We throw around the word ‘genius’ all the time, but a recent article by Nigel Barber PhD says that genius as we often talk about it is just a myth, and a limiting one at that.
Barber says that there really isn’t any such thing, and that the myth of genius is one we could well do without because talking about people being geniuses keeps the idea that some people are just born brilliant and deletes any of the work that they might have done to get there.
His idea has also been echoed by author Malcom Gladwell who made a study of those we consider to be geniuses for his book Outliers. Gladwell concluded that what we label as genius is a shorthand for being bright, being given the opportunities plus at least 10,000 hours of hard work. None of these things alone are enough.
Barber suggests that we keep the myth of genius going because we can draw on it if we want to make us feel okay about what we have achieved, or not, in our lives. If we don’t feel we have achieved that much, we can comfort ourselves with the idea that some people are just born naturally talented and that’s something we don’t have any control over.
I think this is yet another perfect example of how we can be held back just by an idea. In Quantum Creating, I put a lot of emphasis on memes or ideas that leap from person to person and being vigilant about what kind of ideas we are a carrier for as they literally shape the way we see the world and what we can do within it.
When it comes to being outstanding, I think there is something else that is absolutely crucial, and that is mastery of your own mind. After all, if you go down Gladwell’s list, you can be smart and put in the graft but stumble at every opportunity or be limited in the ones that you can create because you can’t get past the belief that you aren’t worthy of being successful, or life has to be a struggle, or anything that could somehow be getting in the way.
Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motors, famously said ‘ Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you are right”
In order to be successful – and I’m not talking about becoming a world famous artist or captain of industry necessarily, because there all sorts of measures of success, you have to believe that it can be done, that you can do it, and that you are worthy of going all the way. And then, as I’m always saying, you have to get out from under your duvet and go and make it happen!
Loads of love,
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