“Geniuses are made, not born.”, is an oft repeated phrase that has a ring of truth in it. Did anybody notice in history that when Einstein was a baby he can already compute complex mathematical problems or Da Vinci when he was also a baby he can already compose a painting rich in contextual meanings? Most likely not, although the above examples are taking the argument to its absolute absurdity it nonetheless highlights that nobody is born that really good at the start. Not even Einstein or Da Vinci for that matter.
Hard Work is the Key
So how does a person become a genius? The answer…through hard work! Yes, we also need to sweat it out just like losing those unwanted body fats or reviewing for a very important exam. Although, from time to time there exists in our midst so-called child prodigies but their peak performance or peak excellence can only be achieved through continuous practice and lots more of practice.
Take for example the former chess whiz kid, GM Magnus Carlsen who at one time drew his game with none other than GM Gary Kasparov when Magnus was just 14 years old back in 2004. That was already an accomplishment considering Kasparov at that time was the strongest chess player that ever lived. And Magnus, well he was just a kid at that time who is slowly gaining ground as an established chess player. Today, Magnus surpassed Kasparov and is considered as the highest ever rated chess player, with a peak ELO rating of 2878.9 achieved in March 2013 (“Live Chess Ratings”, 2013). And of course he did this feat through lots of practice and playing chess for hours everyday.
Improving on the Way We Do is a Form of Genius
The same work ethic is expected from each one of us if ever we aspire to be the best at what we do. Whether we are a musician, a college student, an office worker, or a teacher we need to devote time and effort in order to improve the way we do things. We need not feel discouraged because we are not born geniuses. There is no problem with that as most of us are not born geniuses either.
The least that we need to do is to rest on our laurels and rely on our past accomplishments. This may temporarily work to give us pride and confidence but it does little to help us achieve more or do more. Remember, we are only good as our last performance is. Tomorrow is another day of new challenges and new circumstances. And what better way to prepare for it is to keep improving our skills and developing the skills where we are weak at.
To become a genius is not the be all and end all of things. Everybody has that potential. More importantly, we need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and pair these with the opportunities and threats in our environment. We need to work our way up into becoming the best at what we do.
So How Do We Become a Genius?
- Know Where You Are. Determine your personal strengths and weaknesses and cross-check these with the opportunities and threats in your lives. This may take a while but this will help you going in knowing yourself and your true potentials.
- Plan. Make a plan and a strategy based on your findings. Learning where you are now and determining where you want to go is a step in the right direction. For example, you are an accomplished accountant but has difficulty composing a business letter. Your inability to write correspondences may affect your profession so a short course on letter writing or writing in general may do you good in the long term. Taking on-line courses for this training may also do the trick.
- Continuous Learning. Continue developing the areas where you are good at. For example, if you think you can still improve as an actor, then take acting classes on the side and imbibe those extra tips and lessons.
- Be Positive. Don’t take criticisms personally. There may come a time when people judge you or comment on the way you work but don’t let this ruin your day. Instead, take note of what they are saying and probably there’s a small truth in those criticisms. Learn from your mistakes, correct them and move on.
- Keep Yourself Healthy. A genius can do many things at the same time and you can only do these if you are healthy and in tip-top shape. You need to eat the right foods, avoid stress, take enough sleep everyday and exercise regularly.
Live Chess Ratings (2013), 2700chess.com, Retrieved September 24, 2013 from: http://www.2700chess.com/