Here’s Why You’re Not a Genius and The 12 Steps To Become One
“Because genius is a characteristic of consciousness, genius is also universal. That which is universal is, therefore, theoretically available to every man. It awaits only the right circumstances to express it.” — Sir David Hawkins, MD, PH.D
You wonder what differentiates you and the winners who breakthrough.
You wonder what made Einstein and Mozart special and how they were able to create such works of genius.
Why your peer puts out an article that are new and innovative and you don’t.
The difference lies in their ability to work their creative muscle, find their creative voice that’s confident to produce enough, to then tap into genius every so often.
Tapping into genius is the difference between good and great.
It’s the difference in having the breakthrough no one else has had in your field.
But it’s also subtle — not dramatic by any means. It finds you, you don’t find it.
Genius found Charles Darwin because he followed his deep inclination and endless wonder, which created the patience, mental space, activity and focus that brought his theory of Evolution out of him. His cousin Francis who was considered much smarter than him with a proven much higher IQ, did not. Why so?
Why not you?
Maybe you don’t believe in yourself, believe.
Maybe you don’t believe you’re ‘smart’ enough, you are.
Everyone has genius within them, it’s their duty to tap into it.
Genius is simply the result of your state of mind, level of consciousness and capacity for creative output. It’s the depth of that output, and where it comes from that makes it genius or not. Your job is to cultivate that and let genius find you as often as you can.
The road to genius and maximizing your potential are adjacent, and often leave you lost a long the way, because of the wrong belief systems and principles.
It begins with you, how you do what you do, who you’re becoming, and why.
It takes a commitment to excellence in everything, from the way you go to sleep at night to the way you tie your shoes in the morning. It’s always on the line. Always game day.
It was General Norman Schwarzkopf who said “shined shoes save lives”.
It starts with a decision. A decision to know you have genius inside of you and that it needs to be brought out.
The more you care when it doesn’t matter, the less you need to care when it does. In fact, you want to be so good that game day is just another chance at showing up to perform.
That’s how real genius’ practice.
The best champions in the world are not hyping themselves up. They’re still, flowing like water, ready to respond like an echo.
Genius is tapped when reaching that sustained state of energy and stillness with a fiery mind that produces output at a blistering rate.
Then at some point, a force takes over and brings something so special out of you it can’t be described just felt. At this point you’ve reached a state of oneness between your body, mind and your craft.
You become the craft.
Your new goal needs to be to reach this state, and commit yourself wholeheartedly toward it.
Remember, it’s not what you do, but how how you do it that matters.
So how do you do what you do?
If you currently aren’t in a state of creative output, and haven’t tapped your genius, you’re likely:
- Not spending time on personal and psychological development as your main priority.
- Spending too much time trying to acquire new things (‘if I work to save up for this, I can have it after 3 months, and I’ll be happier’).
- Not prioritizing learning as the most important part of your life instead of just a single part (‘I read when I have time because I work all the time.’).
- Don’t meditate, pray or exercise.
- Don’t keep a conscious diet.
Genius has absolutely nothing to do with how ‘smart’ you are, or what you know already. Your EQ or IQ, or the results you’ve achieved until now.
The fact is, everyone has mental strengths and weaknesses, and different brains. We’re all unique.
So if you’re weak in IQ like I am, which only means you don’t process and apply language and symbols with your left brain, you may not be as strong in math or industrial era ‘teach to’ learning style. My dad’s a mathematician and I’m horrible at math.
You may be a visual learner and right brain dominant like I am.
I was terrible in school, and generally take a long time learning anything new. I definitely do better when I’m diving deep, doing a lot of a little, less like my left brained co-founder who’s able to do a little bit of a lot very well.
Perhaps you’re right brain oriented, thus able to hold what you learn differently and use that knowledge to better visualize ideas in the real world.
One isn’t any more valuable than another — what matters is how you use what you have.
With the right principles, creative left brained folks may be able to go from adolescence through school to Harvard Business School and the corporate world. They’re able to tap their own genius and analyze businesses, run great spreadsheets and all the other skills you’d expect from a Harvard MBA. There are others with the the same IQ and skills who don’t maximize their potential and don’t tap into their genius.
With the right principles, brilliant right brained folks can go from adolescence through school and become professional writers, artists or form ultra successful bands. There are many other right brained folks with the same skills and talent who don’t end up becoming professional artists much less form successful music groups. But ‘ success ‘ has nothing to do with innate talent, and everything to do with the principles of success which everyone has access too while many don’t implement.
