By Helena Smith
Superhuman – a funny phrase that has recently taken on a new meaning for me.
Being in a room full of utterly brilliantly people each day, students and mentors, it gets hard not to believe that you’re up against superhumans. And by the nature of the school, your work is obviously constantly getting compared to theirs’s and the book scores can be a bit of tough to swallow. But once your skin has thickened after the first few, the blow of getting low marks has less of an impact.
On the one hand, this is good. You must be prepared to take the criticism that can turn what you wholeheartedly believed was a solid idea turn to dust in an instance. (Never have I had so many times of feeling like a genius and an idiot within the same minute).
But what I find happening in this process is that you not only lose your softer skin but the fire inside you which lets you believe you can change the world, to be a real superhuman gets dampened. When briefs are presented you can almost predict the teams with the superhuman esc ideas. And, because you’re used to having ideas that don’t ‘score’ as highly you get complacent with pushing ideas. Maybe the superhuman ideas are just them, not really you – your personality isn’t quite as big as theirs, so the ripples you make are smaller. And you then end up struggling to find anything super about yourself at all.
However, tonight I went to She Knows Someone by She Says and something was said that allowed me to take this new perspective on being superhuman. I have been told in the past, on numerous occasions that ‘I’m nice’ or worse, “too nice”. I always struggled to see why that one, that was a comment worth making and two how it could be a problem. But I again always boiled it down to not being punchy enough, or opinionated enough when standing in a room full of huge characters with great thoughts. I mean, I like nice people, I connect with nice people and I like to think because I do, I get to a level of understanding that’s more personal than some others care to give time for.
According to Vicki Maguire on the matter this evening, I need to learn the power of the eyebrow raise if I’m ever faced with comments like this again. Without being nice, you can’t reach the level of empathy crucial to succeeding in communicating with people. So, though my presence might not be as bold as others and my voice not as loud I can stay quietly confident that there is power in being very human, in being super human.