On becoming a genius

At an age when most parents are giving up their driving licenses, my mom just purchased on Audi A6. Amazing car, but coming from a 2004 Lexus, it is like going from a car to a spaceship. While she is a good driver, all those years of driving experience are not enough to navigate the current technology.

(Example: Looking at the information screen, my mom queries, “What’s a Wi-Fi hot spot?” I respond, “Don’t worry about it. If you get one, just put calamine lotion on it.”) 

It has been said that it is harder to learn new things as we age, but a willingness to learn and change makes it easier.

Innovation is not just for technology. It is always time to learn something new. It is always time to innovate. Even though some of us may have “all that leadership experience” it could be time to test-drive new style and substance and see where it might get you. 

When I was a GM, on occasion, when people would ask me what I do, I would quip, “Nothing well, specifically. That’s why they call me a ‘general’ manager.” But the truth is that the title doesn’t match the task. I prefer to think GM stands for “genius mentality.” I don’t mean to be arrogant, but it is possible for anyone to access genius mentality as needed. For one thing, put all your attention on a particular task at hand. If you can, learn to meditate or find a way to turn off the familiar noise so new information can come through. One of my favorite quotes on being a genius comes from philosopher and oft-called “father of American psychology” William James:

“Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.”

Makes sense, sure, but how to access a new way of perceiving things? 

Shortly, I will be hanging up this space and will introduce a new blog that is about thinking differently. My partner Holly Stiel and I are interested in new thinking, “enlightened leadership” that delivers results in an innovative, yet powerful way for companies that wish to excel at what they do.

In the meantime, whatever your title, whatever you do, have fun innovating it. Perceive what you do as a genius might.