Genius and the Unicorn

At a summer Solstice party on the beach in Venice, a man and a woman, who was wearing a unicorn wig, discussed genius.

The unicorn didn’t think she had any talent, but she didn’t blame that for her, so far, limited achievements. What she felt most ripped off about was, she had been slow to get “doing” due to a perceived lack of genius, and because of this, she felt she had wasted time. Her conclusion? “Doing has more value than talent,” she told the man.

The man disagreed citing the genius of Stephen Spielberg. “He made his first movie aged twelve.” The man continued to argue that Spielberg was simply a wunderkind. The unicorn woman said she doubted a twelve-year-old Speilberg could smash a box office, “surely, he became the genius he is today because he was a doer?” She argued passion and doing had more value than talent, even to the extent that doing could lead to genius.

Being an Aries and liking a good sports metaphor, she dragged Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash into the mix. A bold move as anyone could argue that basketball players at NBA level have talent, to begin with, beyond that of the average human. “But, that talent is worth nothing without hours of training,” she said. “At NBA level they’re all talented, so they may as well have no talent at all. It is the work that gets them across the line.”

Not entirely convinced, the man stated with confidence that no amount of training would see him play in the NBA. He felt he had a height disadvantage. She said, “what about Nate Robinson?” Most of her NBA examples dated back to the mid-naughties, but were fair calls none the less. “What about the kid on a farm in the midwest growing up without a hoop?” said the man.  The unicorn agreed that sometimes the opportunity to do gives some an unfair advantage, but she felt too many dwell on this and use it as an excuse to do nothing when ultimately, doing is magic-making.

With the party wrapping up, the man and the unicorn swapped numbers and promised to continue considering each other’s points of view.

A few days later the man sent a text to the unicorn. He had been watching a video on Youtube. “When Spielberg was a kid he spent an entire summer sneaking onto the Universal lot and watching films being shot. You may be right; it’s mostly effort,” he wrote in the text.

The message inspired a further flurry of thinking that resulted in the unicorn’s current opinion:

“Los Angeles is a bit like the NBA. Most here have talent and beauty and an abundance of creativity. You could spend days rating who has more of any of it than anyone else and wondering where you fall in the heap (if anywhere at all). Then, while you are busy at that, someone in the mix has been busy getting going, doing their dreams, and making it so big they leave everyone wondering how someone with so little talent got so far.”

Like the NIKE slogan says, “Just Do It” and may the winged goddess of victory swoop down and place a crown upon your head.