Dear reader. I beg your forgiveness in advance. I write copious amounts each day (it brings me great joy) and don’t always proofread as carefully as I could, relying, perhaps too much, on technology to catch any errors. I hope the ones that slip through do not distract you from the content. Corrections are gratefully received. If you e-mail me with a correction, I will insert it and acknowledge your help by mentioning you, at the end of the article.
Q. Lewis, what is a genius, and can one become a genius if they are not born one?
A. I’ve always had an interest in the concept of genius, that person who displays universality in genres or originality, creative productivity, innovative thinking, and exceptional intellectual ability.
As a child, I was an outsider, a loner, and considered somewhat strange by my peers and teachers. I got poor grades in school, and even in my early twenties I dropped out of three colleges out of boredom, and when I did get my B.A. it took me six years to do it.
Thus, it was a total shock to me, when attending that fourth college when a counselor sent me in for some psychological testing and came back with the diagnosis that I was a borderline genius.
“Huh?”, I said. The counselor, a self-involved mathematician who spoke with a thick William F. Bukleyish cultivated Mid-Atlantic accent, sometimes humorously known as Long Island Lockjaw, smiled. Then he put his hand on my shoulder to lighten the sense of surprise and possibly confusion my face showed. Then he simply said, “I’m serious!”
“How can that be? I flunk everything. I’ve always flunked everything!”
“ I don’t care about your grades”, he said, “or that you are bored by school. Your ability to understand very complex ideas, and explain them in terms so simple that a five-year-old can understand them is a real gift”
I then asked, “what does it mean to be a genius?”
“Technically”, he replied “There is no scientifically precise definition of a genius. I imagine that sometimes genius is associated with a very refined and high-level of talent. So high, in fact, that few others can achieve that much in so many different domains”.
“Can you give me a few examples?”
“Well, there are some historical geniuses that, though not well known by most people, are readily acknowledged to be in that class, like Émilie du Châtelet the 18th century, French natural philosopher and mathematician.
Other geniuses include Nikola Tesla the Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor; R. Buckminster Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist, Brian, Wilson the musician, M.C. Escher the artist, composer, and arranger, Virginia Satir the author and therapist, known especially for her pioneering approach to family therapy, Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematician who made substantial contributions to mathematics despite little formal training and George Balanchine the American ballet choreographer”.
“The key”, he said is “a genius will often produce some achievement of new advances in some domain of knowledge. Of course, many geniuses have shown high achievements in only a single kind of activity, but some achieve many things in many domains. Think of Thomas Edison in that way”. There is almost a sacred geometry to how they think.
Well, that conversation took place almost a half-decade ago. I have achieved much in my seventy years on this planet, including developing a unique approach to game theory, that I have written extensively about on Medium.com
When you are ready, willing, and able to act, all manner of unforeseen events and circumstances, arise unexpectedly, and spontaneously; without the requirement of discipline or willpower to bring your visions, and dreams to fruition.
By the author, with my thanks to (Goethe)
Of course, being a genius doesn’t mean you are emotionally healthy or mentally balanced. Consider Bobby Fischer, considered a chess genius, who throughout his life behaved erratically and was often highly dysfunctional by almost any assessment. Then there is the Marquis de Sade an 18th-century French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer. Famous for his libertine sexuality he became infamous for his numerous sexual crimes and abuse against young men, women, and children. He claimed to be a proponent of absolute freedom unrestrained by morality religion, or the law. The words sadism and sadist are derived from his name. De Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and insane asylums for about 32 years of his life:
Then there is the association of genius with intellectual intelligence. This approach to assessing intelligence was initiated by Francis Galton and James McKeen Cattell. Galton, himself was a genius, a noted English Victorian era statistician, polymath, sociologist, psychologist, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, and geographer. He advocated the analysis of reaction time and sensory acuity as measures of “neurophysiological efficiency” and the analysis of sensory acuity as a measure of intelligence.
It was Galton’s way of thinking that led to that MENSA bunch. Mensa is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test. Not to be disrespectful of the organization itself I have met many members who have the emotional intelligence of a snail and have the kinesthetic ability of the character Elaine Benis on Seinfeld.
Of course what MENSA misses is that there are many different types of intelligence, besides IQ.
One of the great breakthroughs in the understanding what intelligence actually is, and probably what does it mean to be a “genius” is the work of Howard Gardener in the field of multiple intelligences. The theory of multiple intelligences proposes the differentiation of human intelligence into specific “modalities of intelligence”, rather than defining intelligence as a single, general ability.
According to the theory, an intelligence ‘modality’ must fulfill eight criteria:
1. potential for brain isolation by brain damage
2. place in evolutionary growth
3. presence of core operations
4. susceptibility to encoding (symbolic expression)
5. a distinct developmental progression
6. the existence of savants, prodigies, and other exceptional people
7. support from experimental psychology
8. support from psychometric findings
In his pioneering book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983), Gardner proposed eight abilities that manifest multiple intelligences. He later expanded this original list and new concepts in intelligences are being added. For instance, a meta-intelligence composed of many other identified intelligences and stemmed from human interactions with digital computers — now exists.
Gardner’s original list included.
·Musical-rhythmic and harmonic
So maybe you’re a genius, but you just don’t know it yet?. Even if you aren’t here are specific tips you can put into action to help you fulfill your potential. These include:
· Find a passion. Something you truly love doing and would do for free. Tinkering, for instance with “do-it-yourself” approaches to taking apart and exploring technology (radios, cars, cell phones, drones, computers, etc.).
· Engage in creating and experiencing art in all forms; dance, singing, painting, sculpture, etc.
· Find a mentor to guide your genius in ways that will help it to both focus and expand and keep you emotionally balanced.
· Develop a daily discipline. Mine is meditation, tai chi, and yoga, reading news feeds from around the world, so I can keep up with what’s trending, spending some quality time with my wife over a cup of coffee, calling two or three friends to see what is up with them, and then I dive into my passion. My passion is sharing ideas through the spoken and written word for the next twelve hours. This Medium story you are reading right now is an expression of my passion.
· Have a minimum of consistency. Geniuses often spread themselves so thin that they seem to be a thousand places at once, going nowhere. I am often accused of this (but it simply isn’t so).
Here are two exhibits of positive musical genius. Check ’em out.
· “Nandi” the 8-year-old prodigy percussionist
· Linda Rodstat, the sound of my voice — A documentary of a musical genius (Way beyond Rock n Roll).
· Here is the trailer or the film “A Beautiful Mind” that motivated me to explore the world of Game Theory.
· If you need to see the trailer for a film about the dark side of genius, check this out:
Click the links below to explore the elements of genius in the context of Game Applied Theory.
· My Youtube — for more kick @ videos to take your life and business to the next level… asklewis/lewis harrison game theory #1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lzIPU0DSiU&t=87s)
· The Course in Harrison’s Applied Game Theory: https://www.asklewisgametheory.com/wealth-building-game-theory-courses/
· Listen to My Personal Development Podcast — to get just ONE idea a day that will add additional knowledge, wisdom, as well as zeros to your profit line. What is Personal Development — AskLewis Self Improvement Tips #1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckd1EVh4tHE&t=58s
· Join My Invitation Only FB Group — to get tons of free lessons based on Applied game Therapy Group on FB https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=lewis%20harrison%27s%20applied%20game%20theory
· Twitter — @Asklewis
· Msg Me — on Facebook messenger and let me know what you’re struggling with the most! (I’ll actually reply!)