Over the last few months, I obsessed over the lives of three different legends, three different masters, three very different self-destructive idols: Amy Winehouse. Bobby Fischer and Muhammad Ali.
Each one of these geniuses mastered his/her craft at a very young age. Amy wrote Frank when she was 19. Bobby became a Grandmaster at the age of 15. And Ali won his Olympic golden medal at the age of 18.
Most would argue that they all have gone mad because they were not ready for this glory and fame.
But such is genius, indeed. No logic and no reason behind it- merely God’s reminder of the magic we humans are capable of.
There was one line in Pawn Sacrifice (the movie portraying the life of Fischer) that showed us- mere mortals- a glimpse into the world of genius: “in a chess game, after only 4 moves, there is a billion possibilities to consider. After only 8 moves, there are more possibilities than there are stars in the galaxy. It’s really easy to go off the deep end.”
Genius is usually misunderstood by common people. It takes you so close to the edge, where only madness is waiting for you at the deep end of the rabbit hole. There is no escape. There is no plan B. There is no coming back. Only beautiful destruction.
And this is why you are not great. This is why you are not winning big. Because you still believe you can actually get there without losing yourself, or at least a part of who you are. Because you do not want to risk everything. Because you still believe there is a way around it, when the only way is through the middle of it.
Burn the ships. Take the ride. Gamble with your life. Let go . .
The only true way is losing your way!
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”― Charles Bukowski.