The Creativity Post | How Geniuses Think
Geniuses form more novel combinations than talented people.
They continually combine and recombine ideas, images, and thoughts into different combinations.
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Genius is not about having an extraordinarily high IQ, or even about being smart. It is not about finishing Mensa exercises in record time or mastering fourteen languages at the age of seven.
Geniuses think productively, not reproductively. They ask "How many different ways can I look at it?" not "What have I been taught by someone else on how to solve this?"
Leonardo da Vinci believed you begin by learning how to restructure the problem by looking at it from many different angles.
In order to creatively solve a problem, the thinker should not use the usual approach that is based on past experience. Geniuses use several different perspectives to solve an existing problem and thereby also identify new ones.
_Galileo Galilei revolutionized science by making his idea visible with diagrams, maps, and drawings. Einstein believed that words and numbers as they are spoken did not play a significant role in his thinking process.
Geniuses seem to develop a skill to display information in visual and spatial forms, rather than only mathematical or verbal lines.
One characteristic that stands out in geniuses is immense productivity. Thomas Edison held 1,903 patents. Bach wrote a cantata every week, regardless of sickness. Mozart produced over 600 pieces of music. Einstein published 249 papers.
Out of the vast quantity of work came quality.
Geniuses force relationships that enable them to see things to which others are blind.
Leonardo da Vinci forced the relationship between the sound of a bell and a stone hitting water, to make the connection that sound travels in waves.
Geniuses can tolerate contradictory ideas, between opposites or two incompatible subjects.
Mixing opposites creates the conditions to discover a new relationship or a new point of view.
Whenever we attempt to do something and fail, we end up doing something else.
Instead of asking why we failed to do what we intended, the creative accident asks 'what have we done?' This produces a creative insight of the highest order.
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It means producing something novel or original, evaluating, solving problems, whether on paper, on stage, in a laboratory or even in the shower.
Geniuses know “how” to think, instead of “what” to think.
People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don’t typically work together.
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We are just not so aware of it, because much of the creative exchange happens quietly to the side, and does not become part of our modern history.
There is the case of Emily Dickinson. But looking closer, it becomes clear that she was immensely interested in people and wrote hundreds of poems for particular people, and sending them to them.
The big idea is that genius partnerships are stories of dialogue. As Warren Buffett said about Charlie Munger: "Charlie does the talking, I just move my lips."
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