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How Geniuses Live Their Lives Every Day

How Geniuses Live Their Lives Every Day

People often think of geniuses as unique thinkers that stand out from the crowd. Displaying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, they are known to lead movements or discoveries.

As a society molded upon the work of geniuses such as Einstein, Jobs, Plato, and Freud, we gain inspiration from them to achieve our own creative feats. Although studies prove that geniuses and gifted people display some similar traits and have high IQs, what we forget is how much focus and hard work they put into delivering their achievements—which is something we can all choose to do!

In my early elementary school days, I was a few years ahead of my peers in Math and English and had difficulty relating to them. I therefore spent a lot of time in solitude and taught myself how to read music and play the piano. Although the academic side came naturally to me, I put in a lot of work to developing my creative talents.

Although some child prodigies who master chess, math, or musical instruments at a young age do exist, studies show that not all geniuses are born that way. Einstein was slow to speak as a child and Steve Jobs dropped out of college.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Alfred Barrious, who studied geniuses such as Edison, Socrates, Da Vinci, and Shakespeare, discovered that all had 24 personality characteristics in common—which all of us can develop at any time.

Here are some everyday genius traits and habits you can master to maximize your creative abilities and live an exceptional life.

They are independent thinkers.

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    Geniuses don’t see the world through the same lens as the rest of society. They are not always accepting of the way things are. They question rules and challenge authority in order to explore all sides of a situation. It was only in challenging one of Newton’s theories that Einstein stumbled upon the theory of relativity.

    By looking beyond the status quo, you can discover and create beyond your wildest imagination. By acting like the rest of society, you won’t succeed or innovative past society. To achieve big, you need to think big. If greatness doesn’t already exist in an area you’re passionate about, discover it!

    Steve Jobs said he never performed market research before launching the Macintosh because the public had no idea what it wanted. Now, Apple is one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Innovation requires combining problem solving with logic and creativity. When you are presented with a so-called fact, start asking why and see if you can pull apart the reasoning.

    They take risks!

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      Vast success and growth comes from taking risks, whereas staying in your comfort zone causes you to stay stagnant. No great success or innovation came from not taking action or a risk to create something, go somewhere, or speak up. If Christopher Columbus didn’t take the risk to navigate across the Atlantic Ocean, he never would have began the colonization of the Americas.

      Hone in on your values and passions to determine what is worth taking a risk for. Then use logic, reason, and creativity to evaluate the level of risk and determine how to proceed.

      Part of being an independent thinker and taking risks requires you to speak up for what you truly believe in, even if it may cause some friction. The Greek philosopher Aristotle argued in his writings that the Earth was spherical, because of the circular shadow it cast on the Moon during a lunar eclipse, even when everyone believed the earth was flat.

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      They set high standards for themselves.

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        Successful people and geniuses don’t believe in just trying their best, they set deliberate goals and are determined to achieve their best, then continue to go beyond that. Average results are not acceptable! This mindset has led to some of the greatest discoveries in history, such as Isaac Newtown’s law of gravity and Alexander Bell’s invention of the telephone.

        Mimicking what others around you do does not lead to innovation. Pave your own path by deciding that average is not an option. Come up with a realistic plan to achieve your exceptional goals. Combining your passions with your talents, then deciding what areas you want to excel in, enables you to achieve whatever you set your mind to.

        When I first started competing in triathlons, I had a few months to train for my first Olympic-distance race. Although everyone around me said the average person does it in around 3 hours, I knew I excelled at the sport and decided I didn’t want to be average. So I calculated my pace in each leg and came up with realistic training goals to achieve a time that was appropriate and challenging for me. When race day came, I achieved my above-average time goal.

        By setting high standards for yourself in different areas of your life, you really can achieve excellence and lead a life you are proud of.

        They strive for perfection.

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          Geniuses create their own definition of perfection and don’t accept anything less than that. They take society’s definition of perfect to the next level by adding their own creative stamp to it. When others stop and are satisfied enough with what they have created, a genius will continue on to the next level. This leads to innovation and advancements beyond what has previously been achieved.

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          When Jobs was first working on the iPod, his idea of perfection was that that it would only take three clicks to get to any song in the iPod library. He told his engineering team, “Don’t show it to me until you can get it in three clicks.”

          Create your own definition of perfection and strive to achieve it, even if the solution is not apparent in the beginning. Perfectionism is constantly evolving. Master an area in your life that is important to you and continue to grow and create updated versions of perfection.

          They inspire others to also reach their greatness.

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            Geniuses often have teams around them to support them when achieving their feats and discoveries. Their team members believe in their vision and are inspired to bring out their own greatness to support this mission.

            Job’s didn’t build all of Apple’s products alone—he had engineering and product teams that believed in and supported his vision. When employees or colleagues claimed that a task was impossible, Jobs would just stare at them and say, “Don’t be afraid. You can do it.”

            The best way to teach and inspire others is by your behavior and achievements. Going after what is important to you in your life in a consistent and determined way will encourage your peers around you to do the same. Focus on reaching your greatness by directing dynamic energy and optimism towards your goals. Then, get others to believe in your vision and achieve their own greatness by communicating your ideas to them in a persuasive way.

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            They foster focus and drive.

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              Geniuses focus on one problem at a time without many distractions. Goal-driven individuals know the more intensely you concentrate your thoughts and attention and are emotionally involved with a problem or goal, the more likely it is that your mind will respond with the kind of creative ideas that you need.

              To successfully foster focus, a lot of geniuses choose to spend more time in solitude than the average person. A study lead by PhD candidate Darya Zabelina showed that people who were less able to ignore distractions and had to spend more time in solitude were more likely to do great creative work. Sensitivity to noise and stimuli, so the argument goes, drives creative achievement. So don’t ignore the urge to spend time working in solitude to achieve your goals.

              With their fast-thinking minds, curiosity, and desire to know, most geniuses have a lot of energy and drive. They dedicate this energy towards the projects they are passionate about achieving success in.

              You are born with your own unique set of gifts and talents. You are also born with a certain amount of energy. By combining your gifts with your passions and focusing your drive and energy in this area, you can achieve phenomenal results. Try it!

              They are persistent.

              Geniuses and successful people don’t believe in the word impossible or that something can’t be done. In fact, they come up with creative ways to prove naysayers wrong. If you can dream it, you can create it. This attitude leaves no room for limitations, fear, or accepting failure. A lot of great success stories began with many failures. Henry Ford’s first two car businesses folded before he achieved success with the Ford Motor Company. Geniuses look at failures as ways to grow, learn, and move forward.

              By continuing to work towards what you believe in and want to achieve, even if you have to pick yourself back up after falling, is what will lead to long-term success. To keep up the momentum, stay devoted to your goals and take control of your life and schedule. Start by planning something specific to accomplish each day. Remember a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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              Featured photo credit: Barn Images via flickr.com

              More by this author

              Kelly Weiss

              Purpose-driven business + lifestyle coach

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              Last Updated on July 21, 2021

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

              No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

              Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

              Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

              A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

              Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

              In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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              From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

              A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

              For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

              This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

              The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

              That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

              Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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              The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

              Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

              But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

              The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

              The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

              A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

              For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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              But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

              If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

              For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

              These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

              For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

              How to Make a Reminder Works for You

              Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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              Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

              Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

              My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

              Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

              I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

              More on Building Habits

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Reference

              [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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