What makes a genius? I don’t believe that certain individuals are born genetically different from us, “born” to be geniuses. No–a genius is simply someone with monster-like courage, a relentless vision, and someone who is brave enough NOT to compromise their ideals.
1. Steve Jobs
For example I consider Steve Jobs a genius not because he was some sort of herald of the future who had some extra-human ability to read into the future; no, I consider him a genius because he had the courage and audacity to believe what he considered good beautiful and useful.
For example he wasn’t willing to compromise his artistic vision, and pushed others to achieve what they didn’t even think was possible.
For example, when working on the Mac, he was dissatisfied how slow the Mac booted up. The engineer said there was nothing the engineer could do to make the Mac boot up faster. Steve then says something like:
Imagine if the computer booting up even a minute faster (multipled to millions of people), would equal to YEARS of life and productivity being saved.
The engineer then went back to the chopping block and voila, discovered a new way to make the Mac boot up faster!
Steve Jobs’ genius:
- Believing in the great abilities of others
- Cultivating an “A+ team”
- Challenging the status quo
- Having a singular artistic vision
- Calling out BS
- Striving towards the “insanely great”.
2. Kanye West
“I just think geniuses are kids with great parents.” – Kanye West
Why I consider Kanye West a genius:
He is insanely courageous.
He has the courage to say what’s on his mind (and has the courage to say what’s on the mind of others!)
Speaking up on behalf of others
George Bush doesn’t care about black people.
This is what was on EVERYONE’S mind:
Why did it take Bush so long before calling in help?
Kanye’s thought was:
Bush took so long, because he doesn’t really care for black people.
Another sentiment that the public was thinking:
Perhaps Bush doesn’t care for black people as much as Bush does for white people.
Genius as cross-pollinating
Also Kanye’s musical genius:
Breaking boundaries in music.
- Jesus Walks: first rap song about Jesus which was actually cool.
- 808s and Heartbreaks: Auto tune and rapping a new sound.
- Yeezus: Rock and heavy metal music and hip hop.
- The Life of Pablo/Jesus is King: Gospel rap music.
The genius has courage to NOT see boundaries in art. And if the genius sees boundaries, the genius decides to ignore or DESTROY the boundaries!
3. Elon Musk
Elon Musk as a genius, not because he has super-human intelligence, but because:
- He’s crazy enough and willing to risk it all (he has, many times).
- His ruthless dedication — note his sleeping bag.
- His thinking in “first principles”. No belief that things are inherently “impossible”. Just difficult.
- Willingness to pursue entrepreneurship as “chewing on glass and staring into the abyss”.
- Design genius: Cares deeply about aesthetics. Musk as a true artist-engineer.
Musk as having this true vision to go to space and colonize Mars. What a dream. What a grand vision. This is what makes him a genius.