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Sunday, April 7, 2013

The "genius" fallacy.

     Most people love to look at the life of somebody like Mozart and say, 'Oh, Mozart was a genius. He was born with genius. Heck, he was composing music at five-years-old.'
      Do you know what those people are really saying? 'Well, you either are born with genius or you're not, so I obviously am not, so there's  no real reason to work hard at developing whatever talents I may have.' In other words, it's an excuse and a rationalization not to try.
      If you examine Mozart's life, you will find that he worked tirelessly at improving his ability to write music. And yes, he composed  music at five, but that music was rudimentary compared to what he would compose later on. And many people in the arts or sports start very young. (Tiger Woods was hitting golf balls at two.)
     Everyone is born with innate "genius." Pablo Picasso said:

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

     And how to remain an artist as one grows up is hard work. Michelangelo wrote:

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.

Tell people, 'You too can paint like Michelangelo if you work your butt off!' That I assure you, most people do not want to hear.

     Edison famously wrote:

Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.

     One more. This  from Teilhard de Chardin:

All progress is inevitably accompanied by strife and shock... Evolution never happens without work and suffering. It is not enough to let oneself be borne passively along by it; man must collaborate in the event.

     So next time you're tempted to sit back on your butt and say, 'Wow, I could never do something like that. That person must be a genius' remember that you're a genius too—and get to work.

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