Do YOU reveal the characteristics of a genius?
According to Tony Buzan, these are the tell-tale characteristics of a genius. Read through the following list and see how many you recognize in yourself. You could be a genius for all we know! Don’t worry though if you are sadly lacking in the characteristics of a genius. You can still learn how to become a genius whatever your age. So, there’s still hope!
Here then are the main characteristics of recognized geniuses with a description and tips, where appropriate, on how to develop that characteristic.
1. Vision This characteristic of genius concerns how clear and compelling the genius’ vision of their life’s chief goal is. Geniuses formulate very clear and precise inner pictures of what they want to accomplish, how they will do it, and the success they achieve. If you want to develop this genius character trait, get in touch with your main values, your life purpose, and forge an exciting and fulfilling ambition to work towards. Keep working to become clearer and more specific about it. Put 100% of your passion into it. Example: Muhammad Ali, boxing genius, and his powerful vision of himself as The Greatest.
Desire as a characteristic of a genius has been labelled, by author Jack M. Zufelt, as The DNA of Success. The core desire of geniuses is so powerful and all consuming that they will let nothing stop them from acheiving their goal. Think of Thomas Edison‘s unrelenting commitment to inventing the first working light bulb. Geniuses speak of having a ‘burning’ passion or being consumed with the desire to achieve their goal. Can you imagine what you could achieve if YOU had that level of DESIRE in your life? Build this genius characteristic into your life by fanning the flames of your chief interests and aims. Build a momentum behind your desire.
You might not have thought of this as one of the characteristic of a genius. I know I didn’t! But what this means is that geniuses have faith in themselves and their own mental abilities to achieve their goals. They also demonstrate faith in the Mastermind Group they build to support them. This mental fortitude is so important especially when you are bringing something very new and innovative to the world. You have to have faith in yourself to overcome resistance to your new genius ideas and products. Start to build faith in yourself in small ways. When you say you are going to do something, do it.
4. Commitment This characteristic of genius is described as a determined decision to act on the vision, desire and faith previously mentioned. Most geniuses make some kind of public declaration of their intent which demonstrates their commitment. You can build this trait by writing down your goals and making your goals known to others. This will create extra pressure and help you commit to achieving what you want to do. You’ll face ridicule if you don’t carry through so this forces you to commit. Example: Think of JFK’s commitment to the Space program which saw man walk on the moon within a decade.
Geniuses demonstrate a remarkable ability to make specific workable plans to accomplish their chief aims in life. Do you have that characteristic of genius? I’m not sure that I do! But geniuses can plan in the short-term, medium-term and long-term. Brian Tracy says that one of the defining characteristics of millionaires is the ability to think long-term. It’s not surprising geniuses think like that too.
Genius isn’t just about thinking smart. It involves tremendous amounts of energy too. Let’s face it geniuses are grafters. You don’t get to hear about any lazy geniuses! There is too much to accomplish to sit around wasting time. Maybe that’s why persistence is one of the main characteristics of a genius? They are just so tenacious and stick-to-the-task like superglue! Why don’t you push yourself the extra mile in what you do? You may surprise yourself and discover you can be persistent to. I think of persistence as ‘concentration-in-action’.
7. Learning From Mistakes
In NLP, there is a saying, There is no failure, only feedback. This has been ‘hi-jacked’ straight from geniuses! As a characteristic of genius, this means that geniuses see all errors and mistakes as tremendous learning opportunities. Multi-millionaire business guru, Michael Masterson, recently launched a book called READY, FIRE, AIM. This takes the genius perspective that it is better to get going straight away, and then learn from your mistakes as you are moving along, than to try and figure out the perfect solution from the get go. Like flying a plane or sailing a boat, you are always making mistakes and course correcting. Geniuses do this BIG time! When you make a mistake, ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this? How can I improve and do better next time?’
8. Subject Knowledge
Geniuses are greedy-guts for knowledge! If you guzzle down books by the bucketload, maybe you have this characteristic of a genius. If you hang out in the non-fiction section of the library, or are curious about everything, or are a Wikipedia junkie, you might be on your way to genius. Geniuses build vast knowledge about the specialized subjects and about the world in general. They love to learn! Do you?
9. Mental Literacy
As a characteristic of genius, knowing about the brain and how it works might seem like something as new as neuroscience itself. But it’s important to note that geniuses have always placed placed great importance on their thinking organ: the brain! You can develop this genius characteristic by learning about the brain, and about how to develop your memory, use thinking skills, learn, and be creative.
Imagination rules the world, claimed Napoleon. It certainly rules the world of geniuses. How else could they plan and make vivid goals without the ability to visualize and imagine themselves having done it? Develop your imagination through using it more often. Improve your visualization skills and you’ll soon have this genius trait. To imagine means to set your inner ‘image engine’ running! Look out the window. Can you imagine what it would be like to actually be that bird flying across the sky?
