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“It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Wendell Berry

Berry’s words have particular meaning for gifted, creative and talented individuals. We have all experienced that sense of despair when our vision of the world seems so at odds with everyone else’s that we wonder if we’re going crazy.

That’s when the last two lines of his poem seem most significant. We can take joy in the notion that although baffled we are employed. We are not dead-alive.

A veritable chorus from this impeded stream
A veritable chorus from this impeded stream

And more, we have probably all experienced the exhilaration of feeling our creative intelligence driving us over the edge of an impediment into a whole new way of seeing and understanding. Or into creating a whole new category of solution.

This is something we are uniquely well-equipped to do. It is also something we are uniquely entitled to take joy in and to prosper from if the circumstances support it.

Redirect the negative

If it simply isn’t possible to soar into a new paradigm, then it becomes necessary to manage the inevitably negative emotions building within you.

If you have the skills you can use them to write, create music or paint. If not, perhaps you can direct them into physical activity or, in a different direction, into intense but focused thought.

If you’re like me, sometimes you may have to do all three!

However you approach your personal bafflement, remember the image of that stream. Nothing can stop its flow. It can only be redirected into something more compelling.

Just like you.

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