Become a Genius
How does one become more creative, and even, perhaps, gain
genius status? The former is possible for anyone, but the latter
requires a decent intellect to start with, because although genius
is not defined by intellect alone, some minimum amount of brainpower
is necessary. On the other hand, if you have only average or
even below-average intelligence, you can still use the following
suggestions to become much more creative.
But first, lets look at what the word genius means. Among
the many definitions that can be found in various dictionaries,
some do refer to a genius as "A person who has an exceptionally
high intelligence quotient, typically above 140." It is
common to try to put a number on everything, but who could really
say that a man with an IQ of 141 is intellectually distinct from
one who scores only 139 on this over-used scale?
Many other definitions do not refer to IQ score at all. For
our purposes we'll skip over the non-relevant and more obscure
definitions such as "A jinni in Muslim mythology,"
and "A tutelary deity or guardian spirit of a person or
place in Roman mythology." These more relevant definitions
of "genius" can be found in many dictionaries
1. Extraordinary intellectual and creative power.
2. A person of extraordinary intellect and talent.
3. A strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination.
It is generally agreed that genius is not a matter of intellect
alone. A smart man or woman can choose to do nothing with his
or her brainpower after all, or to do only computer-like tasks
that might demonstrate a powerful but uncreative mind. To become
a genius, a person must manifest that intellect in the form of
some particular talents and/or creative applications. In fact,
the quality of genius is generally associated with the achievement
of new and preferably profound insights.
To make this point with a simple example, Einstein, even with
his intelligence, would not have been considered a genius if
he chose to read comic books all of his life instead of doing
the work he did. He had to practice using that brain and apply
its power to doing something productive. Thus, although some
level of intellectual capacity is required, genius is also developed.
I'm not going to bother to speculate on how much raw brainpower
or how high an IQ score a person needs to become a genius. It
isn't terribly relevant to the purpose of this article, which
is point out some ways to get as far in the right direction as
you can get. All the things you can do to improve your thinking
skills and to achieve profound insights are useful at whatever
level you are at, whether or not the result entitles you to the
title of genius.
What are the things you can do to develop whatever potential
genius is within you? Here are four steps that will help you
become a genius, or at least help you become more powerful in
1. Encourage an insatiable curiosity.
Whether we look at the life Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci,
Stephen Hawking, one thing is clear: They all had or have an
unending curiosity. You do not stumble upon many unprecedented
insights if you get bored after a few minutes of investigating
something. Curiosity drives us to explore deeply the world around
us. Allow yourself to wonder about things. Make questioning of
everything a habit, by consciously doing it until it is automatic.
2. Open your mind to changes.
It may be convenient to label and categorize everything, and
it is comforting to some to have answers and beliefs that go
unchallenged, but this is not the path of genius. Open your mind
and embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity of life and of the
world. Yes, we must assume certain truths, but we can be ready
to drop them as better ones come along - and then perhaps drop
those in time. Challenge your own thinking. Stephen Hawking proved
that information was lost when something enters a black hole,
and then, decades longer, proved he was wrong. The second insight
would not have been possible to a man who clings to certainty
and close his mind to new and conflicting ideas.
In part, playing is a way to encourage your curiosity. But
it has other benefits as well. When you play around with ideas
or even play around with models or inventions, you test your
thinking against reality. And just as a kitten learns hunting
skills by playing, you develop and exercise your thinking skills
by exposing them to real-life tests and situations. Playfulness
also encourages the combining of various mental abilities and
skills and ideas.
Play and humor are also useful for "loosening up"
your thinking. If you are too uptight, you tend to be less open
to new ideas. For example, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard
Feynman was known for being playful and having a great sense
of humor. He also played bongo, was a practical joker, deciphered
hieroglyphs, picked locks, and was generally regarded as an eccentric
and a free spirit. His playful approach to his many pursuits
probably made him much more open to "crazy" thoughts
that gave new insight.
4. Learn specific techniques for creative thinking.
Just as some people are born with more intellectual ability,
some are probably born with a brain that has more creative tendencies.
But anyone can learn specific techniques for generating new ideas,
creatively solving problems, digging deeper into the nature of
things and having more insight. The Site
Map for this website has dozens of pages detailing these
creativity practices and techniques. You can also find many in
this Kindle book:
(Also available on Barnes and Noble Nook.)
To become a genius, or at least to become more creatively
and intellectually powerful than you already are, you have to
make the suggestions above into habits. Let your curiosity be
an everyday thing, open your mind to new ideas continually, play
daily (both mentally and physically), and practice special thinking
techniques until they are an unconscious part of your mental