DON’T BE A SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE

Many people are labouring under the notion that they are not smart enough and may never accomplish anything worthwhile. They look at those they consider successful and ape their skills and pursuits. But they keep getting frustrated because they never seem to match these standards and expectations they’ve set for themselves.

Sometimes, the individuals concerned did not start this vicious cycle by themselves. They were pushed into it by their parents or some others close to them. We hear of parents who threaten to cut off their children’s tuition if they don’t study certain professional courses like medicine and law. And when the kids obey and perform poorly, they are adjudged stupid.

Albert Einstein, the German-born scientist and Nobel Prize winner, whose theory of relativity helped to lay the foundations for modern physics and quantum mechanics, was not considered smart as a child. In fact, he was seen as a poor student, perhaps a retarded one, by some of his teachers.

How did they rate him? I would imagine that because recitation is a vital part of early education and Albert couldn’t speak well even at age nine, they thought he was probably mentally handicapped. But they failed to take into account his mechanical skills and deep curiosity about the forces that direct things in the natural world. For instance, at six, little Albert could play the violin.

His academic challenges continued because he wasn’t an all-rounder. He excelled in mathematics, unveiling geometry at twelve and became adept at calculus by sixteen but his performance in other subjects remained poor. Moreover, he hated school at that level. He was probably raring to go to university where he would have the liberty to investigate the scientific things that intrigued him.

Just when he wanted to ditch school at sixteen, the teachers “did him the honour” by booting him out because his negative attitude was influencing other students. It is hard to imagine that Einstein, whose name has become a synonym for genius, failed exams as a student. But that is what happened. He couldn’t go to university straight because he flunked the entrance exam. He had to do a diploma first. Now, doesn’t that sound familiar?

But he got in eventually and went on to make history. Before his death in 1955, Einstein had published over 300 scientific works. Even his non-scientific publications were in excess of 150. And it is from this prodigious mind that we take this excellent advice for those who are straining to become what they may never be and who are thus losing their self-esteem:

“Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Einstein was at home with Physics and Mathematics and when he devoted his full attention to them, he made discovery upon discovery that helped transform the world.

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So, what are you good at? It doesn’t have to be something everyone is celebrating or recognises its importance. But if it’s what God has placed inside you, harness it, refine it and use it to benefit humanity. When Mother Theresa answered the call to live among the poor in Calcutta, she had no idea that that path of destitution and compassionate care for the infirm and paupers will result in her becoming a global celebrity, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and an enduring icon of goodness.

So quit being a square beg in a round hole. Quit comparing yourself with others. Quit letting people put you down and say you’re not good enough. Remember, “everyone” Albert Einstein, the man whose life is summarised as GENIUS said, “everyone is a genius.” That includes you!

If you don’t believe Einstein, believe the Bible for it says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalm 139:14. Everyone of us is! The picture is even clearer from the specific declaration in Romans 12:6:

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. …”

It further says we should exercise those gifts according to the faith that God has given us. All you need to do is ask God to help you identify what He has put in you if you don’t know it already and work with Him to develop and use it to impact the world. That is the path to success and fulfilment and I hope you begin to do it right now, Genius!


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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.
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74 thoughts on “DON’T BE A SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE

  1. Sometimes our parents are d reasons we look down at ourselves when de begin to compare their children to other children. Oh God! That is d fastest way to kill a person’s morale. When ur parents don’t recognise who u are and so can’t help u breakthrough. It’s heartbreaking

    • Yeah! I pray that God grants wisdom to parents to affirm and support their kids according to their God-given abilities.

  2. its all about finding your true potential and how to use it even though it means forsaking the majority. tank u ma for this wonderful piece

  3. dont look down on your self no mater what people say. i believe we are all gifted in our own way. nice one aunty edith

    • I was enchanted by the quote the first time I saw it too. That’s why I decided to build a post around it. Thank you, Kathleen, and stay super blessed!

