“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”

Arthur Conan Doyle may not ring a bell for a lot of people, but I think most of us are quite familiar with the character of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle is the author of the entire Sherlock Holmes series, so it’s fair to say that he knows a thing or two about what is “elementary, my dear Watson.”

The quote above comes from Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear, a book that was originally published nearly one century ago. Even outside of the context of an investigative mystery, the quote holds a lot of weight in the real world.

Ironic as it may sound, most “mediocre” people seem to have trouble gaining a perspective outside of their own mediocre little worlds. They can oftentimes fail to recognize the superiority that others may have over them, refusing to believe that they are second best. They can oftentimes feel like they are better than everyone else and this very clearly is not the truth.

Instead, people with some talent can better recognize genius in other forms. It’s not that they yearn to be someone else, per se, but they can see when they are in the company of those with superior skills or talents. Ironically, it is when you have the opportunity to better yourself that you really start to see how much you have to go.

This is the same concept that explains why ignorance is bliss; the more knowledge that you acquire, the more you realize how much more you have yet to learn. The more talented you become, the more you realize that you are not talented at all.

If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you might want to pick up The Complete Sherlock Holmes. There’s a lot of wisdom to be gained there, but only if you’re willing to recognize his genius. 🙂