Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Aug 2, 2010

The Common Traits Found in Three Geniuses

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:47 am

While waiting for my daughter’s art class at her teacher’s house on 6/19/2010, I was reading a very interesting article carried on the New Yorker August 2, 1999, “The Physical Genius: What do Wayne Gretzky, Yo-Yo Ma, and a brain surgeon named Charlie Wilson have in common?” by Malcolm Gladwell. Driving on the way back home, I was excited about the article and was eager sharing it with her.

The article details the traits shared by these three genius in sports, music and brain surgery. Though engaged in different fields, they will excel in tasks involving high-demand percetual motor abilities. Here are their common traits.

(1) They are all extremely dedicated to their respective field, having spent long hours practicing. This tendency show itself at a very early age. Thus, these geniuses have applied greater diligence to perfecting their skills, nothing of the myth that they are just talented and can produce great work effortlessly.

(2) They all engage in the unique use of imagery. “What psychologists study people who are expert at motor tasks, they find that almost all of them use their imaginations in a very particular and sophisticated way… Yo-Yo Ma told me that he remembers riding on a bus, at the age of seven, and solving a difficult musical problem by visualizing himself playing the piece on the cello.”

(3) These geniuses are extremely intolerant of their own mistakes, no matter how small. They are seeking perfection. “They were the best. They had the ability to rethink everything that they’d done and imagine how they might have done it differently.”

Nothing extraordinary comes by accident. Now you know what you have to do if you want to be the best. For further reading on this article, see the New Yorker archive online,

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