August 7, 2018
Radio Head
August 30, 2018


Marc Chagall sketch detail, photo by Ivan Obolensky

Contrary to what many people think, genius isn’t necessarily about being born intelligent, although that is a factor. Real genius requires more.

According to Professor Michael Howe of Exeter University, the secret to being a genius has less to do with innate talent, but more to do with perseverance and persistence over a lifetime. Geniuses have one attribute that marks them as different. They have a particular, long-term, and passionate commitment to their work. They each strive to achieve goals, wrestle with obstacles, and enjoy the struggles along the way. Geniuses have extraordinary focus. Even the most talented and brilliant must put in at least ten years of concentrated study, no matter what the occupation, or field of endeavor. They work hard and are able to remain focused in spite of all invitations to act differently.

Surprisingly, they rarely operate alone. Genius doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires a team. Even one other member can make a difference to achieving success.

If there are fewer geniuses today, it isn’t necessarily because humanity has grown more stupid. If anything, it is because humanity has become more distracted and mesmerized by the swirling flows of information that surround each and every one of us.

If we can concentrate and commit to our work, we will have laid the groundwork for genius. That is the hard truth in all its stark, uncompromising simplicity.


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