‘Quietly brilliant’

I need a new phone.

Or so my brother Sam has been telling me for the last five years. Apparently I need to get with the times.

I’m a proud owner of a Motorola…hmm…something-something version. Don’t laugh. I’m just hopeless when it comes to gadgets and technology. Anyway, so I’ve had this phone since 2007. I’ve never felt the need to replace it. As far as I’m concerned, it does all I need it to do – receive and send phone calls; receive and send text messages. Isn’t that what a phone is supposed to do?

But the last few months I’ve suddenly become so self-conscious of my old, loyal and beloved phone. I’ve been watching people on the train, bus and even on the street sliding away on the screens of their phones. And I think to myself, ‘people are obsessed! What in the world is going on?’ But of course that is partly to make myself feel better because I do feel a tinge of shame as I hold my Motorola tightly; making sure it’s well hidden. It’s no match for any of those modern, sliding phones everyone is showing off.

And as if to spite me, my old crony is beginning to fall apart.

Because I’m hopeless with these things I have to do research before I can decide on which phone to get. Two weeks ago, I stumbled upon HTC. I immediately fell in love…not with their phones but with their motto; ‘quietly brilliant’.

Somehow, it was saying much more to me.

We often tend to mistake fame for success or talent. And I guess that’s easy to do considering we live in a culture that bombards us with this idea. Personally, I feel this is one of those ideas that kill talent and creativity.

There are some of us out there who are brilliant but because we are not known or recognised for the brilliant things we do, we doubt ourselves, belittle ourselves and eventually give up.

I suppose the question we need to be asking ourselves every day is why we do the things that we do. Sometimes people will publicly notice what we do and other times, nobody will even care. But if we are sincere enough to do what we do from the heart, we will make peace with this.

Your path is your path and how you walk in it is more important than what people think or say about your path.

But learning to balance these two aspects is what being quietly brilliant vividly brought to my mind. It’s the willingness to accept that sometimes brilliancy will not garner any accolades. This is an attitude that doesn’t come naturally. It has to be learned.

There is a beauty in all this though; a principle at work in there somewhere.
If you carry on with your life, doing what you do best, people will notice you…eventually. You don’t have to make noise about yourself or what you do.

We often wonder why we like people who are least concerned about making an impression. They let go of any desperation, so they automatically have the affection. The point is, you can be quietly brilliant and content.

Last Monday I went back to my yoga class after missing it for four weeks because of work commitments. Except for the fact that I am the only black person in the class, I didn’t think I stood out. I just went there to do my thing and quietly, as I do most things.

When my instructor walked into the class she made such a wonderful fuss over my return that I was utterly flattered. I’m not brilliant at yoga but I love it and my passion for it comes from a real place.

As I lay on my yoga mat, I couldn’t help but think of HTC’s motto. I had thought myself invisible in this class but I had been noticed and seen and even thought of as elegant. I felt brilliant!

So, don’t worry too much about your brilliance not being seen or praised. Stay loyal and steadfast in your path. Sooner or later, you will reap the rewards of your commitment. That’s a guarantee.

Now I’m thinking that maybe I should get an HTC phone.
After all ‘quietly brilliant’ is just my sort of thing.

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