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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.

              Featured photo credit: Barn Images via flickr.com

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              Kelly Weiss

              Purpose-driven business + lifestyle coach

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              Last Updated on December 2, 2019

              How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

              How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

              Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

              I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

              Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

              How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

              Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

              Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

              At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

              Want to know the good news?

              No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

              All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

              1. Develop a Positive Mindset

              If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

              According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

              That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

              Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

              Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

              Absolutely!

              But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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              Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

              Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

              It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

              “I’m not smart enough to…”

              “I don’t have enough experience to…”

              “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

              When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

              If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

              When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

              • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
              • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
              • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

              Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

              Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

              All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

              But this isn’t true!

              If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

              If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

              When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

              Ditch the Dwelling

              Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

              Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

              When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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              But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

              The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

              Easier said than done, right? Try these:

              1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
              2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
              3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
              4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

              The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

              Be Patient about the Process

              No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

              Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

              If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

              To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

              2. Connect with Your Purpose

              One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

              If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

              Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

              Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

              Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

              “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

              One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

              Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

              Find Intrinsic Motivation

              Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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              Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

              But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

              If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

              3. Find Strength in Unity

              The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

              Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

              Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

              If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

              If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

              Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

              The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

              A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

              If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

              Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

              Recruit Some Cheerleaders

              If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

              Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

              As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

              Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

              Form an Accountability Group

              Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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              Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

              Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

              Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

              Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

              4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

              Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

              As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

              We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

              When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

              • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
              • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
              • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
              • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
              • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
              • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

              Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

              Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

              Tying it All Together

              Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

              But here’s the bottom line:

              A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

              No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

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              Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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