Can your Genes make you Genius?

A Genius in making! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Is ability to become a genius a genetic phenomenon? None from family of Albert Einstein, who was undoubtedly one of the greatest geniuses, parents or grandparents, was known to be genius in any field. From his first wife, who also studied science, he had 1 daughter and 2 sons. But, none of Einstein’s children did anything spectacular in their profession. Another notable genius – Isaac Newton had his parents with farming background and none in his family tree showed any sign of being genius. He did not get married.

Statistically, children of most geniuses that history has produced seem to be mediocre! It appears rare that a genius has given birth to another genius!!

So, what makes a genius?

Genes are only good to trigger a set of tendencies!

Can your genes predetermine what would be your character and competencies? Biology or physiology does not have a clear answer. Latest research shows that genes or DNA does have effect on your tendencies; but, these can undergo a change depending upon the environments, in which you grow or by practice, you could effect a change!

So, genes may prompt a person to have tendency of being creative, hyperactive possessive or destructive. A child of a scientist could be creative as well as possessive and could turn out to be a fashion designer. However, possessive tendency may not make her/him a genius or extra-ordinary, unless she/he endeavors to dilute this tendency!

Do geniuses have to be eccentric or abnormal?

There is a misconception in minds of many that a normal human being can’t be a genius. Paradoxically, historical data shows that most geniuses tend to be abnormal in their behavior. Problem essentially crops up from the fact that a genius tends to be highly passionate or even obsessed and insanely engaged with his/her field of activity to the extent that he/she starts to ignore feelings of other people and other attributes of a good life. This makes them isolated, unfriendly or uncanny!

To my knowledge, if a genius has balanced life and vibe, he/she would be far more effective and efficient! So, we need to drop the notion that a genius is likely to be eccentric; but to have unconventional thinking or style is perfectly in order!!

Can an average level IQ make you genius?

Contrary to popular belief, intelligence or IQ level has nothing to do with ingenuity! A genius would mostly likely not score high number in IQ test. In other words, a high IQ person is unlikely to be a genius! And ironically as also historically, emotional intelligence – EQ of a genius also tends to be low!!

Low IQ and EQ levels are what make a person ordinary! So, there is no reason why an ordinary person cannot be a genius!! But…. here below is the real catch:

  1. Science has so far not been able to figure out what makes a genius!
    It is busy measuring dimensions of parietal lobe of cerebral cortex and some other parts of human brain. They have done this for Einstein post his demise!!
    But, through this article, you have possibility to fathom how genius comes.
  2. Genius does not reside in genes, but in mind!
    But ironically, science does not know where exactly resides mind!!
    And, every normal human being has same power of mind!!!
  3. To be genius:
    1. You need no preconceived notion!
    2. You need to disbelieve known beliefs.
    3. You need to go off-track.
    4. You need to think freely, yet focus within a predefined perimeter.
    5. You need to be free from fear and fallacies.
    6. You need to think diverse but dedicatedly.
    7. You need to be passionate, but never prisoner of your own or others’ thoughts.
    8. You need to believe in impossible.
    9. You need to have deep sense of a purpose and single minded pursuit!

Now, choose an area you want to be genius in!

How good is to serve same employer life time?

In comfort zone? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Those, who serve an employer for long time, hesitate to ask this question to self or others! And those, who keep hopping from one to another employer, obviously don’t want to ask this question. Irony is that all of us want to be under the illusion of belief that what we are doing is good!!

There are several large multinational or iconic organizations, to name a few – General Electric, Siemens, IBM and Exxon Mobil, which most employees enter after their education and exit only on retirement. They cannot imagine their life outside of such organizations.

How good is getting addicted to what you consider as good?

Blessings of serving an employer for long term or life time!

  1. You get fully accustomed to company culture and values.
  2. You gain formidable expertise in the way company operates.
  3. Higher job security.
  4. You gain trust and respect of company management.
  5. Company considers you as dependable and loyal.

Banes of sticking to one employer!

