“In the minds of geniuses, we find – once more – our own neglected thoughts.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Being a genius is a choice. It’s not what you think about, it’s how you think about it.

Geniuses take what they think about more seriously than the rest of us do. In fact, you have probably had your own deep, profound thoughts about some subjects that other geniuses have explored more fully. Regardless of how rudimentary or ham-fisted your conclusions might be, you have nevertheless done some genius-like thinking.

You are no Stephen Hawking, but you have had some of your own thoughts about the universe and how it works. The difference is, when you reached a point in your thinking where you could no longer make sense of it, where there was no obvious conclusion, you stopped thinking about it.

Geniuses chase those thoughts down. They chase those thoughts beyond the point of reference. The reason we quit thinking and exploring is fear. We smother our most interesting and promising thoughts because we don’t want to seem too weird to ourselves or others.

We shut down, but geniuses push on.

We are wrong to define genius as a gift, as something that is beyond us. Genius is something far more powerful than a gift. Genius is achievable when we allow ourselves the time and focus to think properly.

We are all programed to think about the same things; this is the argument that Charlie Laughlin made with biogenetic structuralism. Where geniuses differ from most everyone else is in their more natural inclination to explore and study their thoughts deeply and with purpose.

Become a genius in a few genius steps …

  1. Make time to think by going on regular retreats. Try to get into the woods, go rent a cabin on a lake or somewhere removed from civilization. If you want to really get somewhere in your own head, you need a place you can go without interruption to really get deep. Think days, not hours. The more wilderness the better.
  2. Get interested. This is where the retreat really comes in handy. Imagine no distraction, an idea, a pot of coffee, food and Wi-Fi. Where can your exploration take you?
  3. Raise a ruckus by embracing norms. Most geniuses work within a more formal system. We like to think of them as rebels, like Richard Branson. But while Richard Branson might be a creative genius, he operates within the industries of aviation and entertainment. There are rules.

If all you do is play by the rules, then you will get stuck in the status quo and left behind. Genius-level thinking requires you to think above/beyond or around the rules and convential wisdom. Genius thinking is about asking why not, and what else or what more. You don’t want to break the rules; you want to rewrite them. There is a difference.

 

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