So, “What makes you ingenious?”
I’ve been fascinated by the word “ingenious” for some time now, because it describes a quality that applies to every single person, while at the same time allowing for the fact that we are all unique individuals. As a productivity and development coach, my job is to help clients bring shape and substance to their ingenuity in business and life.
So, “What makes you ingenious?”
The word “ingenious” is derived from the word genius, but its meaning is subtly different. Ingenious means creative, resourceful and original, so by very definition everyone is ingenious. Each of us is a complex mix of character, personality, experience and environment that makes us differ. As Margaret Mead observed, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
I am watching other people with interest in this time of quarantine. As social creatures, human beings are meant to live in close proximity, to touch each other, to interact with each other, to share experiences, and many are feeling the stress of disconnection in the midst of social distancing.
I see people asking the question “How can I best use this time?” and using ingenuity to respond in attitude and in action, in order to create connection.
Some have adopted an attitude of using the time to better themselves or their environment by getting in shape, cleaning the garage, or pursuing an online course, like the free online happiness course from Yale University. (You can find it here: coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being).
Others are taking action. Moms organize drive-byes with signs, horns, and music to bring a bit of fun and excitement to bored, anxious kids. Communities band together to support local restaurants through “ordering out” campaigns and organizing meals for the staff in nearby hospitals.
I know a husband and wife who combined talents to make face masks for a local hospital, and make a few extra to sell in order to cover the cost of materials. The wife sews the fabric part of the mask, and the husband creates headbands on a 3D printer, so that the masks don’t have to loop over a person’s ears. (A major source of discomfort if you’re wearing one all day.)
Others are finding novel ways to connect, for example, using Zoom, a business tool — to host happy hours, high school choral concerts, graduations, birthday parties, and game nights with friends and family.
Interest groups are also flourishing online, on platforms like Facebook and Zoom, around all sorts of topics where people exchange thoughts, ideas and experiences. I have had the pleasure of connecting with other career coaches from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. One of my friends is taking a gardening class on Zoom, taught by someone in another time zone!
Part of the reason that life will never again be the way it was pre-COVID-19 is that our ingenious responses to quarantine have changed what we see as possible. Once we apply new thinking to an old way of being there is no going back. In many ways, opportunities for business and for our personal lives have expanded. As I work with my clients to reorient their businesses and their lives to this “new normal,” we are focused on responding through the lens of ingenuity. Certainly, the road ahead is bumpy and each of us will have challenges to overcome, and for creative, resourceful, and original people, ingenuity will lead the way to thriving in a new world.