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How to become a genius ?

  1. Nov 1, 2013 #1
    Hi guys, I was wandering... if it is possible, ho could one become a "genius" of the field of study he loves? Do you think dedication and practice are enough or is there something more....or maybe people are just born geniuses and there's nothing you can do about it?
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  3. Nov 1, 2013 #2
    Different individuals have different levels of intelligence, depending on a variety of factors. But typically the most important factor for success is not intelligence, but work ethic. There are plenty of examples of people who are clearly very smart, but who just can't bother working hard enough for it to pay off. Two of the smartest people I knew in college dropped out because they couldn't get enough work done to pass their classes (despite the fact that they could solve the problems with less effort than their peers).

    So rather than striving to be a "genius", try to be an "expert".
  4. Nov 1, 2013 #3
    Work for Apple. They call their over-rated experts "geniuses."

    This is where I have a real problem with the self-actualization movement. You can teach expertise, but genius is beyond that. We're not born geniuses. It's a combination of nature and nurture. It is the dumb luck of discovering where one's proficiency, experience, and skill combine in to one package to become a genius. It is a state of mind, but it is also a predisposition toward doing that kind of ability.

    Learn to master something you're not good at. I'll never be a concert pianist. But I did learn to play the piano. Then learn to explore other fields. Perhaps you'll discover one that you're extraordinarily good at. However, be forewarned: My daughter, is extremely proficient at yoyo tricks. Genius doesn't always manifest itself in useful life skills...
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  5. Nov 1, 2013 #4
    I don't think anyone is born genius but I believe that if you really wanted to excel, it would be best to have a pursuing attitude and it would help if you were actually fond of what you were pursuing.
  6. Nov 1, 2013 #5
  7. Nov 1, 2013 #6
    Thanks for the replies...I think I have a better idea of it now. :)
  8. Nov 1, 2013 #7


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    Okay, I have to buy this book!

    To read to my grandkids, of course. (I'd never read a book like this to my own kids!)

    The fact that they're twins is disappointing, but it still reminds me of a relationship I had with a neighbor girl - except she was usually the instigator of the trouble we got into.

    We once dissected a live toad, which unfortunately woke up during the operation and escaped off the table, trailing his intestines about 10 feet behind him. Her big brother tried to put it out of its misery by shooting it with his BB gun - except BB's just weren't enough to kill him. He finally had to crush it with a large rock.

    But maybe we did it wrong. I have no idea what happened to her later in life, but all of our intellectual exploration didn't seem to turn me into a genius. But I am pretty smart, just not genius level - and I haven't stayed in a Holiday Inn in ages!
  9. Nov 1, 2013 #8


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    She's either a brilliant biologist, a psycho killer, or a brilliant biologist psycho killer.
  10. Nov 1, 2013 #9
    I tend to favor this view.
  11. Nov 2, 2013 #10
    Of course some people are born a genius, how can you explain a 6 year old solving differential equations or a 14 year old just starting his phd in theoretical physics?

    I think anyone who truely believes that all humans are born equal is just stupid. Sure if you work hard and study you can acheive a lot in life, but there are others who are simply born to be great at something. The 14 year old I'm talking about is Jacob Barnett and at 3 years his mother found him calculating the volume of various cereal boxes lol, without being taught about it (so she says). This shows a natural genius.

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  12. Nov 2, 2013 #11


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    I agree w/ those who have said, one way or another, that geniuses are born, not raised and that hard work will get you a lot but it won't make you a genius.

    I like what Zig Ziggler said about the power of positive thinking. He was about 55 at the time and was a huge promoter of positive thinking, but he said something like this:

  13. Nov 2, 2013 #12


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    And one of his little brothers is a biochemist and the other is a meteorologist (at least according to Barnett's TED talk). Clearly, something in that family is special (even though I wonder just a little bit how much of his story is real).

    But it's not just genetics. The environment a person lives in plays a pretty big part, too. There's a big difference between someone like David Hahn, who tried to build a breeder reactor in his backyard shed but instead created an EPA superfund site, and Wilson Taylor, who created his first bomb at 10-years-old and his first nuclear fusion reactor at 14-years-old.

    There's no reason mental abilities should be any different than physical abilities. When 17 Americans in history have run a marathon in under 2 hours and 10 minutes (with America being a reasonably random genetic sample due to its history of immigrants) and 32 members of the Kalenjin tribe of Kenya ran under 2:10 in a single month (October 2011), there's clearly something about that tribe's genetics, environment, and/or culture that provide them with an advantage in running long distances. (There was a time when one might think they just trained differently, but knowledge spreads and modern training techniques have only increased their domination).

    The only real difference is that a person's natural mental abilities are a lot more difficult to measure than their physical traits and, even if one could, their natural ability in itself wouldn't predict whether they'd actually become a "genius" as measured by their accomplishments.
  14. Nov 2, 2013 #13
    Well it's true that he is super smart and will finish his phd before most people even start university. Physical attributes are nothing like mental attributes. No matter how much you train and train and train you're never going to run faster than Usain Bolt.

    I think everyone who isn't born with a learning difficulty has potential to do well. I'm sure if I really put in enough time and effort I could complete a physics degree. I think everyone is born capable, but some people naturally obtain understanding without that effort.

    Because of this natural ability to understand complex things, they advance much much faster than most people and this basically makes them a genius. It doesn't mean he is anymore likely to discover a theory of quantum gravity than your "average" physicist but what it does mean is that his brain is able to grasp things much faster.

    I agree that enviorment and health probably does have something to do with it but I often see people using this excuse, look through out history, most of the smartest people that ever lived had totally normal upbringings just like you or I do today.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  15. Nov 2, 2013 #14
    Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman were both on the physics faculty at Cal Tech. One of the grad students said something like "Murray was very, very smart but you thought if you worked very hard that someday you could be as smart has him. No one ever felt that way about Dick."
  16. Nov 2, 2013 #15


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    A similar story. David Friedman, a very smart guy and the son of Nobel laurel Milton Freidman, once said of Jon Von Neumann, "There are two kinds of really smart people in the world. Jon Von Neumann and all the rest".

    It's clear that no amount of study would ever make anyone as smart at math as von Neumann.
  17. Nov 2, 2013 #16


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  18. Nov 6, 2013 #17
    I think that it's an interesting question. The most interesting thing is a definition of the word 'genius'. Who is a 'genius'? Is it a man who can remember a lot of information or who can do a complicated computation in his head or who has graduated from the university in 18 or who was able to solve some problem that anybody couldn't solve before or who has discovered something new? I think that in the cases from the first to third a determinant is congenital abilities but in the forth and fifth cases they are less decisive. For example, guys who has discovered relict radiation were more ordinary people than 'genius' one's like Ramanujan. Another example is Zacharias Dase, the mental calculator, who was 'stupid' in conventional sense.

    So I think if you love your field of study it doesn't matter whether you are 'genius' or not.
  19. Nov 12, 2013 #18
    By using your brain more. The average human only uses some 4% of brain power.
  20. Nov 12, 2013 #19
  21. Nov 12, 2013 #20


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    I don't think you understand what you read. Please post your source here.
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