  4. I believe our existence on earth was for a purpose. So why then do we compare when we are gifted with different potentials? I believe we should quit comparisons and start harnessing our potentials for the glory of God.Such a thought changing post.

  5. Sometimes we do things because others do it and it’s working for them forgetting that we are not those people, other times we do things because our family wants us to do so… We don’t think of what our calling is or what we are good in.. We all have one thing or the other that we can do very well. Why not develop yourself in that area instead of becoming somebody else?

  6. The problem is that in the society we live in, there are certain measures that are generally used to judge a person’s success. this should not be so, because as you rightly said, everyone is given different graces. even in the bible, when the master was sharing the talents, he gave the first one five, the second one two, and the third one, he gave one. he gave it to them according to their capabilities. if you even notice, when the one given two reproduced two back, he did not compare him with the one that was given five, who reproduced five also

  7. Before we were born, God has already designed and constructed our future and all that is required for us to attain greater heights.
    Nobody is born to be a dummy, daft or even stupid. It all depends on our works in life and the grace of God. I pray we make it big in future that those who laughed at us will be astonished and surprised when people sing our names… Amen

  8. As our faces are different, so are our talents, attitudes, abilities and so on. what works for A may not work for you, its best to inquire of the Lord, what his plan and purpose is for you. nice post ma!

  9. Woaww.. What a wonderful piece!
    Ma, this is 100 percent inspiring. I’m touched. Most people out there live their lives trying to be whom they’re not destined to be and that is why they keep on failing.
    Indeed, most successful people today worked in line with their calling and that is why they keep on florishing. Life is all about knowing the key!

  10. No better day or time to have read this post. “So quit being a square beg in a round hole. Quit comparing yourself with others. Quit letting people put you down and say you’re not good enough. Remember, “everyone” Albert Einstein, the man whose life is summarised as GENIUS said, “everyone is a genius.” That includes you!” This really got me. Thanks Ma’am cos I believe I’m a genius just like everyone is.

  11. This is the bane that has dawned on us like goosebumps especially on our parents. What baffles me is the fact that those promoting this are our so called intelligent and exposed parents. killing the dreams of their children and the hope of our society. Individually we are peculiar, endowed with one propensity or the other. Just like aunt rightly said, it’s high time we harnessed our visions and dreams and short out unhealthy comparisons and futile hopes. don’t be a square peg in a round hole

  12. Thank you very much for this particular post ma for it is inspiring, motivating and captivating and i know it will help very well in the struggle of life. it doesnt really matter where you are now but the most important thing is that you keep moving. In the other hand, parents should allow their children to do what they think is best for them.

  13. This got me thinking especially the quote about the fish,we are destined with different abilities but those abilities could not be put into consideration because of the society we find ourselves in,I love this writeup more especially because of the quote,truly everyone is a genius but not everyone has put their abilities into an uttermost consideration.
    Thanks for sharing this ma

  14. Love this lady. A good friend of mine is always reminding me to run my own race and ignore those around me unless they are the ones God called me to help. When I look around too much I lose focus. God is doing big unique things in all of us. To Him be all the Glory

  15. Albert Einstein is truly a genius and I too, I’m a genius, I must say. This is the first time I am hearing this story about Albert Einstein, he really insisted on his dreams and became someone to be remembered worldwide. I am encouraged by this post. One should just know what he or she is good at and focus on it. Thank you, ma. You are a genius too.

  16. This is a wonderful and motivational post that makes an individual to believe in himself and his ability. It shows us that we should not feel inferior to our fellow man.

  17. Parents should allow their children to choose their desired career and not forcing a career on them
    This post is awesome

  18. I have to say this is very inspiring. We all have our race to run in life, we just have to know what path is ours to take and run patiently with strength, determination and endurance to get to our goal in life.

  19. This was really pondering on my mind, every body got his or her own talents or abilities as was clarified by Albert Einstein. Parents and guardians should not dictate ones career, because everyone is blessed with an uttermost skill and talent. Really splendid and didactic.

