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stump's avatar

Is it possible to codify the mental steps necessary to achieve genius?

Asked by stump (3835points) February 18th, 2010

Many artists have personal rituals they feel are necessary to get in the ‘zone’ or ‘groove’, etc. Can these personal rituals be generalized so that the necessary mental and emotional transitions are understood. And if so, can a universal ritual, or series of rituals be constructed that would lead anyone to achieve genius?

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42 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

I read a wide variety of books from D&D to physics and watch intelligent TV…I used to play “Mike Tyson’s Super Punch Out” for self confidence…some genius is just recognizing patterns and using tricks.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t think so.One either has the capacity or they don’t.

Trillian's avatar

I believe we can expand our capacity by reading. And more reading. And then we need to read some more.

stump's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille But not everyone who has the capacity achieves genius. Would it be possible to design a ritual that brought it out of you if you had that capacity?

talljasperman's avatar

@stump The ritual you seek is called school

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Personally I believe that no one can “achieve” genius. You can develop skills over years of hard work and become a very skilled artist/musician/whatever, but some people are just born with an advanced capability for certain things. Be thankful if you’re not one of them, because being a genius is a very lonely position.

As for your question… I agree with @Trillian about reading. It definitely expands our minds in so many ways. As for a particular activity like painting or playing music, constantly playing or painting is the best way to get “in the zone.” It’s easy to lose the feel for an art if you drop it for even a couple weeks. I don’t think you can get a specific universal ritual, but repetition and totally immersing oneself into their art is definitely the best way to do one’s personal best.

Cruiser's avatar

You can study all you want become real smart and never be a genius. The ability to understand, process and utilize information at genius level I believe is something that you are born with. Otherwise Mensa would have a much larger membership base.

marinelife's avatar

I think this idea overlooks the innate nature of genius. That is, that the genius resides in the individual’s cells, a gift of their DNA.

It is not a process, which could be copied to produce similar results.

It is not a process at all, but instead it often employs intuitive leaps.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I don’t have an answer. I was two paragraphs into more bloviation than usual and I gave up.

Genius, to me, seems to be about playing. If you are good enough at any craft or enterprise to the point where doing it seems to be the same as playing a game, then you will have achieved genius.

stump's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Bring on the bloviation (great word!)
Well that is depressing. I was hoping to be a genius someday. I already read alot and stuff. I was hoping someone knew some secret. Oh well. Maybe I will try that Mike Tyson game.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@stump You don’t have to be a genius to become wildly successful. Bill Gates may be a genius, but that doesn’t mean every multi-millionaire CEO has that kind of intellect! They just know how to make the system work for their benefit. Or they’re just lucky. Or they have good connections. It’s usually the latter.

BoBo1946's avatar

if someone does, please let me know!

TooBlue's avatar

That would require rewiring of the brain since our neurotransmitters and brain cells create the thoughts and other processes needed to be a “genius”.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@stump don’t give up so easily.

I’m reading Joshua Slocum’s book Sailing Alone Around the World, the account of his journey begun in 1896 in the sloop Spray, a boat which he rebuilt from a decaying hulk after his 50th birthday, then outfitted and sailed by himself. By all accounts, Slocum was an accomplished sailor, and had been for many years… a man who had a third grade education when he ran away to sea at age 14. But he lived that life and had extraordinary accomplishments that finally led him to attempt the first-in-the-world attempt at a solo circumnavigation. And he lived to write about it… think of that! A man with a third-grade education who did something that no one in the world up to that time had ever done… and then wrote a book about the account, and the book became a best-seller, too.

If that’s not genius, then I don’t know what is. (It’s a great book even today. I had no idea.)

Just_Justine's avatar

A lot of “genius” was simply hard work. Which I guess is pretty obvious, as “dendrites” grow beyond normal length through use.

wundayatta's avatar

The proverb goes: “Genius is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.”

I think that’s true. I also think you can work on both inspiration and perspiration, although I’m not sure I would call it rituals. As @talljasperman said, the first part of it is school. The next part is working obsessively at some area of interest.

The inspiration part arises, I believe out of know a lot about a lot of things. So, even though you are working obsessively on one thing, you still have to pay attention to many other things. Genius, I believe, comes from putting two disparate ideas together to make a big advance.

My father thought I was going to be a genius because of some stupid dream he had when I was born. He has always made it clear that I have failed to fulfill his dream. Which means he basically thinks I’m a failure, period. I suppose there was an outside chance that I could have become a genius if I had been willing to do the perspiration part of the equation—the obsessive working. But I’m way too lazy for that. Thus I shall never, ever make my father happy.

