“Contrary to what we’ve been taught, genes do not determine physical and character traits on their own. Rather, they interact with the environment in a dynamic, ongoing process that produces and continually refines an individual” ~ David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us.
The concept of ‘genius’ has gone through many incarnations over the years. According to Dean Keith Simonton, Professor of Psychology University of California, when the Roman’s ruled they determined that genius was something all of us had within us, like a guardian sprit or angel. That guardian is what made a person unique.
It wasn’t until Michelangelo and Da Vinci, that the word genius became synonymous with possessing extraordinary talent. To be put in that category a person had to produce work that was both original and exemplary. One look at DaVinci’s portfolio of accomplishments and it’s evident that there was nothing ordinary about his ideas, inventions, and innovations. That type of genius was certainly reserved for a select few.
Then in the early 1900’s the French government commissioned psychologist Alfred Binet to develop the world’s first intelligence test to help identify and predict the performance of school children. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, as it became known, was later administered to new immigrants at Ellis Island as well as to evaluate and assign U.S. army recruits.
But even Binet didn’t believe that an individual’s score reflected their innate intelligence and abilities. He maintained that intelligence was far too complex to be boiled down to one test score. He suggested that variables such as motivation also played a big role in determining a person’s abilities.
Fast-forward to more modern times and IQ became the barometer for determining genius. In the 1960’s the new standard for evaluating IQ was the Wechsler test which updated the Stanford-Binet test by including the measurement of non-intellective factors such as confidence, fear of failure, and attitudes. This test is still used today.
Very few of us test at the genius level – less than 1% of the population. But what if you feel you were destined for something great, something your IQ score doesn’t reflect? Does that preclude you from getting your Mensa membership? Well, yes. But it also doesn’t preclude you from having an extraordinary life.
When you combine your deepest passion with a tenacious sense of purpose, when you nurture your special traits and practice proven work habits you have a great chance to fulfill your ultimate potential and let your inner genius shine. It’s time to find out what your unique gift, talent, and genius is.