Our Genius Life: Greg Bradshaw

Bradley Robertson


I recently started reading “The Genius Life of Birds” by Jennifer Ackerman. It is a remarkable book in which the author, a bird scientist, tells of the intuitive nature of birds today and how they have adapted and evolved over thousands of years. The author points out that their skill is not just instinct but also learned in the way they can think, plan and pass on their behaviors to others. This cognitive function has marked them as an animal of ‘genius’.

Learning about birds from all around the world has been fun and enlightening, but what I’m gathering from the book is the idea that we humans too have our very own capacity of genius. We are born a certain way into the world, but as we give and take bits and pieces of life, we morph into our own state of genius, learning to use who we are and what we know, to then create a better life for others.

A genius himself, Albert Einstein, who desired fantasy over popularity, said, “Try not to become a man of success, try to become a man of value.”

I attended the funeral of Greg Bradshaw last week. If you did not know Greg, he opened Mellow Mushroom in downtown Auburn in 1996, and ever since, he has had a noble and positive impact on the Auburn community. Greg was a huge supporter of the downtown lifestyle and beyond business, Greg sought the fun and joy in his community, creating a space where anyone was welcome, and you always wanted to return for more.

Greg was contagious. His spirt was jolly and I heard through many that he was the kind of guy who would literally hand you the shirt off his back. He was known as a generous man, giving away popsicles to the kids at Mellow and helping locals with work success that went far beyond just a weekly paycheck. He was kind, he was tough, he was well read and he was the real deal.

The way in which Greg delivered life to Auburn could only be done by him, and no one else will ever be able to match that. He took his own skill and thought, joy and wild dreams, and poured them out, creating a better life for others. Greg Bradshaw lived his own genius life.

Greg knew exactly who he was every day and he knew exactly what good he had to offer the world around him, and he did it. He leaned into his mind and heart, his talents and ideas and he offered it up as an act of service.

You see, we each have our very own inner genius. The question is, will we let it out to enhance our community or will we hold it in and keep it hidden? The magic and influence of what we have to offer rests in our own hands.

Greg chose to let his genius out, willingly and free, and he offered it to everyone. Greg brought out the best in others, and under our own flattery, Greg was simply bringing out the best in himself.

Greg left many sad hearts in Auburn last week, but the greatest thing he left behind was his willingness to make a difference in the lives of others.

We each have our own inner genius. We have remarkable and outstanding gifts, ideas, behaviors and thoughts to offer this world, but will we actually do it?

I think we should. I think what we all need right now is the very best of ourselves.

Our genius life is just around the corner. It’s inches and minutes away from possibility and the pursuit of happiness. Greg was proof that genius is not only in aptitude, rather it is our greatness we share, adding value to others and helping steer them through life.

Thank you Greg Bradshaw, for you have been an exceptional teacher for all of us.


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