Of course, if I did believe in the “innate” school of thought about genius, then there would be no chance, in my case. However, I think that what people don’t see is all the work that goes into a “talent.” They call my son talented when he plays piano. He plays above his age and has musical expression. What they don’t know about is that he has practiced six days a week since he was four and a half. I made sure he did it.

phoebusg's avatar

I agree with the above, so to not overlap. I’ll focus on the reasons that stop us from achieving a ‘genius’ stage. And they simply are self-imposed restrictions, an identity we apply to ourselves that also usually feeds off the feedback from others. So first off, if you think you can’t do it – how will you? If it’s not physically possible to, let physics and the world be your restrictions. Try to take down all restrictions inside your mind – anyone can do anything without those. But we don’t, because some of those restrictions are hard to abandon. Next – it’s simply what you focus your mental/physical energy on as it is very well explored above.

candide's avatar

what makes you think genius is something that can be achieved? Well, okay, so I suppose you could apply to Apple…

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes! The final step is often described as

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

(because of Fluther bug please add closing parenthesis in URL)

The article gives only a rough idea about previous steps that are necessary to reach the ultimate mental state of operation called “Flow”:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.

To find out more about the codification of all mental steps necessary to achieve genius you need to read some of Csíkszentmihályi’s books, for example

http://www.amazon.com/Creativity-Flow-Psychology-Discovery-Invention/dp/0060928204/

“Based on interviews with 91 internationally recognized creative people-among them Nobel physicist John Bardeen, arts administrator-performer Kitty Carlisle Hart, writer Denise Levertov, jazz musician Oscar Peterson, electronics executive Robert Galvin-this book offers a highly readable anatomy of creativity. As Csikzentmihalyi (Flow) argues, creativity requires not only unusual individuals, but a culture and field of experts that can foster and validate such work. Most creative people, the author suggests, have dialectic personalities: smart yet naive, both extroverted and introverted, etc. Expanding on his previous book, Csikszentmihalyi suggests that complex and challenging work exemplifies fully engaged “flow.” Synthesizing study results, he reports that none of the interviewees was popular during adolescence; while they were not necessarily more brilliant than their college peers, they displayed more “concentrated attention.” Later, they kept a consistent focus on future work. The author reminds us that while individuals can make their own opportunities, a supportive society offering resources and rewards can foster creativity.”

CMaz's avatar

No, because “genius” is subjective.

galileogirl's avatar

Step 1-be born with the necessary talent and/or intelligence
Step 2-use it

Sonnerr's avatar

Algorithm is one helluva drug

BoBo1946's avatar

Genius is an African who dreams up snow.
Vladimir Nabokov

BoBo1946's avatar

@Just_Justine loll…tell Vladimir! Seriously, in Africa?

BoBo1946's avatar

oh, probably the northern part!

stump's avatar

@BoBo1946 On the mountain peaks.

Just_Justine's avatar

@BoBo1946 and @stump indeed, on the mountainous areas as well as quite far down into the mid lands. We also have a ski resort. Now, where do I find this Vladimir? loll.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Just_Justine LMAO…....helleva I know!

davidbetterman's avatar

LOL…If you have to ask….

mattbrowne's avatar

@ChazMaz – Subjective? I can’t fully agree. There are Nobel Prize committees, music awards, Oscars etc. Yes, of course there are a few odd personal views like Sarah Palin is a genius or someone thinks the guy in the Punxsutawney high school band playing the trombone is the number one jazz genius in the world. In this case subjective, granted. In general? I don’t think so.

janbb's avatar

Try reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He has synthesized some novel ideas about what it takes to be a genius.

CMaz's avatar

We might have developed a chart, to gauge what “genius” is.
Get a group of people together and you make a “standard.”

If I need my car fixed. I will go to the neighborhood mechanic.

That Nobel Prize winner serves me no purpose. I see no “genius” in them.

The “genius” is the mechanic, fixing my car.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

A genius is someone able to perform at the highest measurable levels on a standardized measure of intelligence. Without the fortuitous natural endowment required to perform at that level, others simply will never achieve genius. They may still be highly accomplished in some areas and amaze may around them.

Someone with the built in capacity and sufficient nurturance. and environmental stimulation and challenge will be able to achieve their full potential. Whether they act wisely and use their gifts well depends on their personality and their socialization.

There are no steps that lead all persons to achieve genius.

PacificToast's avatar

I think not. I’m pretty sure that these special rituals are all in the genius’s head, and have nothing to do with greatness. Unless of course you are praying, in which case, that is not your head, but God doing great things through you.

CMaz's avatar

@PacificToast – Ya almost had me. :-)

YARNLADY's avatar

It doesn’t even make sense. If everyone was a genius, we would just all be average.

CMaz's avatar

@YARNLADY -THAT is genius!

talljasperman's avatar

@YARNLADY when you compare it to the old average then it is net growth…we are all genuis when compared to cavemen (or the pervoius generations)

YARNLADY's avatar

@talljasperman So, that’s the answer, just be born after our parents and it’s a given.

candide's avatar

You’re all making this way too complicated – just dabble in IT, apply for a position with Apple stores, and voilà! They print you out a set of your own business cards with the word GENIUS after your name – what an occupation!

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