We admire those who show genius in what they do.
We often want to become genius ourselves. But is it really worth it? We see the success, social status, financial rewards, legacy and other benefits of having genius.
But behind genius, there is an incredible amount of pain, suffering and anxiety.
Is the pain really worth the social fame and infamy?
Think of every movie about a genius you’ve ever seen. Whether the movie is based on a factual story or not, the genius is always tortured by their own mind and obsession with their craft.
Examples from Hollywood include Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing (Imitation Game), Matt Damon as Will Hunting (Good Will Hunting), Dev Patel as Srivasana Ramunajan (The Man Who Knew Infinity), Tobey Macguire as Bobby Fischer (Pawn Sacrifice), Jesse Eisenburg as Mark Zuckerberg (the Social Network), Russell Crowe as John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), Michael Fastbender as Steve Jobs (Steve Jobs) and Miles Teller as Andrew (Whiplash). Although the aforementioned examples are from movies, most are based on true stories.
These are people we revere, yet in every single story, the genius faces the same challenges: torture by their own thoughts and obsession, destruction of their relationships, lack of healthy relationships, inability to get along with others, anxiety, depression, anger, imbalance, mental illness, suffering, pain, anxiety.
So if all geniuses are the subject to immense torture from their own minds, why do we revere them so much?
We should not. We revere their work and their craft, not their lives. In fact, their lives are a complete and utter sacrifice for a contribution, whether it be ever lasting or quickly forgotten. So next time you find yourself wishing you were one of the greats at something, ask yourself this: is it really worth it?