  20. This was really pondering on my mind, every body got his or her own talents or abilities as was clarified by Albert Einstein. Parents and guardians should not dictate ones career, because everyone is blessed with an uttermost skill and talent. Really splendid and didactic.

  21. Yes, we all are beautifully and wonderfully made. We all carry something peculiar in us. Never underate yourself, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

  22. Thank you for this nugget. It really reminded me of an assignment I have to do about myself. Everyone was created with one gift or the other and therefore no one is a failure. My inability at this does not define me. Because my ability could be innovative to build another’s life.

  23. Indeed we are unique in our own way. Some parents still force their children into educational parts they don’t want to follow and this may lead to lack of commitment. Einstein followed his heart and became successful.Parents should allow their children make such decisions themselves

  24. This is really inspiring!
    There are lots of people the are depressed because they believe they are not good enough or compare theirselves to others which is the fastest way to kill the soul. Everyone has something great in them, we just have to make time and find out the gifts we have, accomplish it and still cheer others on.

  25. Everyone got his or her own talent
    Though, some people discipline may be more peculiar than others but we all important to the development of our community.

  26. True talk. I believe that God has bestowed upon every man a unique quality, a unique capability. People should also learn not to listen to people who judge them quickly and are fast to pointing fingers when things go wrong.

  27. Everyone has individual talents. These talents are very useful in their own way and in their own time and circumstances. Because you feel you don’t fit in at the moment doesn’t mean you don’t have a gift. Wait for your time and when it comes everyone will value your talent.

  28. Nice one Ma,an inspirational and aggressive post.We the youth should deploy every godly means to make it in life.Every being is endowed with gifts,talent we should explore it to get to the top.

  29. perfection is applauded and appreciated in all we do.we should seek through find or discover our God given talent and develop it to the fullest.being a square peg in a round hole brings our morale and zeal down. We should always strive to be the best.

  30. This is really encouraging. We mustn’t despise our selves simply because we haven’t attained some particular height which we have dreamed of, the grace one has may be different from yours. We should harness and remould ourselves into achieving greatness. May his grace which is made sufficient manifest in our lives and transform our future and purpose in life.

  31. This exactly points at the problem facing the present day young people. Most of us have given up on ourselves. This post is just what I need at this point of my life. I am a genius and I have a purpose.

  32. Well Said Ma, but in higher institutions like ours or even the other lower levels of education, the same vicious cycle still exist , how do we contend this Ma???

    • Most of us have some attributes imbeded in us but our society (parents and elderly ones included) won’t allow us to actualise that. If you are not good in academics then you can’t make it in life. Thanks ma for sharing this story with us, it’s really motivating and encouraging.

  33. Nice one. It better explains when the purpose of something isn’t known, abuse is inevitable. People who don’t know their purpose seem to worry and get confused with other folks adding to the problem. It behooves us to find that beautiful thing God gave us to work with.

  34. Thank you Ma for this encouragement. Being in the department of mass communication alone came through defying orders from above. LOL. But, today, I thank God I did so. We will keep on riding this till we get to the much desired top. I only pray for God’s guidance and wisdom. God bless you Ma.

  35. Peer pressure breeds comparison and it results to depression because of the inability to attain the level others have attained. Sometimes when I envy people termed successful, I don’t envy their success or money, what I envy is their determination and passion.

  36. life is too short for one to live it comparing and trying to please anybody. the main pursuit here is happiness, whatever makes you happy, do it! even work naturally seems less stressful when done with so much passion, everything will fit so perfectly. when you discover your purpose, everything will feel so right!

  37. Sometimes it’s not as easy as it’s written. But, we have to understand that everyone of us, we have something unique about us an in us. There are lots of popular things, so we feel we have to also have one of those popular talents and it blinds us to that special gift God gave to us.
    It doesn’t matter what anyone says, their words and action hurts, yes, but what matters is who you are in Christ and who you are called to be.

