Geniuses, we have seen them, sometimes have heard of them, these are the people who are outliers, they redefine the rules of whatever we think is possible and sometimes make such a paradigm shift in the functioning of the world. Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Newton; these are the people who have shaped the world we live in today, not only by their innovation and discoveries but also by the extent of impact they have had on the society by large.
Legendary figures be it Michael Angelo or Steve Jobs didn’t stop with ONE marvelous thing they did for the world. Circumstances change, situations change, you can lose everything you build (like Steve did) but if you are ready for anything you will create something better than what you did before.
For an individual to Launch a Legacy, there are several things that have to come together. Several capabilities and life experiences. One in a Million gets lucky and encounters the right mentors, the right opportunities, the right attitude to make the most of those experiences at a very young age. Most geniuses start their unparalleled contribution in their early twenties or even earlier. And then they are flooded with abundance of time, money and most importantly people from various leagues in their life. And over a period, they complete their rarity. They find the areas they need to get better at, they also find the people they need in their business and life, develop critical capabilities they don’t have yet and such a person in a decade would have evolved much more than what most people do in their life time in several aspects.
The world likes us to believe that geniuses are half crazy people, who are extremely good at ONE thing and complete losers at everything else? In fact, it propagates the fatal lie that – you are either a jack of all trades or a master of one. And come to think about – it is such a misleading belief or view of the world considering that geniuses around us and from history, seem to be masters of many trades!
The question that has driven me to do what I do has always been, what makes someone special? What makes an artist so extraordinary? And I have had the privilege of helping geniuses across industries to solve challenges, evolve further and get to the next level. Today, I want to share with you what I have learned about geniuses from this experience.
1. Geniuses are PEOPLE person
Unlike the pictures that popular movies and stories plant in our mind, geniuses understand human behaviour. They may choose not to be very social with certain set of people. But they do have a very precise and less assumptive map of what drives human behaviour and can discern more from a conversation than what is said. Think about what must be true for Einstein to teach a little girl basic maths and then to make the comment that he learned more from her than she did from him. Mark Zuckerberg knew that ‘exclusivity’ is a key driver for virality much before it was mentioned in the book “Psychology of Influence”. Steve Jobs knew how to get people to do more than what they generally perform.
2. Geniuses are multi-specialists
People often confuse specialists to be geniuses. A specialist is someone who is focused on one specific area with a specific field of study. And this allows the specialist to be extremely good at it, simply given the effort, focus, dedication and exposure that is available to the specialist. So, while the specialists could be fascinating at how they do what they do, a genius is actually multi-specialist. Newton was not only a top physicist, he was also a top sculputurist. Einstein played the Violin when teaching physics. Steve Jobs was not just good at business, he was exceptional at art, specifically – typography. In fact, he is the reason why the fonts on any computer look as beautiful as they do. The most counterintuitive thing about geniuses is that geniuses are not super experts in spite of learning such diverse things, they are super experts because they choose to learn so many diverse things.
3. Geniuses are SOCIETY conscious
Be it Steve Jobs, Einstein or Thomas Edison, the work that they have done is not limited to innovations. They have significantly found ways to make their discoveries and innovations have an impact on the society. Einstein’s quotes are not only used in the physics labs but are also used by entrepreneurs, philosophers and artists. They have a sense of purpose and that extends beyond themselves. Thomas Edison not only founded GE, he is also the key contributor to IEEE, the global regulatory body for anything to do with communication, electrical and electronic equipment.
4. Geniuses LEARN from geniuses
While most people are busy relating anything new to what they already know, geniuses look and search for differences. They know that the way you learn maths is different from the way you learn music, just like learning to cut vegetables is different from learning to do a surgery. Geniuses have a unique talent of learning to learn. And even when they are learning the basics, they learn from geniuses. This allows them to unconsciously assimilate more than what they consciously know they are learning.
5. Geniuses are POWERFUL communicators
These people who are ahead of their time not only have the burden of being responsible but they also have to make people see what they don’t see. They face the challenge of taking something very complex and making it easy to explain. Like the theory of relativity in Einstein’s words goes something like this: “A minute feels like an hour when you sit near a hot rod and an hour feels like a minute when you are talking to an attractive girl”. Making people understand and reason is one thing, but to get people to TAKE action is another. Be it Franklin Roosevelt, Alexander Fleming, Mahatma Gandhi or any of the game changers including Einstein, they had to get people in power to take action, they had to get people to support them, be with them and perform with their heart and soul.
6. Geniuses ENJOY life
Some of the geniuses I have personally consulted and coached include national award winners, business tycoons who made billion-dollar business from almost nothing as well as celebrities from the entertainment industry, and what is definitely common among all of them is they see, hear, feel, taste and enjoy more of each moment of life than most individuals do in a lifetime. They just know how to empty their mind, shift their emotions and use their senses to make the most of each moment and LIVE life fully at any age. My mentor, Dr. John Grinder who is the creator of the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming, at an age over 70 still enjoys rock climbing, drinking wine, enjoying music, riding horses and playing with his grandchildren. The poems of Einstein, the art of the mathematician Mandelbrot, the designs of Newton and the elegance of Steve Jobs are all just reflections of how they FEEL on the inside as they live their life.