What is a genius and what does it take to become one in your professional and/or personal life? Let’s toss out the notion that this is about IQ. Thomas Edison famously wrote “Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” Simone de Beauvoir wrote “One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius.” Genius is related to the Latin verb gigno, genui, genitus, “to bring into being, create, produce.” It is something we all can attain – through intellect, creativity, originality or mastery – and is not solely the provenance of Einstein.
In fact, Einstein was the first to say so! In Ten Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn from Albert Einstein we are treated to some simple truths about what it takes to lead a valued and valuable life. I’ve chosen to highlight my top five pathways to living your dream:
- Follow Your Curiosity
I know they say it killed the cat, but… we’re not cats! Curiosity represents a drive to know new things. Without this drive, we molder. A corollary to pursuit of curiosity is willingness to make mistakes. When my son was little, among his favorite books were the “Magic School Bus” series. The mantra of the series was “take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” The pursuit of your curiosity – and taking chances — is one pathway to genius.
- Perseverance is Priceless
“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
A past boss of mine used to quote from the Apollo 13 movie: Failure is not an option. Some folks thought this was harsh, yet her meaning was clear to me – the turtle can beat the hare through sheer determination. It takes unshakable resolve to get where you’re trying to go. In gymnastics we know what separates ordinary from extraordinary is a landing that ‘sticks ’ To be genius at something, we must stick with it from start to finish.
- The Imagination is Powerful
“Imagine ” by John Lennon is a tribute to the power of dreamers. Old blue-eyed Frank Sinatra taught us anything is possible with imagination – even making a cloudy day sunny. Do you let your imagination run loose? Imagination is a muscle which requires daily exercise. It is a mechanism that inspires us to try new things. Einstein noted: Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Given free and frequent reign, imagination will lead to genius.
- Don’t Expect Different Results