How Are You Smart?

 pianovon Tanis Helliwell 

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Shakespeare, in Hamlet I, iii, 65

In our North American culture, we have a limited view of what talent, or genius, is and this we must expand, if we are to see our, and everyone else’s, unique gifts.

The Prodigy

In the conventional model of a prodigy or genius, the individual discovers his/her unique talent and is recognized for it early in life. This person could be a musical prodigy like Mozart, who was entertaining the crown heads of Europe before puberty, or equally, might have a talent in mathematics or computers.

Prodigies discover their life work early and spend the next thirty, or more, years honing that same work. Prodigies have very focused gifts and may by quite backward in developing—what the rest of us consider to be—normal adult qualities. For example, they may not know how to cook for themselves, do laundry or drive a car. In other words, they may not have well-rounded personalities but as they age they develop their talent until it becomes larger and larger. To illustrate this point, let’s examine the following diagram.

Imagine that the outer circle encompasses the total potential of who we are and the talents we have. The musical prodigy starts developing their one unique talent early in life, until by middle age, he or she has filled in a great deal of this circle. This process is true for all prodigies, but prodigies are rare.

tanis - prodigy 

The Renaissance Person

The majority of us walk a different path in discovering our unique talent and our soul’s work. Unlike the prodigy, the renaissance person usually does not find their talent in early years and may not discover it until middle age. This is because they have many different interests. For example, a renaissance person might be good both with people and in business. She or he might enjoy music, writing and speaking, but does not excel in any of them enough to make them exclusive careers.

The renaissance person explores all these areas simultaneously, so it takes her/him much longer to achieve a high level in any one of them, than it does for the prodigy who focuses on only one. It may take this type of individual many years until she/he sees a pattern which encompasses all these interests which could become meaningful work.

This person is like the Renaissance scientist-painter-inventor Leonardo Da Vinci who was fascinated by human anatomy, invented flying machines and painted some of the world’s most beautiful paintings.

Typically, renaissance people appear unfocused in early life and don’t find their true work until their various interests intersect in their late thirties and forties. The renaissance person in the following example has many interests: music, people, business, public speaking, writing and travel. At the age of 15, her/his talents in each area is very small, but as s/he pursues these interests they develop until, by the age of 45, they combine to form the unique talents of this person. The person, in our illustration, might become a writer of travel articles about interesting people and, because they’re good at business, they’ll promote themselves and be successful.

tanis - renaissance person

The Combo

There is a third alternative to these two paths. Instead of us being either the conventional prodigy, or the renaissance person, we may be a combination of the two. Albert Einstein, who was a mathematician, musician, and mystic, is an example of this path. Like the renaissance person, Einstein was cross-fertilized by various interests but, like the conventional genius, he focused the majority of his time on one talent—mathematics.

Like Einstein, combos may develop their primary talent early in life but, as they age, they develop other talents that add to the development of their soul as a whole.

tanis - the combo        

 How Are You Smart?

These three models all show different ways of being smart. Which model appeals most to you? To learn more about your unique talents, you may wish to draw a circle and fill it in according to your gifts and then look to see the pattern it creates that points the direction to your life work.


Tanis Helliwell, eine Mystikerin in der modernen Welt, bringt seit über 30 Jahren spirituelles Bewusstsein in die Mainstream-Gesellschaft. Seit ihrer Kindheit sieht und hört sie auf anderen Ebenen Elementarwesen, Engel und Meisterlehrer. Tanis ist die Gründerin des International Institute for Transformation (IIT), welches Programme anbietet, um Menschen dabei zu unterstützen, bewusste Schöpfer zu werden, die mit den spirituellen Gesetzmäßigkeiten arbeiten, durch welche unsere Welt regiert wird.

Tanis ist die Autorin von Elfensommer, Elfenreise, Nicht ganz von dieser Welt, Die Hohen Wesen von Hawaii Umarmt von der Liebe, Mit der Seele arbeiten, Erkenne deine Bestimmung und Die Hohen Wesen von Hawaii.

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