  1. You get too much used to what you have been doing and hence, would be averse to changes.
    This would put you into comfort zone and its consequent perils.
  2. If you are dynamic and diligent, you would be hungry for changes, which same organization may not be able to offer at least in the time frame, you may aspire or desire.
    This would bring you into conflict with your seniors and you would lose congenial work environment.
  3. Often, you would lose opportunities to those, who are equally or even less good performers but more likely to quit the organization. Management of companies always prefer to retain them, ironical though! At that time, you would feel hurt that you are being taken as granted and your loyalty is of little value!
  4. If your career path, if worked out by company, does not foresee eventual promotion to one of top executive positions, you definitely run the risk of being sidelined in due course.
  5. You would be prone to get drawn in company politics.
  6. You would tend to be conservative and risk averse.
  7. Time would make you aloof from outside corporate world and market dynamics.
  8. Your overall personality development would take a severe beating.
  9. At a later stage of employment, your intimate knowledge of how company operates would be treated more as liability than asset by your management!
  10. Over time, you would create more adversaries than admirers!

What can make one employer tick!

If the organization you serve is large in size, transnational, has multiple vertical businesses and your management is progressive in developing employees, rewarding for their loyalty through opportunities and job rotation, then sticking to one and same employer could click.

You have to be careful in evaluating above factors. There is lot of lip service in the name of career opportunities and job rotation. If you are too good in certain function/s, your reward could be that you stay put there!

Ideal course for an employee!

Don’t stick around at one place for too long. You are bound to lose respect and race!

Life is all about Change! Change brings you colossal possibilities. 

Set your goals where you want to be in a defined time frame and make sure that every step that you take is an incremental movement in direction of your goal/s. Focus on being smart and savvy, persistent and passionate.Then, any employer can turn out to be the best for you and you should give your best to employer. Demand duties commensurate with your competence and deliver results. If everything works well, continue to deliver but not more than about 10 years and then seek change to a new employer; but leave current one with grace and on a good note. Gain experience with 2 to 4 employers.

Now is the time to introspect. Be rational and not emotional in giving merit rating to employers you have served. Communicate with no.1 rated employer and see the possibility of joining him back or otherwise his competitor no.1!

If you do the above, your stake and stock would see multifold rise!

Can Real World ever be an Ideal World?

Ideal Life is your Ideal World! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

All of us dream of an ideal world! Can it ever become a reality? Or what we consider as ideal is only a dream, a piece of fiction or imagination? Is it that our definition of ideal world needs to undergo a change?

These are valid and natural questions, which do come in the minds of most people. These are prompted by the fact that quality of our life, in general, has been steadily degenerating; it is incrementally becoming complex by passage of every day.

Look at a single event of 9/11. It has created impact of such magnitude that one wonders whether that we would be ever safe like before. World has been drastically polarized by faiths and politics. Amazing technological advancements have empowered well and ill meaning people alike. Well-meaning people would always have automatic limits for what they do; but ill-meaning people would act with no limits!

Above are global issues. If you have your personal issues like a good career, high expenses compared to earnings, peace of mind or relationship, you would care the least about issues which you see as beyond you. But you have no clue, how those are impacting you silently. One fine morning, you would wake up to face those. May be by then it is too late. So, wishing any issue away is bound to make you worse off!

Many faiths or societies talk of golden era of the past. Even if that was not a myth but a reality, fact is we have steadily gone down from that era. So, something is definitely missing; otherwise why that era, if it was truly golden, should have not sustained?

So, are we at point of no return?

Contradictions seem to be normal way of life!

Look at the following how we live on throes of contradictions:

  1. We strive hard to gain power. When we get it, it goes into our head and poison it, rather than entering into our heart and making us humble!
  2. What we don’t have, we worry about and when we have a lot, then also we worry e.g. money, position or popularity. So, we hardly enjoy what we have!
  3. When we have energy, we lack experience to reap the fruits; but when we have experience, we are low in energy to enjoy the ripe fruits.
  4. We enamor those who can manipulate our emotions; but hardly show interest in ones who stimulate our imagination!
  5. We advocate virtues; but, end up adoring or adopting vices!
  6. What we dislike always dominates our mind; but what we like disappears fast.
  7. What is tasty is seldom healthy and what is healthy is hardly tasty.
  8. What we stress to remember, we surely tend to forget.
  9. We find simple things are hard to do; but hard things easy to do.
  10. When we should keep our head cool, we make it hot. Where we should exercise restraint, we end up reacting or rebelling!

