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Book 361 - A Year of Magical Learning

Reflection Title: Be the Verb, and Not the Noun!

Book – Awaken Your Genius: Escape Conformity, Ignite Creativity, and Become Extraordinary by Ozan Varol

Book Description:

We say some people march to the beat of a different drummer. But implicit in this cliché is that the rest of us march to the same beat. We sleepwalk through life, find ourselves on well-worn paths that were never ours to walk, and become a silent extra in someone else’s story. Extraordinary people carve their own paths as leaders and creators. They think and act with genuine independence. They stand out from the crowd because they embody their own shape and color.We call these people geniuses—as if they’re another breed. But genius isn’t for a special few. It can be cultivated. This book will show you how. You’ll learn how to discard what no longer serves you and discover your first principles—the qualities that make up your genius. You’ll be equipped to escape your intellectual prisons and generate original insights from your own depths. You’ll discover how to look where others don’t look and see what others don’t see. You’ll give birth to your genius, the universe-denter you were meant to be.


Ozan Varol’s writing and ideas will always hold a soft spot in my heart. Refer to reflection 109 for how impactful his first book, Think Like a Rocket Scientist, was to this journey and its unknowing effect to give Emilia and I permission to explore for exploration’s sake and nothing more back at the beginning of this journey almost 3 years ago now.

Looking back, I truly feel Think Like a Rocket Scientist was the first real book that Emilia and I choose and read together on this journey simply for no other goal than to learn and explore. Before Think Like a Rocket Scientist, everything that we read was my choice. It was something from an author I already knew and usually something about the business world. The books I choose had a reason behind them, and that reason was to get better at my job or progress the business I was trying to build on the side.

I still remember the feeling of completing Think Like a Rocket Scientist, everything about it just felt different. For starters, Emilia and I were listening to it while out on a run together. We never listened to books together while exercising at this time in the journey. Reading time was for reading time and exercise time was for exercise only. On this particular early May morning, it was a beautiful and we decided to go and take a leisurely jog and listen to the book on a Saturday. We only had approximately 1 hour left in the book, and I was excited to finish it. I thought we could put a good dent in it while getting some exercise. Little did I know that we would finish it right then and there. About 40 minutes into the run, we started to get closer to the house and I knew we were close to the conclusion of the book. I looked at my phone and saw we only had 20 minutes left. We said, let’s do it and just kept going because we were having a blast. We were enjoying the run and what we were learning and spending time together. 20 minutes, we heard, “Audible hopes you’ve enjoyed this production” and found ourselves back at home. Not only had we just finished the most unique book of our lives at that point, we had run for an entire hour without stop (which was also a first).

For the first time since her passing only a few weeks beforehand, this moment provided such a brief, but powerful, sense of happiness and fulfillment, which was something I didn’t know if it would ever be possible again at this stage of the journey. It gave Emilia and I hope for the future.

Fast forward almost 3 years later, 300+ books later, 1,000’s of miles logged on the road together listening to an audiobook, and here we are with Ozan’s next book called Awaken Your Genius. He just launched it last week, and I thought it would be a great book for Emilia and me to finish together as we wind down our last few official reads for this epic adventure we’ve been on called the Year of Magical Learning.

While I loved everything about his new book and know that TONS of people will have their mind blown by the stories and lessons shared by the author, I’m proud to say that Emilia and I won’t be one of them. We won’t be one of them because Emilia and I have been living the author’s words for the past 3 years on this journey together. We’ve uneducated ourselves, we’ve confused the algorithms, we’ve discovered what we like and don’t like, we’ve played, we’ve connected to the here and now, we’ve found a balanced existence, and we’ve found a clean burning and renewable resource to keep us moving forward in the same manner.

In short, our genius is awake. We’ve been having a blast exploring this world and creating together with no plans to stop anytime soon.

Ozan shared the story of how Elton John made the transition from being a musician to a songwriter that I absolutely loved. Elton asked a famous songwriter once, “How do you become a songwriter?”. The Songwriter replied, “The first step is to write songs”.

Ozan went on to explain that if you want to awaken your genius, focus on being the verb and not the noun. Meaning, if you want to be a pianist…go play the piano. If you want to be a tennis player…go play tennis.

I wanted to be a father to my daughter. Instead of saying that, I found a way to do that and in doing so found my daughter again.

Question: Are you focused on being the noun or being the verb?



What is The Year of Magical Learning? - An Introduction

YOML Podcast Discussion - Coming Soon

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