Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Genius points set you apart

Genius is not the sole domain of a rare breed. Both you and I are entitled to that label and to play in that space if we choose. Here’s the big idea: focus on any area or skill with a relentless devotion to daily improvement and a passion for excellence. Within a few years, you will be operating at a level of competence and insight such that people start calling you a genius. Focus, daily improvement and time make a genius. Understand that and life will never be the same.

Michael Jordan was a basketball genius. His spectacular success on court wasn’t a result of natural gifts. He took what nature gave him and ran the formula on focus, daily improvement and time. He didn’t try to be good at five different sports. He didn’t scatter his focus. He just devoted himself to being brilliant at basketball. And he was.

Thomas Edison registered a stunning 1093 patents over his lifetime and invented the light bulb as well as the phonograph. A schoolteacher had labeled him a slow learner when he was a child; he didn’t listen. Kudos. He didn’t try to be a great merchant and a great poet and a great musician. He focussed on his inventions. And he let time work its magic.

Reminds me of a story about Pablo Picasso. One day, a woman spotted him in the market and pulled out a piece of paper. “Mr Picasso,” she said excitedly, “I’m a big fan. Please, could you do a little drawing for me?” Picasso quickly etched out a piece of art for her. As he handed it back to her, he said, “That will be a million dollars.” “But,” the flustered woman replied, “it only took you 30 seconds to do this.” Picasso laughed, “It took me 30 years to do that masterpiece in 30 seconds.”

Know what you can excel at. Discover your talents and then work hard to polish them. The most important of all personal leadership skills is self-awareness. Find your genius-points and then work on them.
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