There are innumerable other examples, all of which point to the plain fact that contradictions are normal part of our life.

Need to redefine what is Ideal!

Our life exists because of pluses and minuses. Every plus produces its mirror image – minus and vice versa. Therefore, contradictions that we face are very natural. More we accept this fact, more would we be able to understand and manage.

Contradictions always create physical, mental or spiritual conflicts. Mental conflict here means conflict of our thoughts. If we can minimize such conflicts, real life would improve. So, an ideal life is the one which embodies no or minimum physical and mental conflicts! It is not peace, prosperity or luxury, which makes an ideal life. Of course, love or happiness is the state, which represents no conflicts and therefore, we construe that as ideal! But in practical life, we cannot be all the time in state of love or happiness. What is very well feasible to do is to minimize conflicts.

You don’t need money, power or position to make your real life as ideal, if you show will to do 2 things:

  1. Flow with nature and life!
    Don’t resist, don’t react or don’t question; just flow along the currents of nature and life. Accept what it is! Embrace the realities you face!!
  2. Don’t view 2 opposite aspects of any contradiction at the same time!
    Collision or conflict occurs when 2 opposite things fall together. When you look at each aspect separately by itself, you can understand it well and that would automatically stimulate your ideas and strength to deal with it.

These 2 are very powerful tools having deep meaning. These together work like auto-brake; if you understand and do right, it would automatically put brake on wrong or reckless doings including irrational innovations or advancements!

Moral sum is that if we can live with minimum conflicts, we would individually make our life ideal and together we will make it an ideal world!

Why generalists and not specialists have last laugh!

All-rounder has it all! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

You need a specialized degree to enter; but if you emerge as a truly successful player, you would end up being a generalist! It may sound strange to start with; but that is the stark and practical reality of our life!!

I have come across 14 highly qualified and experienced executives in German, US and Swiss multinational corporations, who were doing extremely well in their areas of specialization, namely product design and development, research, engineering or manufacturing. They came in limelight and top management had accredited them as high potential and future leaders of those organizations. In their career progression, they became business unit heads. But as luck, or whatever you want to call it, would have it, nearly all them failed on one account or another – poor people management, weak marketing strategies, ineffective customer relationships and scant managerial courage. Many of them got demoted or stagnant, rather than getting promoted. Their greatest strength became their greatest weakness!

If you look at any organization, cream of project managers, engineering heads or R&D chiefs seldom graduate to the top management layer. On the other hands, business managers, sales and marketing heads do.

It is nearly certain that unless a specialist turns into generalist, he or she cannot make a successful boss or executive. Take example of Satya Nadella, current CEO of Microsoft Inc. He entered Microsoft as a computer science specialist; but he honed his other competences, which turned out to be overwhelming in decision making process to promote him as CEO! Case of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. is no different.

So, why should you be then a specialist at the first place?

Specialization is essential but only at entry point!

Specialization should not be treated as an end! It is just one of main means required to reach an end!!

Specialization means one core competency and corresponding knowledge base. Engineering field develops analytical abilities; hardware or software development leads to creativity or innovativeness; marketing gives birth to relation building skill; MBA promotes strategic thinking and so on. Let there be no misconception that MBA by itself make you a generalist! When you are armed with this core competency and knowledge base, it facilitates your entry into an organization. It helps you establish and get entrenched as long as you are at working level. But, beyond that, your focus does need to shift.

Those, who resist shift of focus, end up being specialists or experts. Eventually, experts unwittingly make their expertise as own enemy! This is when, their growth suffers. It is also noteworthy that stronger the expertise, lower is emotional intelligence (EQ)!

There are some, who embraces the change and evolve with exigencies of emerging situation. When you graduate from a working to supervisory level, look at how expectations of your seniors and sub-ordinates alike undergo a complete paradigm shift:

  • One, who used to get guidance, has to now guide and coach.
  • One, who could afford to grumble, should now be humble and address grievances!
  • One, who could offer dissent, has to now accept and manage dissent and disappointments!
  • One, who used to get support, has to now land support to sub-ordinates and make them successful.
  • One, who could create conflicts, has to manage conflicts.
  • It was enough to be savvy by self; but now you have to be inter-personnel savvy and have to risk your own skin.
  • Your absence from work did not matter much; but now being healthy and available to your team and organization all the time matter most.

