Step 1: Admit that beneath all of the hurt, disappointment, false perspectives (yours and others’), your genius is buried.

I remember being ordered to the corner when I was in first grade in Madison, Wisconsin.

Something the teacher wanted us to do displeased me, and I’d stood up and told the entire class to disobey her and follow me instead! I was clearly inciting a rebellion, probably because I’d been very loved and spoiled as a child and used to getting almost everything I wanted from my Greek grandmother and aunts. I had high self-esteem, understood authority, yet was clearly testing it using my newfound, American freedom: Make me. Oh, and I hadn’t been bullied, yet.

In this case, the teacher made me stand in the corner next to the filing cabinet and face the wall. I was upset but did so anyway. I remember feeling humiliated, lonely and spending much time analyzing the cool, dark gray metallic side of the filing cabinet—rivets and all—as I waited for my punishment to end. In a strange way, the filing cabinet became my friend. And in a child’s way, I understood that I’d been wrong, accepted my punishment, yet didn’t quite understand why it had been that punishment.

As I look back, I wonder if a better, different, more intelligent approach might have been to take me aside and explain to me verbally that this kind of behavior was not permitted and, perhaps most importantly, why. I was a logical child and would have gotten it. Instead, I was punished without any explanation, and my punishment was isolation from my peers and facing a wall next to a filing cabinet.

Was I supposed to have learned something by facing the wall and analyzing the cabinet’s side? What can being put in a corner actually teach a child, other than how metal is welded?

Melbourne psychologist Dr Louise Porter, author of Children Are People Too, is … firmly against using time out.

“The message behind ‘time out’ is that it’s naughty to get overwhelmed by emotion so children are to go to their room [or be placed in the corner] until they are prepared to behave themselves and to apologise,” she says. “If we punish children for not knowing how to do this, we are punishing them for being children.” [1]

I hadn’t been angry when I’d incited the rebellion: I was probably just too sure of myself and trying to see if I could get away with having my way. I understood that I couldn’t and, in tandem, received this message, too: Bad girl. Go to the corner.

Yes, I admit, I’d been bad. But, frankly, between us, just how bad had I been? And did isolating and humiliating me serve me well? Was it pedagogically astute? I suspect that this was the first experience in lowering my self-esteem, increasing insecurity, and planting a seed for future self-harming attitudes. It was the first stab at my inner genius, and it happened at school. Do you remember yours?

In his TED TALK, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?,’ Sir Ken Robison explains that there are different types of intelligences; that kids are individuals who need to be treated as such; and adds that ‘[w]e have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.’ [2] Perhaps we also need to rethink how we discipline our children and examine the impact of culturally-, gender- or emotionally-inappropriate punishment on creativity. Free your genius.

Step 2: Commit to, layer by layer, stripping away everything that is preventing your inner genius from seeing the light of day.

After surviving several crises—some more serious than others—I finally understood in adulthood that I’d been adversely impacted by: inappropriate punishments; well-meaning guardians, including teachers; being bullied in elementary school and later junior high school (we were systematically dragged on the floor to the trash can and then either thrown in, or led to believe that we would be thrown in); and having my inner genius buried beneath layers of wrong thinking and other-accumulated hurts, disappointments and frustrations (mine and others’).

Before we can strip layers away, though, we need to name them. I am able to do this when I perform self reflection. Reflecting on events in my life (from seemingly insignificant to life-altering ones) that affected me is helpful in this way. It is only then that I can begin to free my inner genius. Will you free yours?

Step 3: Begin the process of relentlessly clearing the way for your inner genius to emerge.

Clearing the way can be likened to forging a path in a jungle. In this case, instead of clearing dense foliage, it has to do with cutting out attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, directions, activities that—and people who— are preventing you from both embracing your inner genius and allowing it to shine. The fact that we are entering into a New Age, as I explain on my blog here, is attenuating this process—making it easier. I believe that if we relax about life and ‘flow’ more, we can allow ourselves to naturally be attracted to like-minded ventures and people, and they to us. In a way, we have to stop valuing those things that society or well-meaning guardians taught us to value. They did so with the best of intentions; but times are changing; old paradigms no longer serve us; and what many of us understand as God is doing something new. [3] Our planet is undergoing a transformation that involves new ideas, new technologies, new understandings and new theologies that were previously closed to us. The ‘veil’ that separates what we are from what we can be, were always meant to be, and ultimately will be is becoming thinner and more and more people are consequently freeing their inner geniuses.

Step 4: Enjoy every moment of the process, as painful as it may be.

Accepting change and newness can be painful. But life moves on and the clock doesn’t stop ticking. There is a forward thrust, a forward momentum in which we find ourselves carried, like riding a large wave. What helps me is knowing that I’m not alone in this. I have my ‘tribe,’ and so do you. These are those who have become aware of, and embraced, the possibilities that exist for growth and transformation. There will be easy and difficult moments. But you can still enjoy each moment, knowing that it is unique.

Step 5: Unleash your genius and watch everything fall into place.

This step is the natural conclusion of the previous four. If you faithfully follow the steps outlined in this piece, the natural conclusion is that your life will change for the better. You will no longer feel energetically drained. Your confidence will increase. You will suddenly be able to tap into intuitive processes that will allow you to find solutions to problems that have plagued you. Your desire to acquire or hold onto material things or false relationships will melt away. All of this is a way of saying that you’ll become more real.

Each of us has an inner genius waiting to be released. Are you ready to release yours?

The 5 steps to releasing your inner genius (encapsulated)

  1. The first thing you need to do is to admit that beneath all of the hurt, all of the disappointment, false perspectives (yours and others’), your genius is buried.
  2. Commit to, layer by layer, stripping away everything that is preventing your genius from seeing the light of day.
  3. Begin the process of relentlessly clearing the way for your genius to emerge.
  4. Enjoy every moment of the process, as painful as it may be.
  5. Unleash the genius within and watch everything in your life fall into place.

[1] Sir Ken Robinson, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?,’ Genius, accessed on 3 April2019, Emphasis mine.

[2] ‘Disciplining kids, Why the “naughty corner” doesn’t work,’ Kidspot, 13 November 2015, accessed on 3 April 2019, Emphasis mine.

[3]Revelation 21:5.