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Become a Genius

How does one become more creative, and even, perhaps, gain genius status? The former is possible for anyone, but the latter requires a decent intellect to start with, because although genius is not defined by intellect alone, some minimum amount of brainpower is necessary. On the other hand, if you have only average or even below-average intelligence, you can still use the following suggestions to become much more creative.

But first, lets look at what the word genius means. Among the many definitions that can be found in various dictionaries, some do refer to a genius as "A person who has an exceptionally high intelligence quotient, typically above 140." It is common to try to put a number on everything, but who could really say that a man with an IQ of 141 is intellectually distinct from one who scores only 139 on this over-used scale?

Many other definitions do not refer to IQ score at all. For our purposes we'll skip over the non-relevant and more obscure definitions such as "A jinni in Muslim mythology," and "A tutelary deity or guardian spirit of a person or place in Roman mythology." These more relevant definitions of "genius" can be found in many dictionaries

1. Extraordinary intellectual and creative power.

2. A person of extraordinary intellect and talent.

3. A strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination.

It is generally agreed that genius is not a matter of intellect alone. A smart man or woman can choose to do nothing with his or her brainpower after all, or to do only computer-like tasks that might demonstrate a powerful but uncreative mind. To become a genius, a person must manifest that intellect in the form of some particular talents and/or creative applications. In fact, the quality of genius is generally associated with the achievement of new and preferably profound insights.

To make this point with a simple example, Einstein, even with his intelligence, would not have been considered a genius if he chose to read comic books all of his life instead of doing the work he did. He had to practice using that brain and apply its power to doing something productive. Thus, although some level of intellectual capacity is required, genius is also developed.

I'm not going to bother to speculate on how much raw brainpower or how high an IQ score a person needs to become a genius. It isn't terribly relevant to the purpose of this article, which is point out some ways to get as far in the right direction as you can get. All the things you can do to improve your thinking skills and to achieve profound insights are useful at whatever level you are at, whether or not the result entitles you to the title of genius.

What are the things you can do to develop whatever potential genius is within you? Here are four steps that will help you become a genius, or at least help you become more powerful in your thinking.

1. Encourage an insatiable curiosity.

Whether we look at the life Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, one thing is clear: They all had or have an unending curiosity. You do not stumble upon many unprecedented insights if you get bored after a few minutes of investigating something. Curiosity drives us to explore deeply the world around us. Allow yourself to wonder about things. Make questioning of everything a habit, by consciously doing it until it is automatic.

2. Open your mind to changes.

It may be convenient to label and categorize everything, and it is comforting to some to have answers and beliefs that go unchallenged, but this is not the path of genius. Open your mind and embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity of life and of the world. Yes, we must assume certain truths, but we can be ready to drop them as better ones come along - and then perhaps drop those in time. Challenge your own thinking. Stephen Hawking proved that information was lost when something enters a black hole, and then, decades longer, proved he was wrong. The second insight would not have been possible to a man who clings to certainty and close his mind to new and conflicting ideas.

3. Play

In part, playing is a way to encourage your curiosity. But it has other benefits as well. When you play around with ideas or even play around with models or inventions, you test your thinking against reality. And just as a kitten learns hunting skills by playing, you develop and exercise your thinking skills by exposing them to real-life tests and situations. Playfulness also encourages the combining of various mental abilities and skills and ideas.

Play and humor are also useful for "loosening up" your thinking. If you are too uptight, you tend to be less open to new ideas. For example, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman was known for being playful and having a great sense of humor. He also played bongo, was a practical joker, deciphered hieroglyphs, picked locks, and was generally regarded as an eccentric and a free spirit. His playful approach to his many pursuits probably made him much more open to "crazy" thoughts that gave new insight.

4. Learn specific techniques for creative thinking.

Just as some people are born with more intellectual ability, some are probably born with a brain that has more creative tendencies. But anyone can learn specific techniques for generating new ideas, creatively solving problems, digging deeper into the nature of things and having more insight. The Site Map for this website has dozens of pages detailing these creativity practices and techniques. You can also find many in this Kindle book:

The Thousand Mile Hole

(Also available on Barnes and Noble Nook.)

To become a genius, or at least to become more creatively and intellectually powerful than you already are, you have to make the suggestions above into habits. Let your curiosity be an everyday thing, open your mind to new ideas continually, play daily (both mentally and physically), and practice special thinking techniques until they are an unconscious part of your mental routine.

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