  38. Just like the sun is made for day and moon for night, we all will blossom in our own way. We don’t necessarily have to blossom at the same time or the same way. We’re the different stars with different destinies!

  39. One of the things I hate most in this world is my parents comparing me with other kids. I thank God for the parents I have. They are always ready to support our dreams and aspiration. They don’t believe in forcing kids to do what they want them to do. I think parents should curtail that habit because it really affects the kids and if the kids don’t have their heart in that area of study then it is useless.

  40. A line of the Old School, school’s anthem says ” You have the power to conquer, if you only try”. This is one that inspires generations to believe in their abilities and in themselves, knowing that all that is required is that they just simply try. The basic reason why you find square pegs in round holes is because individuals has failed to understand that they were uniquely created for a purpose, to achieve a task assigned to them by their creator and for that purpose they have been specifically armed with certain talents, skills, abilities and potentials distinct from that given to Mr A. Everybody wants to be like everybody without knowing that purpose is best achieved by being one’s self. This piece has definitely spurred me in actuality asking myself certain questions, if when answered truthfully will help shape my future for the good.

  41. There was a time I was discouraged to stop doing what I love,singing.Because I wasnt doing so well.it made so sad and unhappy and it made me quit for sometime.But now I started allover again, trying to correct my mistakes and learning again.

  42. Some parents are the ones found guilty in this aspect of life. They would confuse and mislead their children in choosing what they do not cherish which has yielded poor result. So painful, I can’t try this to my children oooo..

  43. The message here is very clear. We should strive to do what we are good at. We shouldn’t necessarily conform to what our parents or society expects us to do. We see many youths going down paths that are not for them, simply because their parents said so. I believe that for humans to succeed, we must each do what we love, in a positive and enriching way.

  44. “Follow the status quo, it’s better to be safe than sorry”… These dream killers in its true sense kill a lot of dreams. I can’t quite remember who said this but the quote is ever new in my mind.
    “everyone is an artist, the problem is staying an artist as you grow older.” the same goes for academics. People have different talents and it would be an error to compare oneself to “smart person “. It’s important to know your strength and do your best because it is more beneficial.

  45. The knowledge I have acquired from reading Einstein’s foundational life, is indeed a transforming experience. He represents hope to those people who have low self-esteem about themselves. “Everyone is a genius”…… I share this believe.

  46. Beautiful post ma. I believe that everyone has been gifted with different abilities which is why a person could be good in one area and terrible in another. This is why we need each other to thrive. We are all special in our own different, unique ways. There’s no need comparing ourselves to others.

  47. I’ve always wanted to comment on this post but whenever I try, the comment box is closed.
    I once judged people because they are not good in a few things that I feel an average person should be good at. But the fact remains that there are varieties of fishes in the sea, different colors, shapes and sizes, preys and predators, all are not the same. Especially in academics, the fact that you’re good in math and I can only brag of literature doesn’t make me a dunce. We have different talents, different goals and different grace or opportunity to achieve them.

  48. “Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. This particular statement really caught my attention. We all have our own God given ability and if we keep forcing ourselves to be some other persons, we will live the whole of our achieving nothing. No matter how little you think that your talent is, if it is been harnessed, it can break records for you.

  49. Its better to grow that which you do best than to struggle with something you do less. Thank you ma this is really a food for thought.

  50. We all have a purpose to accomplish, is lack of not finding the purpose we are born to accomplish makes people confused and finally frustrated….The best thing is, God can reveal to you your calling at any time,is never too late… Nice poam Aunty Edith.

  51. I will first of all start by saying Nigerian children suffer comparison a whole lot. Nobody has the same capacity as the other. Everyone has his /her own weaknesses and strength. So we should not let anyone push us into thinking that we are not good enough. As Albert said “every one is a genius ” in their own unique way.

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