Well, I honestly don’t know about it. Because now I wouldn’t give a damn.
As a kid, I remember, finding every pole I could and dangling on it hoping I would grow to be 6 ft tall. Eventually, my arms have perhaps become slacker, but I didn’t grow an inch.
I also remember putting a lot of emphasis on looking handsome, and to draw people’s attention with my smart-ass jokes. Oopsy, none of them worked.
The same goes with the so-called “IQ” and the ridiculous hype around it.
For me, winners are those who win by choice. And not by chance.
Those who slog out the late-nights over their dreams, and not those who rip open their shirts to show off their gifted bodies.
Genius is not trying to measure your IQ by stupid little internet tests, but by building something incredible, that millions of people love to use and feel enriched by.
Now, stop watching those telemarketing crap and focus on how you can be different with or without talent. The world’s got enough talent already, show us some attitude.
Does the title sound like a contradiction to you?
Not to Einstein though. He once said, “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”
He was a master of making seemingly complex things look simple. Hell yeah, he brought down the secret of universe into one simple equation, changing the history of science forever.
But it took decades of insight and analysis before he got here. It took numerous walks on the German streets and hitting poles while thinking about it. It took incalculable number of hours groking on his desk being a small time patent-clerk.
Einstein wasn’t famous before he was famous. But he was a fighter. Long time ago.
While most scientists of his era were busy making things complex, he somehow knew there has to be some simple answer behind this.
And voila, he discovered it. The point is If you can’t make something easy, atleast make it simple.
Let’s face it. There are some prodigies in this world. A few people who always get it right. A few people who are geniuses since birth. A people with standard qualifications to do something.
Chances are you are NOT one of them. But how does it matter?
The fun is in being unqualified. The thrill is in being unexpected for a certain role. Embrace that. Be aware of your background, but don’t beware the new endeavour or passion you wanna follow.
A qualification may just justify to the world about what you are doing. But the real passion will justify your soul. And that to me, is more important than anything.
History is full of such incredible examples. Of people who weren’t supposed to do things that they did but eventually who changed the course of the world.
Remember, Orville Wright didn’t have a pilot licence. He just invented the damn aeroplane himself.
Seth Godin is the best at being Seth Godin. I mean remarkable.
I can’t help but write about his recent insight that perhaps might have gone unnoticed. But, he nailed it.
Simply put, the thread goes this way,
You make a Choice
over the course of time,
It becomes a Habit
over the course of time,
It becomes your talent
over the course of time,
People will call it a gift.
They’ll start saying “Whoa! What a holy man? What a genius? What an incredible intelligence? He’s gifted. A visionary. A legend.” And what not.
Choice—> Habit—> Talent—> Gift.
What do you want to gift yourself? It begins with a choice that you make today.
How many CEOs would actually say that?
In this ultra-connected world of economy, media and business, consumers are machine-gunned with tons of advertising and marketing.
So, quite obviously, you have to stand out.
But what is the antidote to clutter?
Most people and companies I know think, the answer is “awesome clutter”.
Like the superbowl ads, the world cup cricket ads, the stunningly sexy celebrity ads, the slapstick humour ads. No matter how awesome they look, they are clutter.
The one’s that really stick in people’s mind for a long long time are the ones which are utterly simple.
They reflect “ONE” value the company stands for. That is marketing.
For Apple it is being extremely elegant and easy to use.
See how Steve Jobs explains his understanding of marketing.
1) Because it’s scented and fragrant.
2) Because it lights up not just the room, but the mood too.
3) Because it is cheaper than most bulbs.
4) Because it doesn’t require electricity.
And on and on.
Dr.Bob Isherwood, the genius that he is, asked us the same question in his class dividing us into teams of 2. We were about 5 teams and we got about 15 reasons each why a candle is better than a light bulb.
He then asked each of us, representing the team, to walk onto the dais and write down all the reasons side-by-side on the board. When all the 5 teams did so, the board was full.
He remarked, ” You just gave me 75 reasons why a candle is better than a bulb. Outstanding job. Now, can anyone come on the stage and sell me a light bulb? “
We were dumb-struck. Just like you!
He wanted to demonstrate how hard life becomes when you are selling something. There are people out there, WAITING just to find a reason to object your idea. Like how we ourselves figured out 75 objections possible for a light bulb.
There’s always a good reason to reject a great idea.
Nail it down before someone else does.
During the second half of 19th century, Europe saw more rebels than ever.
Particularly in art.
Starting with Claude Monet, Paul Cezzane, Paul Gauguin and ofcourse Vincent Van Gogh! They were extra-ordinary in every sense.
They revolutionized the already revolutionized art era of the time. Impressionism.
That’s the stark contrast between geniuses and others. They wait for none. They don’t ask anyone’s permission to change the world.
Only they are crazy enough to believe that they can change it.
When everyone were running around to find their muses in surreal things, Paul Cezzane said, to himself,
“With just an apple, I will astonish Paris. “
and he did.
Most people hate it. “To sweat the small stuff.”
People want to become overnight sensations by doing JUST ONE BIG remarkable thing. But trust me, there is no ONE BIG THING that can do you that favor.
You have to get to your art, whatever that is, and nail the small stuff well.
A 100% is a hundred 1%s put brilliantly together. Learn to be patient. Not everyone gets the chance to do what they want to do. So, don’t squander it.
Like I wrote here, genius is perseverance.
Most people fret only about the fabric. You fret about every fragment in it.
Love your art. Every detail of it.
Bob Isherwood, an extra-ordinary creative genius in advertising told me when I met him,
“The world is what it is NOT because of talented people. Because most people who are naturally talented tend to take it for granted. They disrespect it as it comes easy to them and thus they come late to an opportunity. And a little more late. And eventually they don’t even turn up.”
How true a thought that is.
The world is what it is because of the movers and shakers. They stumble, they fall, they make mistakes, they learn, and one day suddenly they are way ahead than the naturally talented folks.
People who initially struggled a lot know what it takes to get something that you never had.
It’s a whole lot sweeter than honey. That’s what some of the finest athletes believed in. SWEAT.
‘Coz remember no-matter how hard you psyche yourself into believing it, there is NO goddamn shortcut to success. Even if it appears to be one, it will soon relinquish and vanish.
I once wrote what it actually means to be a genius, eternal patience.
Sorry for downplaying the statement in the title. The actual truth is:
Perseverance > > > > > > > > Talent
Curiosity. What a gift it is!
But alas, most of us have lost it along with our wisdom teeth, as we grew up.
Schooling and Society together stripped off this most intriguing quality from us.The quality of questioning, the quality of raising our voice, the quality of disregarding the norm, the quality of breaking the standards.
The quality of saying, why? More importantly, the quality of saying, why not?
Curiosity is the elixir to keeps your dreams alive. Yet it’s becoming increasingly scarce now.
Let the adult in you not come in your way of trying something new. Poke the box. Probe what’s in and what’s not.
That’s the only way you can keep your competition at bay.
Because some people are born curious.Some are made curious.But only some stay curious forever. The third category is how exactly the mind of a genius works.
Like the mind of a child.