I’d like to share a story based on Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk. The story is about Gillian Lynne, the famous British ballerina, dancer, and choreographer, who talked about her childhood and the discovery of her talent to Robinson during an interview. She had problems at school from the beginning. She wasn’t interested in the classes, she couldn’t listen and concentrate, she had behavioral problems, she wasn’t able to even sit still. The teachers watched her worried, her mother didn’t know what to do. They wanted to give her medication, to control her constant nervousness and her inability to concentrate.
Finally her mother took her to another expert, and told him the whole story again. The doctor told the little girl that he wanted to talk to her mother privately, and asked her to wait in the room for a few minutes. The doctor went to another room with her mother, but before he had left, he had turned on the volume of the radio. He told her mother to listen very carefully, while they were watching her from the other room. She jumped up immediately, and started moving according to the music. The doctor told the mother: “Look, your daughter is not sick, she is a dancer!” The doctor told her to take the little girl to a dance school. Robinson asked Gillian in the interview, how it was, how did she feel being there for the first time. She said it was amazing and beautiful seeing all those people, who were exactly like her, who simply needed to move in order to think. Gillian completed all the highest level dance schools, she became a solo-dancer, met Andrew Lloyd Webber, they created musicals together, she founded a dance school, she became a multi-millionaire, and gave joy to millions of people with her performances. If her mother had chosen a different doctor, they’d have put her on medication in order to suppress her “sickness”.
I am simply fascinated by Cesar Millan‘s TV show lately, the Dog Whisperer. I am amazed by the miracles that happen in every single episode. I saw an episode a few days ago that touched me particularly deeply. There was this dog, Maury, who was living with a dog trainer girl, who wanted to give him away for adoption like other dogs, but he was unadoptable, because he always knew who wanted to just play with him, and who wanted to adopt him, and then he became aggressive, because he didn’t want to go. He was a big, smart, and very dangerous dog. He was full of energy, he was unable to relax, but he was a real cupcake around someone he loved. The dog-trainer girl, who took care of him, was very sad, because she was unable to handle him and find him a loving home and a family. He had already bit several candidates, so they were really close to put him down. Cesar took Maury to his center to evaluate and get to know him better. He wasn’t an easy task even for Cesar. He could handle him, but he couldn’t do anything with his extremely high energy-level, that manifested both on a physical and mental level. It could be any kind of game, he left the whole pack way behind, and he couldn’t wait for the next exercise to come. He was unable to sit still and rest even for a minute. After long rumination he finally decided to show him to an old friend, an ex-police-officer and K9 dog trainer, to meet Maury and evaluate him. After a short talk Cesar gave the dog to him, who took him to the training ground with different tools and games. He threw a tennis-ball into a large pool full of plastic bottles, for Maury to find. He literally flew after the ball and jumped deep into to pool. The bottles were flying all around, and he came back with the tennis ball in a few seconds, gave it back to him, and he was begging with his excited eyes “Give me the next assignment, I couldn’t wait!” And it went on and on from assignment to assignment. The old trainer didn’t want to believe his eyes, that Maury was tirelessly doing all the exercises, with joy and excitement, and with incredible results. Maury’s purpose was to work, and he was very much ready to work. Work was the only way he could feel good, when faced with challenges. He was not a pet, he would have died in a house or in a cage. This dog was dying for work. As Cesar has put it, this dog was an American citizen ready to work for America. The same dog, who was close to be put down, because of his uncontrollable excitement and aggression, he found his place and purpose finally.
Another quote comes to my mind, from Albert Einstein: “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.”
What I want to say with all this, is the importance of finding our true place and purpose in the World, the thing the we were born for. Cesar says, that we should never ever give up on any dog, and this applies to humans as well. If someone becomes a rock-star, a world-changing scientist, a petty thief, or a psychopath mass-killer, can depend on the environment and on very little things. And if we look deep in ourselves, we can recall hundreds of cases from our own lives, when we felt sick, weak, helpless, stupid, ugly, incompetent, unworthy, and other cases, when we felt strong, smart, confident, happy, beautiful, and confident. And what was the difference between the two? The environment, the situation, the circumstances, and our mood. One time we did what we were ment to do, other time we were way off track.
If I wanted to exaggerate, I would say one of the main goals of life is to find the place, the goal, the vocation, that makes us the happiest, that gives the World the most, that uses our talents, our abilities, and our knowledge the most. On the other side, I simply cannot imagine a more uplifting and cathartic feeling than helping someone find his or her true place and purpose in life, helping a lost, depressed, broken soul regain his life spark, happiness, and purpose. There is simply no bigger gift than that, may it be a dog or a human.
And how does all this relate to me? I think I should be brave enough to keep fighting and keep getting closer to the person I truly am deep inside. To find this true inner self with passion.
It is already 3am, and I am still awake. I didn’t even try to go to bed. I was working on one of my projects until late evening, I was listening to music, then started to write all this. I’ve been trying for years to force myself into ordinary life and normal bio-rhythm. But I never could. I could never wake up on time in the morning. And if I could, I am just a zombie all-day. I read an article lately about people who can perform and concentrate better during the evening and the night. That gave me the courage to decide finally, that I was not going to fight it anymore. I am one of those people, I can work and function much better in the evening and the night. Period. Earlier on occasions I let myself deal with difficult tasks in the evenings. I always enjoyed it, but also told myself to not get carried away, and not make a habit of it. In the last few weeks – maybe because of meditation – I noticed things about myself, even without any intention. I noticed this as well, that I am this “night owl” type of guy. So why should I fight it? In the last few days I accomplished several very difficult, previously long-procrastinated tasks during evenings and nights. This evening I made significant progress in a project of mine, and wrote this very long post. Why on Earth should I fight it? Why wouldn’t I align life with myself, and harness my strengths and work around my weaknesses? Just because ordinary people at ordinary places work from morning to afternoon? So what? I can accomplish much more work in 2 evening hours, than in 4 hours during the day. And on top of that I am happier and more balanced this way.
I hope I won’t have to wait another 30 years for such an important realization about myself…