In short, from supervisor level upwards, you need to be like God – all pervasive and prolific! If you continue your focus on specialization at elevated levels, it would be a fatal failure!! So, experts need to be cautious to take their expertise, through more education or experience, to a level where they run risk of becoming too passionate or obsessive and averse to change.

For quantum growth, you have no option but to be generalist!

An expert is unifocal, whereas a generalist is multifocal! An expert deals with subject; whereas a generalist deals with objects!!

Look at any aspect of life – it revolves around what I call as 4 Cs:

  1. Customers
  2. Company/co-workers
  3. Competitors
  4. Common people

A successful life or career means “developing faculties and becoming competent in at least 3 or ideally all 4 Cs”.

So, your choices are clear –

  • If you want to stay with a single subject, be an expert. You would rise vertically but on a narrow base, making you vulnerable.
  • You can make a mix of subjects and objects. That would turn you mediocre.
  • You can develop object or people oriented competencies and be a generalist.

It is 3rd choice, which gives you widest possibilities to grow and get all round success. But, there is also a 4th one – master a subject and all related objects, you would be Master of your Universe!

Let your knowledge, niche or expertise not become your enemy!

When niche becomes nightmare! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

“I know enough” is enough to pull you down in very area, you believe you know enough! Statistics show that cause of eventual failure of most experts is their expertise!! Is it difficult to believe? But you can’t disbelieve the numbers – my analysis shows it is 8 out of 10!

There are very effective marriage counselors, I have heard about, saving lot of marriages but are unable to save their own! Well known cardiologists eventually suffered from cardiac problems and lost life at an age, it should have not happened. There are legal luminaries and media whistle blowers engaged in eliminating immorality or infidelity in societies across the world; but they ignore what they do in their own backyard! A highly disciplined father would normally be blessed with rebellious children. You are more prone to accidents on the road you have traveled most!

All leadership, moral or spiritual materials exhort you in abundance to be expert or excellent in what you do; then why is that excellence brings you adversity; that expertise elicits extinction? What is it that promotes irony or double standards especially among those, who have acquired prominence, passion or par excellence?

It is like darkness under the lamp!

Everyone needs light and a lamp gives it. But lamp suffers from darkness underneath!However, nature also requires that there be a cause for every effect!!

So, here below is what happens, when you become very knowledgeable, known, expert or highly engaged:

  1. It makes you dedicated.
    But, high dedication leads to addiction to what you do!
  2. It encourages high degree of ownership.
    But, you don’t notice when your ownership becomes excessive. Excessive ownership promotes obsession!
  3. In-depth information on your subject makes you expert.
    But, when you are not conscious, expertise encourages egoism and even arrogance!
  4. More you know, more focused you become!
    But, high focus is invariably fraught with loss of flexibility.
  5. Expertise and excellence can only come, when you converge on areas you operate.
    More you converge on your activities; more close becomes your mind! So, you fail to take cognizance of what and how you do outside of your areas of expertise or knowledge.
  6. You are consumed by your passion.
    What you are highly consumed with, would create contradictions, which you are generally averse to manage! You become indifferent to anything outside of your area!!
  7. When you know it all, it comes very easy.
    But, it also means you start taking things as granted. This is when you would make worse gaffe!
  8. You fly high!
    So, you lose ground and humility!!

How to remove darkness under the lamp!

Our traditional thoughts would find it difficult to do it. So, go untraditional; go offbeat.

If light from the lamp can be reflected back to dark area/s, it would become illuminated!

Experts lose habit to look at reflections, which they receive from others; that is how darkness exists under their nose; their expertise becomes their own enemy!! They are unable to realize when their knowledge – an asset also works as a liability.

So, at no stage of our evolution and progress, we should ever stop or ignore to reflect and contemplate. Reflect on what we do; what others reflect about us and be aware about larger purpose beyond us and ramifications of what we are engaged with. That alone can keep us grounded and ensure that our expertise remains an asset through and through.

Another important fact is that nature demands balancing; neither left nor right! Just be around the center!! It is in this context that balancing between work and life, money and morals, spiritualism and materialism assume paramount importance!

Having said that, would you ever like to allow your knowledge to become your liability; your expertise to become your own enemy?