All of us can be geniuses. I know it’s a big statement to make. But each one of us are carrying inside of us the potential for genius. The difference comes when we CHOOSE to activate this & we KNOW how to activate this.

For far too long the word genius has been held up like a badge of the elite, a beacon shining bright for the chosen few, and used to seperate those who think too highly of themselves from those who feel like they have no right identifiying themselves with that world, “Genius”. It has a bit of a stigma to it.

But there is slowly coming to the surface research and books that highlight and champion the potential of the average human to achieve great things. Books like “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle, or “Talent is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin, all point to high levels of skill and mastery not being gifted to you, but grown over persistant and deliberate times of practice and progress. The genius isn’t the smartest man in every area. True genius is found when someone becomes a master of a particular area. You may have an incredible mathematical brain, but fail to complete simple annagram puzzles. Geniues don’t become gurus of life. If anything their narrow-minded pursuit of their area of genius means a decreased functioning of other areas.

You need the right movitation.
Many people go about mastery the wrong way. Our concept of genius is either too lofty and therefore not attainable. This is simply because what you can’t see, either tangibly or in your mind’s eye, you can’t attain.You must see it, and believe it to attain it. Or we simply try, don’t see results and give up. Let me be very clear. Genius will not spring up overnight. Acheiveing mastery is hard work. Ridiculously hard work. But you need to believe that it is possible. You’re passion for always wanting to grow must be stronger than your comfortablitiy to live an average, un-engaged life,where you never reach your full potential.

In addition to people’s intentional or unintentional appathy towards personal growth, another reason why people never reach mastery is that they are going about it all the wrong way.

You’ve heard the phrase, particulary in gyms, “You have to work smart”. Or, “I’d rather work smart, than work hard”.

That motivation needs to be attached to smart work.
I propose that it is both. You need the motivation to work hard. But you also need to work in a manner that gives you maximum return on your investment, maximun engagement and maximum growth in your skills.

This is what working smart can look like:

Pianists/Keyboardists, I’m betting that most of us who grew up having lessons may have experienced this. You start to play a piece and play through the first few bars without any issues. But you play further on and you run into a patch that you aren’t as confident with, and you begin to make mistakes. Your timing suffers, but you just hold on and get through the piece.

Now the smart teachers here will stop the pupil and focus on the bars that weren’t correct. They may get the pupil to slow down. They may get them to play it one hand at a time. This is good. This is an example of working smart. Rather than just blundering though the piece and hoping that by sheer number of times you attack it, it will get better, you are taking a critical analysis of what went wrong and how to fix it. This “sheer number of times attack” is actually quite common in a lot of areas of employment. It’s amazing the amount of corporate skills that aren’t critically analyised so as to improve performance, with many workers (and managers) just believing that it’s bound to get better over time. And it will, but at a much slower speed, and also a potentially a greater cost to safety and productivity.

But let me touch on what I believe is a greater method to mastering that piano piece. Rather than just slowing down and seperating the hand, I believe we can take this one step further. This is where the more fully-engaged teachers will shine. They will not just see the mistakes, but the reasons for the mistakes. Maybe the problem will be that the student is struggling with the arpeggios in that section. Or the polyrhythmic nature of the section. Here the truly smart teachers wouldn’t just teach the notes that are on the sheet music, they would find excerises that will increase that skill set. So for example, the use of clapping games to help the student get used to polyrhythms.

Research shows that people engaged in this type of method of skill aquisition are remarkably quicker at mastering things than their “sheer number of times” counterparts. And much more likely to retain this skill, as they aren’t “parroting” what’s there on the sheet music, but have aquired a brand new skill.

So quickly,

You can be a genius.
You have to believe you can be a genius.
That belief will help you work hard to be a genius.
That hard work should take the form of critical analysis, to not just repeat an action, but to acquire a brand new skill. This is working smart.

You can do it. I believe in you.


2 Commentsto You Can Be A GENIUS

  1. Leo says:

    I like this a lot!

    Especially the part about “CHOOSING to activate this potential & KNOWING how to activate it”.

    With what you say about practicing, I’d be very interested to find out more what that could look like practically. Are those books good for that?

    Thanks for a great article! Glad that, even though I’m not in college anymore, I can still benefit from your ‘genius’ outbursts. #blessed

    • David says:

      Yeah. Those books are incredible. I’d highly recommend them!! It gets really practical and specific. Colvin’s book even covers the “myth” of Mozart. DA

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