How Do You Think Like a Genius?

I don’t have to teach you to think like a genius. You already are.

A genius is by definition someone who’s wrong a lot so they can be very right about one, usually extremely specific thing, way before everyone else is.

But what if that’s not a special trait of geniuses? What if we’re all geniuses?

I mean, you and I are wrong a lot, aren’t we? And sometimes, we get to say “I told you so” to our friends.

All we do when we call someone a genius is elate them to this status in hindsight.

But in order for us to be able to do that, a genius has to do one thing first, and it’s the only thing that really makes them different: when they know they’re right, they speak up and do something about it.

In 2010, I had a genius idea: iPads for restaurants. I remember drawing all kinds of sketches, where you’d have an iPad embedded in the table, or at least right with you, and could order instantly, without having to wait.

I shared the idea with my family over dinner and showed a friend the sketches. They liked it, but I didn’t really know how to start and I didn’t bother finding out.

Three years later, I had a layover at the Toronto airport. I was walking around, looking for food, when something caught my eye.

“No freakin’ way!”

It was a little diner with small tables, upon each of which rested…an iPad!

You could select the food you wanted, drop it in your cart and order right away. They even let you check your flight data, destination info and surf the web.

Does that make me a genius? No. It makes me an idiot, who remained quiet when he should’ve said something.

No matter how brilliant you think an idea might be, you’re never the only one. And someone else might do something about it.

In the 17th century, calculus was independently formulated by Isaac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and several other people. Oxygen was discovered in the 18th century, by at least three people at roughly the same time.

Maybe Elon Musk isn’t a genius. Maybe he’s the only one that’s normal.

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

So please: When you see something that’s obvious to you, but not to others, have the guts to speak up.

Point at it. Shout it from the roofs. And, most importantly: do something about it.

You have long been a genius. Don’t let the world talk you out of believing it.