11. Positive Attitude
Why is a positive attitude such an important characteristic of genius? It doesn’t take much to figure it out. If you have a negative attitude, you will believe it can’t be done, and you will give up too soon. Geniuses are possibility thinkers. They always think in terms of things being possible somehow. They remain optimistic, upbeat and have a pragmatic ‘can-do’ attitude to everything. What about you? Do you have this optimistic, happy-go-lucky characteristic of a genius, like Mozart did?
Psychologists suggest that 90% of our self-talk is negative and self-defeating. Oops! Compare that to geniuses who are completely the opposite with 90% of their self-talk being positive and supportive. Do you see a clue? I think I do! Never mind the neighbours, get into the habit of talking positively to yourself out loud! Think of your sporting heroes who shout encouragement to themselves and pound their fists into the air during a match — there’s a whole lot of positive self-talk going on there! Repeat: I am a genius! I have all the characteristics of a genius!
This is a toughie to comprehend because intuition is such an abstract concept. But this genius characteristic is very pronounced. Tony Buzan calls it a kind of “Super Logic in which the human brain compares its historical matrix of multiple quadrillions of bits of data with a new matrix of experience.” Hmm, nice one, thanks Tony! What he means is that intuition is where your unconscious mind cross references your learnt knowledge with your experiential knowledge and spits out wisdom! Damn it, that’s too complicated too. Let’s just say you get a feeling or sense of what is the right thing — and you listen to it!
14. Mastermind Group (real)
Geniuses don’t exist in the ivory towers that we tend to think of them inhabiting. Most geniuses have other great minds around them. Napoleon Hill identified the concept of the Mastermind Group in Think and Grow Rich. It seems that all geniuses have a posse of advisers, guides and friends that they call upon to help further their goals. What about YOU? Have you got smart people in your genius posse? Are your pals supporting you? Maybe you want to work on this characteristic of genius? Get a group of people you admire, like and who stimulate you that you can meet with and discuss your plans.
15. Mastermind Group (internal)
Most geniuses have role models that they admire and try to emulate. Look at your book shelves, look for posters on your walls. Is this one of your characteristics of a genius? Do you have a hero that you want to be like? Napoleon Hill developed a ‘crazy’ idea. He used his imagination to visualize meeting his heroes and discussing his plans with them. These ‘meetings’ got so real and life-like that at first he got a bit scared. That’s the power of your genius mind and creativity. Try this out yourself. It frees up your mind to come up with unexpected answers to your challenges.
16. Truth / Honesty
William Shakespeare wrote, To Thine Own Self Be True, and it’s a characteristic of genius to live by that creed. But geniuses don’t limit honesty to themselves. They hold Truth to be one of their foremost values, so they are honest and truthful to everyone around them. Ooh, that’s gonna be a hard one to live up too, don’t you think? “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Who said that? Albert Einstein. ‘Nuff said!
17. Facing Fears / Courage
Geniuses don’t have less fear than you or I. In fact, their awareness and senses are so great that their feelings are magnified. They see deeper and feel deeper fear. But the defining characteristic of a genius is that he acts in spite of his or her fear. Geniuses, as we have discovered, have such compelling reasons to live, that they are incredibly courageous in the face of their fears and challenges. Quite a lot to live up to!
18. Creativity / Flexibility
Having the mental fluidity to think swiftly, generate new ideas, and consider alternatives is amongst the classic characteristics of a genius. This trait is best summarized as having a mercurial, associative mind. That means a mind that is quick to generate lots of unique options and insights. You can develop this sort of mind by using techniques such as lateral thinking and mind-mapping. Edward de Bono and Tony Buzan are real masters at teaching this.
19. Love of the Task
This characteristic of a genius is really exemplified by those who love their subjects so passionately that they feel compelled to teach it to others. This is the abiding sense of care and responsibility towards knowledge. It reveals the deep desire to help others come to know and love the subject as the genius does. It also entails just the passion for the tasks that need to be done to accomplish the great goal. A da Vinci might have a goal to paint a portrait that is so lifelike and that conveys the essence or soul of the person. But he still loves the task of mixing the paints, preparing the canvas, and ensuring everything is to order. Geniuses live in the moment like that, attending to the task at hand with a fierce love and attention.
20. ENERGY (physical / sensual / sexual)
There is something about creative genius that seems to be filled with an abundance of physical, sensual and sexual energy. A quick scan of the biographies of geniuses throughout history will show their enormous appetite for sex (think of Bach with his, what was it, 18 kids?!). Napoleon Hill covers this in his Think and Grow Rich book, too, in the chapter on Sex Transmutation. You can learn to harness your powerful physical energies to empower your pursuit of your major chief aims in life. So, are you filled with this characteristic of a genius? Is there an over-abundance of lusty, passionate, sensual energy in you? If not, have you locked it away? Can you let it out? It’s there to fuel your mind as much as anything!
There you have it. The 20 characteristics of a genius. If you’d like to read more about these characteristics, please refer to the book, Buzan’s Book of Genius, by Tony Buzan.