  • Are you in a transition – an opportunity to wake-up your “genius?”

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