Fish Should Not Climb Trees

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein

Everyone has a dream that is placed deep within their soul. Many are ashamed of it because they have been told that whatever their heart longs to do is stupid, dumb, irresponsible, childish, or immature. Because of this, they slink away to pursue other people’s dreams. They drive themselves to mazes of cubicles, ladders of corporations, and piles of paperwork. While sitting monotonously wasting away day after day at a job they never had a desire to work in a company that has no vision except to engorge its assets more and more, they are constantly berated and reminded how ill-equipped they are by a person who is just as miserable as they are.

Does this sound like the life that we have been forced into? Is this the life that culture has been advocating for so many college students, young adults, and young families? Have we been sold the bill that dreaming is too childish and passions are for the rebels? Have we believed that making money is superior to a fulfilled life?

What if we have been wired for something different than this world or culture has been forcing us towards. What if, instead of more and more graduates walking across a stage with a piece of paper that says, “Congratulations, You now have been bestowed a degree of intellectual knowledge of a subject which you will likely not use in your adult life,” we had more people walking out of schools with a practical, working knowledge of, not only the world around them, but of the dreams, passions, and desires that are within them?

Would there be a dip in unemployment? Would there be a rise in the quality of life? Would there be a recession of violence? Would there be an increase in overall happiness amongst people as a whole?

I have always said yes.

When people are doing things that they love–regardless of pay, time, effort, or reward–there is a sense of pride that propels them forward and a sense of ownership that drives them to do their best. There are no half-assed jobs when you are working on something that you love. Innately you desire it to be the best it can be, because it is no longer a detached project, it is an extension of your soul. There is no counting the seconds slowly tick by; rather, you are caught up in and lost in your work because it is something that comes naturally, something that you enjoy, and something that you love. It becomes more than work, it becomes life.

So, what if we began to be intentional and look for those areas in other people? When we observed co-workers methodically slugging away at endless piles of numbers, data, or images, we chose to speak into the areas that we can see them excelling. Because, chances are, in such a late stage of life of someone who is already been sucked behind a desk, they silenced their dreams a long time ago and can no longer hear the little voice of their soul screaming to be unleashed.

It is your job to speak life into those situations by doing the simple things: instead of gossiping about a fellow co-worker at lunch, choose to highlight one thing he or she is doing well; instead of planning your life out to your parents expectations, take a look at your gifts and see how they line up in the grand scheme of things; instead of settling for a job that you know you will not fit, look for an opportunity where you would enjoy learning and thriving; instead of studying formulas and dogma, appreciate them but strive to understand how the world works outside of the vacuum of textbooks.

Because, if we learn how to tap into the deepest desires of our hearts, not only will we learn more about who we were created to be, but we will live a life that is more full of life than we would have otherwise.

Exploit the genius in every fish; do not make them climb trees.


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