The Hidden Habits of Genius—By a Yale professor


Craig Wright is a music professor at Yale University. Despite a good work ethic and crossing 15000 hours of practice, his piano career didn’t take off as he expected and didn’t end up becoming a genius. He couldn’t become a Mozart, so he studied him. Trust me, he studies for over 20 years. Then interested in it, he started to look into other geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and the list went on. This led to his now remarkable book—The hidden habits of Genius.

Here’s the wisdom of it—

  • Who is a genius?

Craig came with a formula to define genius. It is G= S*N*D, G equals significance(S) of the degree of the impact or change affected times the number(N) of people impacted times duration(D) of the impact.

It is clear that Craig classifies a person as a genius only when his/her idea impacted millions of people and the wide world for a long time. In other words, he prefers Alexander Fleming over Kim Kardashian.

Habits of Genius

  • 1) Both Nature and Nurture Matters.

Gifts are given and you might have innate talents but they automatically won’t make you a genius. Becoming a genius takes an immense amount of hard work and discipline to use your talents.

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” —Michelangelo Buonarroti.

In short, there are no lazy geniuses.

  • 2)Resilience is needed.

This is because when you are a woman or from a minority community. You need to cross social barriers, no matter how insanely gifted you are. This can disappoint people but this is the truth. Jane Austin had to publish Pride and Prejudice anonymously to get through. This is not some old societal notion but a modern one too. J.K. Rowling was told to disguise herself as a man.

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.” —Virginia Woolf.

Things are changing but upcoming geniuses need to cultivate mental resilience to face the world that is not a bed of roses yet.

  • 3)Creating new stuff.

“The difference is that geniuses create. They change the world through original thinking that alters the actions and values of society. Prodigies merely mimic.”— Craig Wright.

The point is geniuses create new and innovative things, solutions or a groundbreaking theory. Einstein, Mozart, Darwin, Gandhi, Picasso, all were “the originals.”

Work to create something novel and connect the dots like never before and you will be on your way to be a genius.

  • 4)Be Imaginative and Open your wings like a child.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” —Albert Einstein.

Why child-like imagination especially? It’s because their imagination has no barriers. Mary Shelley, J.K.Rowling, Einstein, Picasso, Darwin, Walt Disney all built castles in the air and played with the ideas with insane imaginations and visuals. No wonder Charles Baudelaire commented that Genius is only childhood recovered at will.

  • 5)Lust for learning, Being passionate and Curious.

Leonardo da Vinci has been called the most relentlessly curious man in history, Marie Curie was puzzled by radiation and Nikola Tesla even shocked himself.

Benjamin franklin, Charlie Munger were all bookworms, book-eagles who hungrily devoured the knowledge. And Elon Musk ran out of books at the school library and neighbourhood library at age 10. Sometimes he use to read 2 books per day!!!

So sign up for that EdX course or take that masterclass subscription you have been thinking about and be a learning machine.

“The education of a man is never completed until he dies.” —Robert E.Lee

  • 6)Other such Habits discussed in book.

Geniuses are rebels who try out new ideas and can diverge from popular opinions of the time and they have cross-disciplinary thinking.
They can mix STEM with arts and humanities and cross-pollinate different fields and their ideas. This allows you to have multiple tabs open in your mind and we can draw different gems from different mines.

And finally, don’t just concentrate but also relax. When you relax you get so many eureka moments. Hence showers are the best!

“All the really good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.”—Grant Wood. Go, take a walk.

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