You Are Not A Genius..

Socrates

Socrates

..not at everything anyway.

But guess what, it really does not matter. Average, even below average, skills will do. What matters is if your immediate circle is smarter than you, especially in the areas that you are weak.

Stop whatever you are doing now and think how many people above, around and below you will call a spade a spade, call bullshit when it seems to be so. If that sounds abstract, here are some specific attributes that you could look for.

Objective

Does the person present facts to support their views? Is there a reasonable correlation between views held and the facts presented? Are the facts true? Or at least does it feel intuitively right to you? It takes time to assess if someone is objective or not. But trust me, its worth your time to judge everyone carefully. Of course not everyone remains objective 100% of time, circumstances make it difficult. But it is sufficient to know overall trend, there would be some benchmark to judge what is happening in a given context.

Confident

Objectivity will not be present unless the person around you is confident in their ideas, opinions and especially in themselves. The most useless or obvious feedback from someone is a good sign, you have something at least. Of course, based on their motivations, the feedback might be beneficial or irrelevant, but it is a sign nevertheless that the person is willing to deliver some message to you. From there, you will have to dig in, gain increasing trust to see if the feedback is genuine, not a repetition of what you already know, not being delivered to curry short-term favor with you and so on.

Humble

Humility is that which accepts its shortcoming. Allows better and other possibilities. Nodding to every suggestion or thought is not humility, it is slavery. Humility knows its limits, knows it has not all the answers. It is not contradictory to confidence. At the same time it should not be a politically correct acceptance of another view. The world is crafty enough to pretend when required, so do not fall for immediate praise or blame..always think through the context in which the opinion is coming from. Shades of grey permeate everything, learn to recognize it better.

Does this line of thought make sense? Do you agree or disagree? And yes, do share tweet and share this widely. I would love your help in understanding what you and your friends think.

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Comments

  1. Lovely writing and thoughts, as usual, Mahesh. May I add to this conversation? In my experience I found two other overwhelming trait in geniuses.

    First, Simplicity. The clarity of thought gets reflected in the way they explain things. They are able to deconstruct a situation or a problem down to a point where they make it look simple. Mind you, not dumbing down but making it easy for people to understand. Their articulation is de-jargonized and full of simple common sense (contrast that with the anti-thesis of this argument – so many times we have come across jargon-spewing Caliphs of Complexity and found out eventually how they fared). Yes, you may encounter complexity as you implement things but at the core is a very simple concept that a genius is quickly able to reach and communicate

    Second, Associations. Has it struck you that geniuses in their fields often have hobbies you won’t associate with that profession (Einstein and violin, Feynman and drums for example)? Hallmark of a genius is the ability to bring in concepts from one framework – however unrelated to the current – to another and make it work. This faculty is a clear demonstration of an expansive mind.

    • Subrata – first of all thanks for the comment. Completely concur with both your points, especially the second one on associations.

      A diverse set of hobbies or interests is essential. But a lot of our fellow men have not enough time to follow cricket/IPL/test series/football league/f1 etc.

      I also would like to add intensity to your two points. The ability to focus and dig into details. Guess there is a follow-on post brewing πŸ™‚

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  1. shyOdha says:

    You are not a genius – new post http://t.co/ggzvdXQg

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