There happens to be a lot more wasted potential in the right brain camp given that left brain skills have more opportunity for a job — though it may not be an ideal job wherein that person is utilizing their creative spirit and output and feeling like they’re maximizing their potential.
In this piece, you’ll discover that breaking through to genius level work has nothing to do with IQ or intelligence — and everything to do with the way you live and what’s driving you.
Humanity’s saddest loss is when people don’t maximize their potential and tap into their genius — which is free, leads to fulfillment, happiness, creative breakthrough, spiritual energy and even love.
The quest to genius makes life worth living, and the only thing holding yourself back from tapping into that genius is you.
Here are 12 Steps To Finding The Genius That Is Inside You
1. Recognize Genius Comes From Process First
“The number one predictor of impact is productivity.” — Genius Scholar and UCLA Professor of Psychology Dr. Keith Simenton
Deliberate practice daily is the most important part to reaching a genius level state.
You’ll only tap into genius and master a craft if you’re committed to it each day and it eventually becomes who you are.
Pioneering psychologist who invented the IQ set out to study what made geniuses by following 1,500 people with IQ’s above 140 and another group with average IQ’s.
He found that intelligence is no guarantee of achievement. Many of the study’s high IQ participants struggled, even flunking out of college, while others outside of the high IQ group another went on to become renowned in their fields — including Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, who won Nobel Prizes in physics.
2. Understand The Eventual Goal of Genius Is To Live In a Steady State That Pulls Work Out Of You
“I am being pulled by a force that I can only be thankful for.” — Pianist Keith Jarrett.
Jarrett specifically remembers one concert in Munich, where he felt as if he had disappeared into the high notes of the keyboard. His creative artistry, nurtured by decades of listening, learning, and practicing melodies, emerges when he is least in control.
“It’s a vast space in which I trust there will be music”, he said.
I now have to write every single day. Luckily writing doesn’t require anything more than a laptop so I can do it anywhere. I was just at a bachelor weekend for 4 days in Columbia and I wrote every single day.
Genius comes from being in a state of deep flow. It’s your job to create that state and context to let it happen to you.
Case in point, Jarrett is not only a master of his field, he performs in front of crowds which makes it even more riveting because of the situation. Being the focal point of lot’s of people itself has the power of bringing genius out of you so put yourself in as many situations as you can where you need to be your best.
3. Genius Is About Breakthrough Ideas and Seeing What Other People Don’t See
“Every great business is built on a secret that’s hidden from the outside.” Peter Thiel
You’re in a state of genius when you’re constantly coming up with great ideas and are able to masterfully apply those ideas with your craft. Ideas are the beginning, producing the masterful work is the genius.
In a state of genius, you’ll come up with so many good ideas that you’ll have to work hard prioritizing which ideas to work on and why. This can be as a lawyer, artist, developer, designer, middle manager, start up founder or freelancer. There are the great, good and the bad at all jobs, it’s the one’s who practice the principles of genius who are the best no matter what they do.
“There were bad students in medical school who aren’t good doctors” — Tim Ferris
When you’re reading a book and are inspired to write a blog post because of a new insight or new way of presenting any idea — your creativity is bringing to life brand new work.
If you find yourself making a breakthrough connection, noone else has ever made before, and are jumping through the roof after thinking through it long and hard, that’s a genius moment.
If it stands up in the field, it’s a genius breakthrough. Genius doesn’t need to be celebrated by the masses.
Most geniuses aren’t known.
When I write a piece on a topic in a way I know no one else has written about it — I’ve tapped into my genius. For example, I remember writing this piece on culture, talent and connecting your people’s ‘why must be wonder’ to high performing corporate cultures. I recall connecting those dots after thinking on the piece for a long time.
When I looked at the ‘Culture Map’ in the piece, and saw that at the highest stage was ‘innocent wonderment’ — it hit me! ‘Your people’s why must be wonder for a high performing organization.’ Boom, that was a creative breakthrough and my genius moment that day.
We could argue about how hard the problem I was working on was or if connecting ‘why and wonder’ to high performing work cultures is genius but the fact is, I connected two things noone had ever connected before in this way, and I added something new to the field which for our intents and purposes, was a genius moment.
Will it last? I don’t know. But I know I’ll keep going.
