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.

60 Second Reads are recorded directly from experts in Big Think's studio. 

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