Want to know how to be a genius? There are five things you can learn from looking at those who are the very best.
1) Be curious and driven
For his book Creativity, noted professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi did interviews with 91 groundbreaking individuals across a number of disciplines, including 14 Nobel Prize winners. In 50 Psychology Classics Tom Butler-Bowdon summed up many of Csikszentmihalyi's findings including this one:
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2) It's not about formal education. It's about hours at your craft.
Do you need a sky-high IQ? Do great geniuses all have PhD's? Nope. Most had about a college-dropout level of education.
But they all work their asses off in their field of expertise. That's how to be a genius.
In fact, you really can't work too much.
3) Test your ideas
Howard Gardner studied geniuses like Picasso, Freud, and Stravinsky and found a similar pattern of analyzing, testing, and feedback used by all of them:
Does testing sound like something scientific and uncreative? Wrong. The more creative an artist is the more likely they are to use this method:
4) You Must Sacrifice
10,000 hours is a hell of a lot of hours. It means many other things (some important) will need to be ignored.
In fact, geniuses are notably less likely to be popular in high school. Why?
At the extremes, the amount of practice and devotion required can pass into the realm of the pathological. If hours alone determine genius then it is inevitable that reaching the greatest heights will require, quite literally, obsession.
5) Work because of passion, not money
Passion produces better art than desire for financial gain — and that leads to more success in the long run.
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