Start small and on the 100th try you’ll come up with something that will bring out your genius and blow the world’s mind.
4. Genius is How You Practice and Is Habitual
There is a thematic interconnectedness of all disciplines, and if we get good at sensing and working with those connections, the learning process can become incredibly exciting. A key first step is to develop a working relationship with your intuition, so your learning process is led by your uniquely nuanced creative leaps. Our minds are all different and I believe cultivating a keen introspective sensitivity is absolutely essential in discovering our potential. — Josh Waitzkin
Josh Waitzkin is the definition of a genius as both a chess prodigy and world champion martial artist. Stop and think about that for a second. He does chess AND martial arts and wins globally at both!
Josh prides himself on living a very simple quiet life of ‘depth not breadth’. He lives in meditation. Does breathing exercises, works out and manages his inputs and output as though his life depended on it.
He doesn’t check his email in the morning until it’s absolutely time. He begins his day with a creative burst of journaling, which was the result of his priming his subconscious the night before.
He now trains hedge fund managers in high stakes situations with billions of dollars on the line to tap into their genius.
You either commit yourself to live in a state of genius, or you don’t. A state of genius begins with your mindfulness, consciousness, depth and attention..
How can you tap into your genius if you aren’t in a high state that can intuit it’s mind and body?
As Waitzkin says, the deepest thinkers cultivate their physiological introspective sensitivity. They fast, prime their subconscious for insights to happen and finally, allow space for genius to occur.
When you’re not ‘on’ or “in state”, you’re resting, and fermenting your thoughts. It’s the most important part of your process — letting ideas simmer and find each other.
Everything is proactive and every second of your time is on the line.
How slow is your time?
Presence must be as intuitive as breathing, and every second should be thought of as on the line — proactive.
Is every day fast and furious or deep and slow?
You want to create an essential only routine of the most important things that make your day deep and slow.
5. Create A Morning Routine To Make Sure You Tap Your Creative Muscle In It’s Highest State Each Day
I have been seeing the learning process more and more through the lens of unlearning. I am working on becoming more and more unfettered in the growth process, and that tends to be a movement through complexity to simplicity. — Josh Waitzkin
You want your morning routine to optimize yourself for your whole day, and also include a creative burst whether it’s journaling or just listing out ideas — anything to work your creative muscle. Or it could be your craft itself each and every morning — or even reading. I love reading as it get’s me into deep flow and in the right state. Do something that get’s you into flow.
Everyone is their freshest in the morning and it’s the most opportune time to tap your genius. Do all the things you can to optimize your morning so you can be in a deep optimal state to learn deliberately, create quietly and think deeply.
Focus on removing as much as you can to create space — this is the challenge of our time.
Here are other keystone habits that give you a better state all day if done in the morning
- Morning meditation
- Intense exercise
- Music and dancing
6. Prime Your Subconscious For Insight and Breakthrough — And Trust Yourself!
“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light of the luster from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages, yet he dismisses without notice, his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts, they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your biggest breakthroughs happen without trying, however it’s your job to prime your subconscious and give yourself space to receive insight.
If you want to solve a problem, simply visualize it the evening before. Perhaps read some leading material on the topic and have it be the last thing you go to bed thinking about.
But wait for it, and this is important. Don’t expect it. Give it space to come in. It may take days or months but wait for it.
This is the routine of Josh Waitzkin, and what he recommends his high stakes hedge fund clients. Get deep, give yourself space, let it come to you.
Most importantly, trust yourself! You have genius inside of you, and it’s your job to trust your intuition.
7. Practice Your Craft Immediately After or During You’re Routine In The Morning
Benjamin P. Hardy is the best I know at tapping his genius in the morning. He gets up in the morning, drives to leave his home environment to begin journaling, gets in an intense workout, and then does his most important work: writing.
Benjamin’s now famous for being Medium’s #1 writer and has been interviewed about what he does and how he puts out so much great material and it’s actually simple.
Benjamin does the basics better than anyone, and is best at removing everything else that’s not essential. All his effort goes to optimizing his state, which produces hyper deliberate learning, which produces his masterful writing. It’s as simple as that.
He’s also the best I’ve seen at taking in content fast. He’s built the neural pathways to absorb audiobooks on faster speeds. Want to read a book a day? Get used to intensely taking in audiobooks on 2x speed and watch your world change.
