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What Makes a Genius?

Motivation and tenacity

Motivation and tenacity

Natural gifts and a nurturing environment can still fail to produce a genius, without motivation and determination to press one forward.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth believes that a combination of passion and perseverance, or grit, drives people to achieve. Big hits emerge after many attempts. Regardless of how brilliant a person is, endurance and discipline are critical to success.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What Makes a Genius?

What Makes a Genius?

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/05/genius-genetics-intelligence-neuroscience-creativity-einstein/

nationalgeographic.com

8

Key Ideas

The genius

Genius is too elusive and too subjective to be easily identified. It requires too many traits to be simplified.

However, we can try to understand it by looking at intelligence, creativity, perseverance, and good fortune that interlinks to create a genius capable of changing the world.

Intelligence as a yardstick

Lewis Terman, who helped pioneer the IQ test, tracked over 1,500 Californian schoolkids with IQs above 140, which is the near-genius or genius mark.

40 after the study began, the researchers noted that a number of the study's participants struggled to thrive, despite their high IQ scores. Others tested for the study that did not have a high enough IQ, grew up to become renowned in their fields.

Creativity and genius

Creativity is a part of genius that can't really be measured, but that can be explained to a certain extent. One sign of creativity is being able to make connections between seemingly different concepts.

The 'aha moment' that arises at unexpected times, like in a dream or the shower, often emerges after a period of contemplation. Information comes in consciously, but the problem is managed subconsciously, resulting in a solution when the mind least expects it.

The creative process

It relies on the dynamic interplay of neural networks that work together.

It draws from both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, especially regions in the prefrontal cortex.

Genetics and genius

Geniuses are rare, numbering roughly one in a million. Genetic potential alone does not predict actual accomplishments.

Advances in genetic research now make it possible to examine human traits. But Intelligence is very complex, and thousands of genes may be involved - each one with a slight effect.

The need for a nurturing environment

Social and cultural influences can provide that nourishment, creating a cluster of genius at moments and places in history, like Kolkata during the Bengal Renaissance, or Silicon Valley today.

The hungry mind can also find the intellectual stimulation it needs at home, where an environment can be created in which to flourish.

Motivation and tenacity

Natural gifts and a nurturing environment can still fail to produce a genius, without motivation and determination to press one forward.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth believes that a combination of passion and perseverance, or grit, drives people to achieve. Big hits emerge after many attempts. Regardless of how brilliant a person is, endurance and discipline are critical to success.

Genius needs support

Genius cannot be singled out and cultured and nurtured without support.

  • People born in poverty or oppression don't get a chance at working toward anything other than to survive.
  • Mozart’s older sister for example, Maria Anna, a brilliant harpsichordist, had her career cut short by her father when she reached the marriageable age of 18.

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Creativity is complex

It means producing something novel or original, evaluating, solving problems, whether on paper, on stage, in a laboratory or even in the shower.

Knowing how to think

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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Early History

The connection between genius and possible insanity was first documented in 1891 in the Italian physicians’ book The Man Of Genius.

In 1869, this was taken up by the cousin of Charles Darwi...

Genius and Heredity

In a 1904 study by English physician Havelock Ellis, a list was made of 1030 individuals through extensive research, examining thoroughly the intellectual distinction people had by the various factors like heredity, general health, and social class.


These works established that genius minds are often hereditary.

Genetic Studies Of Genius

A body of work of Stanford psychologist Lewis M. Terman, was an in-depth multi-decade study of gifted individuals, and an attempt to improve the measurement of genius and its association with the degradation of mental stability. This also included an enhanced version of the French IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test.

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The meaning of Genius

The true meaning of the word 'Genius' has been lost in translation in history.

Nowadays it is referred and related to 'achievement', which was not the original meaning. Real genius...

Genius And Genetics

It is a myth that genius parents have genius offspring.

There is no genius gene and genetics can be part of the mix, along with attitude, commitment, and a certain mind-set.

Genius And High IQ
Being a Genius does not equate a high intelligence quotient. Real, creative genius is less about intelligence and more about having an elevated vision.
Genius does not require encyclopedic knowledge or an impressive degree.

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The lone genius is a myth

All great achievements involve some measure of collaboration.

Some geniuses were obvious partners - like Orville and Wilbur Wright, or Marie and Pierre Curie, or John ...

Creativity and collaboration
The interaction between people is indeed the fundamental engine of the creative process.

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.

Remarkable creativity from one person

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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The right side of the brain
The right side of the brain

Creativity isn’t the preserve of one side of the brain, and it isn’t a talent confined to people with a special kind of brain. If you’re human and you’ve got a brain, you’re capabl...

The “Eureka!” moment

This myth encourages the belief that creativity is a passive process. It suggests you have to wait and hope that you’ll make a breakthrough.

That Eureka moment is actually the last step in a long, involved process and not the only step. For this to happen, your unconscious mind needs material to work with. You have to put in the hard work of studying and mastering your field and exposing yourself to different perspectives.

The lone, eccentric geniuses

In reality, creativity is a team sport.

The lone genius myth is a stereotype and it’s unhelpful because it suggests the route to innovation is to cut oneself off from colleagues and collaboration. You need a modest amount of intelligence to be creative, but extremely high IQ is neither sufficient nor necessary for being an innovator.

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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The real master has no tools

He/She has a endless power to improvise with what is to hand.

The more fields of knowledge he/she covers, the greater his/her resources for improvisation.

Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville

"Nothing tends to materialise man, and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind, more than extreme division of labour."

Invention fights specialization

To come up with new ideas, you need to know things outside your field.

The further afield your knowledge extends, the greater potential you have for innovation.

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