The Genius Process

Genius is not genetic. Mastery comes through a process.

We have this notion that great geniuses or creative people like an Einstein or a Da Vinci or Steve Jobs – these people are born that way as if it’s a genetic thing that they have some kind of chromosome that makes them more talented.  And it’s just a bunch of nonsense.  This kind of mastery comes through a process.  A process that’s linked to the brain, to how we learn.  It’s all based very deeply in neuroscience.  And I can show you in the book step by step by step how someone like an Albert Einstein spent those 10,000 hours and was able to come up with a special theory of relativity.  And so that’s what mastery basically is.  And it’s not intimidating.  


If you’re so deeply engrossed in a field that you love whether it’s music or sports or dancing or interviewing people for Big Think, you’re not even aware of the 100 hours, the 500 hours that you’re putting into it because you love what you’re doing.  There was a famous book that a lot of people have probably heard about called Flow written in the ‘70s by a very famous sociologist/psychologist who demonstrated that people who love their work and get very deeply engaged and enter a state that he calls flow where they’re not even aware of the passage of time.

You know, if you think about the 10,000 hours you go, “Oh my God.  I could never get there. What a drag.  It’s not worth it.”  But really if you’re at a job that you hate and the time is going slowly and you’re unhappy, it’s a lot worse than the possible hours you might have to put in to mastering a field. The process itself is actually a very exciting rewarding process.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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