He’s the best writer in the world on goal achievement and it’s because he does those few simple things well, commits 110% and and knows why he does what he does.
8. Create External Deadlines and Conditions To Force Deep Work
Deadlines give us the sense that we are really on our way and that we will achieve the goal — soon!” — John Patrick Hickey
This is a hard one because it takes willpower on the front end to create these force functions and discipline to uphold them.
However hard a deadline or force function is, go 10x above and beyond to ensure you get it done!
How bad do you want it? If you want it so bad, you’ll create the external conditions to absolutely require you to burn your boats, dig deep and get what you need to get done, done. I’m doing a re-set on goals right now and am thinking of the following strategy and schedule: if I miss anything I want to deeply burn into me like working out Monday at lunch or reporting my metrics to my coach on Friday at 5pm, I have someone else responsible charge me $1,000. I’m going to make bold public declarations of my goals and create the external conditions of uncertainty to really bring out my best. I’m going to have an accountability coach to answer to first thing every Friday who get’s to decide how well I did that week.
9. Remove Distractions With Force Functions
You absolutely need to learn to use force functions in today’s distracted world of mobile devices and social media. I can’t emphasize it enough.
Depth is the name of the game to tapping your genius and that requires your output to be done while you’re in deep focus. If you can’t reach deep focus, you won’t produce deep work or have the space for creative insight.
To reach that deep focus, you want to be swept away, without any chance of being distracted or shifting contexts to another place. Do you think Mozart would stop and check his phone notifications (or the phone notifications of his day) when he’d practice? You must act like Mozart no matter what you’re doing or what you’re craft is while you practice if you want to tap your genius.
10. Focus and Emphasize Rest and Recovery
Masters of their craft revolve their lives around their state of mind and that often means leading a life of leisure. The misperception is often that genius comes from military level discipline but that can’t be farther from the truth. Yes, a sense of connection and ritual play a role in a genius’ work, but it’s the minimal and focus on only the essential that allows the deep work, effectiveness, and proper rest and recovery to allow one’s mind to ferment.
Shift your mindset so you view resting, relaxation and even leisure as recovery and a part of the creative process. Don’t feel guilty about this as many of us aren’t programmed to believe or feel deserved of a lot of rest and relaxation. You do and you have to!
Take the afternoon off and get that massage.
Allow yourself room to putz around.
Take the weekday getaway if you can.
Those are the habits of genius creators.
11. Work In a Fasted State
“Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if
he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.” — Herman Hesse
This is perhaps the biggest advantage you can have that people don’t talk about. I have been intermittent fasting for only 8 weeks and have found myself in magical states of lightness that lets my mind flow easily. Every time you eat, your body uses massive energy to digest. Energy your brain could be using for brain power. That’s partly why our brains got so much bigger when fire was discovered — we could digest food easier so more energy went to the brain instead of the other parts of the body.
It’s now proven that energy sourced from other sources within you from food are better than food itself. Whether it’s your own fat, if you’re in a ketogenic state, or ketones, your natural rocket fuel which you begin to produce when you don’t eat for a while and have no carbs and protein to burn.
Since I started intermittent fasting, I’ve only wanted to eat less and am convinced eating three meals a day is bad for us. We’ve been hunter gatherers for millions of years, we can’t just turn that around with a few hundred or even thousand years eating way more often. Our bodies work better when we eat less often and this movement is becoming the norm as it should be.
12. Do An Activity That You’ve Always Been Pulled Toward
“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” — Aldous Huxley
Enthusiasm is rooted from: “being possessed by God”. That’s why being enthusiastic feels so good and is good for you
What have you always had a deep inclination that always brings out enthusiasm in you? Perhaps it was piano or art or writing. It’s definitely writing for me as I continue to evolve. If I didn’t have to make any money at all, I would write. This is a sign that writing is my calling and am now doing my best to follow that calling.
i. What are you obsessed about?
ii. What keeps you up at night?
iii. What could you starve for and not remember starving while doing it?
iv. What cause would you give your life for, if you could solve it? That’s the activity that brings out the state that puts out inspiring work.
Genius is about you.
Your state of mind, how you live, how you work.
Do you want to tap into yours and let it happen to you?
Tap into your endless wonder and embrace the meditative life.
Merge the mastery of your craft with a slow, deep state.
Your creative voice will emerge when you’re putting it out into the world over and over again, and one day you’ll reach a state of genius you never thought you had.