If I asked you to name 3 people who worked in the Genius Zone, there is a high chance it may include:
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Italian Genius of the Renaissance; inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, musician, mathematician, engineer, writer, anatomist, geologist, botanist, writing, historian, and cartographer!
Da Vinci is considered one of the greatest painters of all time; the “Mona Lisa” is the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world, and the “The Last Supper” is the western world’s most recognizable paintings and the most reproduced religious painting of all time. One of Da Vinci's famous quotes: “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), a German-born physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is considered one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 (his Nobel Prize was for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, not for the theory of relativity).
One of his famous quotes: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) was a polish naturalized French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific fields.
One of her famous quotes: “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now it is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Everybody is a Genius
All three esteemed personalities above greatly deserve the title Genius; but Einstein said: “Everybody is a genius.” He was right about that and many other things too, but how to get into your Genius Zone?
Gay Hendricks, psychologist and author of the “Big Leap” and “The Joy of Genius” explains in the “Big Leap” that people operate within 4 different zones:
- The Zone of Incompetence where you do things that you inherently do not understand or are not skilled at. Most of us avoid spending too much time there (although surprisingly there are lots of people who are not aware of what they’re not good at – I’m sure you know someone!)
- The Zone of Competence where you do things that you are good at, but somebody else could do them just as well thus not distinguishing your capabilities in any significant way.
- The Zone of Excellence where you get a lot of reward for your competence and if it is your profession, where you are likely to make a reasonable living.
- The Zone of Genius is the zone where you capitalize on your natural abilities which are innate rather than learned. This is the state in which you get into ‘flow,’ find inspiration in an effortless manner and where you seem to come up with work that is distinguished and unique but also do so in a way that excels far and beyond what anyone else is doing.
Hendricks then explains:
“Most successful people are operating in their zone of excellence, in which they are doing things at which they are highly skilled. This zone is ultimately unsatisfying, though, because it does not engage the innate genius of the individual.”
If you are stuck in the Zone of Excellence you are likely making your friends and family happy and doing things that you are excellent at, but don’t let yourself get stuck there. The Zone of Genius is where you NEED to spend more time.
Everyone has a dream but not everyone realizes them. Much misery in life arises from people who are waking up every day doing things that don’t challenge them. Gay Hendricks is encouraging everyone to spend more time in their Zone of Genius by making a small commitment every day to devote some time (start with 10 minutes every day) to operate within their Zone of Genius. Out of that commitment, a new wealth of ideas will come forth.
We all have hidden potential that can be made to the surface. We are so much more than we can imagine.
Let your genius out of that genie bottle.