Bringing Out the Genius in Others

Bringing Out the Genius in Others

 

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this program and we’ve met a number of truly remarkable individuals. I’d like to say that you have everything you need to live as a true genius — but that isn’t really true. You see, there’s one thing that all our geniuses have in common that I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s something critically important too.

 

Despite the myth of the isolated loner writing a great novel in his log cabin, geniuses are almost never solitary individuals. On the contrary, they’re usually deeply involved with their families, their colleagues, and quite often with their enemies and rivals. Geniuses are usually surrounded by other people. Not just by yes men, either. Indeed, the final quality of genius I want to mention — and it’s far from the least important — is the power to bring out the genius in others.

 

How can you accomplish this? Well, many personal development programs stress the importance of finding role models or mentors. That is very important — but for bringing out genius in the people around you, the perspective needs to be reversed. You should be a mentor. You should be a role model, not just find one for yourself.

 

Geniuses in every field have certain characteristics in common. They’re inspired, they’re resilient, they’re focused –and most of them read a lot! Think back over the people we’ve discussed in this program. What characteristics do you share with Einstein, Edison, Churchill, and Lincoln? It would hardly come as a surprise if you were to choose one of those geniuses as a role model. But here’s a more pertinent question: when it comes to role models, would people choose you?

 

These common characteristics do not occur by chance, they are an integral part of goal attainment.  It is worth your time to analyze the constructive characteristics of people who are now where you would like to be– role models.  These are people to admire and emulate.  Your choices can include people who are dead or living as long as you are familiar with their personalities and accomplishments.

 

Harry Truman knew the value of role models.  When he was in the White House, he often went into the Lincoln bedroom, looked at the late president’s picture and asked, “What would Lincoln have done now?” The answers gave Truman the insight and direction he was seeking. It worked because Truman felt Lincoln was a man worth emulating. Do people feel that way about you?

 

In becoming a role model that can inspire genius in others, the following guidelines can really help:

 

First, keep off the pedestal. People will admire and emulate you because of what you’ve accomplished.  That’s good.  What’s not good is putting you above them, and trying to appear larger than life.  We are all human.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  You must not lose this perspective on yourself, or others will turn away from you.  And remember: isolation is contradictory to genius.

 

Second, focus on people’s strong points. To ignite and inspire genius, you need to see what an individual might need to emulate, and make a conscious effort to model those qualities. It’s a responsibility — not unlike being a parent — but it’s one that so many geniuses have willingly taken on. Edison had a whole army of assistants and colleagues, as did Walt Disney. Many of them went on to do great things in their own right.

 

Above all remain yourself — and give others freedom to do the same. Often the tendency when admiring someone is to try to become his or her clone. A genius doesn’t encourage that. A genius wants to be around other geniuses, not wannabes. That’s why the ability to bring out the genius in others is so rewarding.

 

So — go for it! Put this and everything else we’ve talked about genius into action and let it take you where you’re destined to go. Make the journey your intention, not the outcome. As the great Irish writer James Joyce put it, “Persons of genius make no mistakes. Their errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

 

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