Genius: What It Is, Where It's From, & How To Get It!
Well, let's get this out of the way...
Are 'dumb' people writing about 'smart' ones?
I’ve called a lot of people dumb. I don’t mean it when I say it, and I truly do love people. But I have labeled people that way before.
It sucks. You never want to call someone ‘slow.’ Or ‘unintelligent.’ It doesn’t go over well. Imagine you’re talking to your friend, Samantha. You’re excited about your new ‘human design’ business. You share some cool new ideas you have. Samantha’s smile feels genuine. She nods in all the right places. You leave the conversation feeling good about yourself. A week later you mention it again and Samantha has no clue what you’re talking about. She didn’t understand your new ideas, and worse, she acted as if they did. You realize she’s dumber than a sack of hammers, but you’re wise enough not to say so. You wander off, thinking that you’re smart, and she’s not. Is this a fair judgment, just from a couple of interactions? Not likely.
But the fact is, humanity is made of spectrums.
There’s a “love/hate” spectrum. Some people behave more lovingly, and some behave less so. There’s a “charm/repel” spectrum. Some people act more charming, and some act less so. There’s a “fame/obscurity” spectrum. Some people more ‘in the limelight’ and some are more ‘behind-the-scenes.’ There’s no point pretending spectrums of behavior don’t exist, they 100% do.
And so, some people think ‘better,’ and some don’t.
Let’s say you hop on your PC and google “intelligence.” As usual, you click a top-ranked result and start reading. What are the chances that that top-ranked result is written by the world’s truly smart people? What are the chances people on the high end of the ‘smartness spectrum’, sat down and wrote a page-one article on intelligence? Did Einstein write a Google-ranking article? Did Stephen Hawking? What I’m getting at is this:
Most of what you’ve read on intelligence, ain’t as good as you think.
Even if you seek out ‘peer-reviewed journals’ or recent studies, you won’t learn much. These are often disproven by another study a year later. Plus they’re often written by people who are ‘good at one thing’, but not ‘truly smart’. Hopefully, I can do better.
OK, So what can...
A 77-year-old dude tell you about your smarts?
I’m talking about Howard Gardner. He offers a theory of multiple intelligences. Some say he outlined 8 different types, others say 7, 9, or 10. He’s been quoted saying there may be more beyond his original categories. He suggests we each have all 8 intelligences, but our ‘rank’ on each varies. He gives a wordy definition of intelligence, but I’ll just summarize it for you. According to Howard smarts is basically:
“The potential to process info used to solve, or create value, in a culture.”
Which seems like a decent definition, at first glance.
And Howard uses this definition to create...
Gardner's 8 types of intelligence.
I’ll give you a quick overview of the categories, but be aware that although his ‘intelligence-types’ are popular, a lot of people disagree with Gardner’s take on intelligence.
So there you have it. Do any of the categories speak to you? Do feel ‘smart’ by fitting into one or more of them? Well, it’s good to feel positively about yourself, but it’s even better to truly know yourself. And the thing about Gardner’s intelligence-types is…
Gardner's theory is just a theory.
It’s basically an informed guess that happens to be appealing. It appeals to a lot of people. There could be many reasons for it’s popularity, but a major one to consider is that it’s a “feel-good” theory. It feels good to see ourselves as smart. And with Gardner’s system, we can call ourselves ‘intelligent’ as long as we fit into one of his categories.
Critics of Gardner say intelligence is just ‘one thing.’ They say ‘arbitrary categories’ have no place in it. There are people on both sides.
But scientists & intellectuals can spend years deadlocked.
Each side says “Oh yeah? My theory’s stronger than yours!” over and over, while desperately seeking ‘definitive proof’ for their side.
Gardner’s backers argue intelligence categories exist. Their points are full of studies, data, and statistics. Then his critics do the same for their ‘one intelligence’ take on things.
And what happens while these decade-long intellectual battles rage?
Not much. They’re not practical, effective, or helpful for most of us. It’s pages of debate but brings little insight. Most of the ‘studies’ are so biased, that we end up having to read them all and come to our conclusions anyway.
That’s why I wrote this guide. It’s not some god-tier scientific proof for intellectuals to fight over. It’s an uncommonly insightful guide shedding light on what genius is and how you can benefit from it. I’ll cover as much as possible. And I’ll do it in the most practical, comprehensive way I can. By the end, you’ll have a better handle on what intelligence is than when you started. You’ll know more clearly what it means to you. You’ll learn how you can leverage it for your benefit, despite all the theories out there.
Reading this will make you smarter about… uh… ‘smartness.’
Imagine, What if you could...
Jump 50 IQ points just by applying what I teach here?
It’s a big claim, I know, so I’m not guaranteeing anything. But I’ve personally seen people become significantly smarter from what I teach. And I’ve written this as a path toward much higher intelligence. It’s an in-depth guide, and you won’t find better. It’s based on a simple truth: The more you understand something, the easier it is to improve at it. If we don’t understand the nuances of basketball, it’s hard to improve at it. But when we truly grasp the specifics of it, we can create an efficient path towards mastery. The same goes for intelligence.
And it’s important, because you’re secretly judged on your intelligence.
Careers, collaborations, and opportunities often hinge on your intelligence levels. People get jobs because of how intelligent they seem. People lose jobs because of how unintelligent they are. Your reputation may be built off of how quick-witted you are in interviews. A lot of people are attracted to ‘smart’ mates with ‘good conversation.’
I’ll help you be magnetically wise.
Now, I’m not claiming I understand intelligence better than everyone. But I do understand it better than most. And more than that, I’m a skilled teacher. And everything I’ve read on the net so far pales in comparison to what I explain below. So if you’re ready to really ‘get wise’, keep reading.
But fair warning...
If you're not open-minded, stop reading here.
If a little cussing has “no place” in discussions of genius, this isn’t the guide for you. If you can only respect ideas when they’re ‘peer-reviewed,’ this isn’t for you. If you need 10-cent words like “pronounced socio-cultural determination”, this isn’t for you. Please take your narrow judgments and go. But on the other hand…
If you love real talk from someone who cares, this is for you.
YOU MAY QUESTION YOUR OWN INTELLIGENCE AFTER READING THIS.
And that’s a good thing. The smartest people are always curious, questioning everything. They’re always seeking new ideas.
"Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them."
— R. Buckminster Fuller
Hi, I'm J-Ryze, and I transformed...
From judgy genius to blessed brainiac.
When I was young, I was officially tested and placed into a ‘gifted’ school.
I spent my youth in accelerated classes with other ‘smart’ people. I used my smarts to become popular with all the cliques, but secretly I thought I was better than everyone. I judged pop culture. I judged the masses. I judged my friends. And because I could run ‘mental circles’ around most people, I assumed I was better than them. Getting a high-paying job straight out of high school only made my ego worse.
Without sugar-coating it, I was an asshole. Specifically a narcissistic, entitled, self-righteous mega-asshole. But no one could call me on it. If they did, I’d ‘outsmart’ them during the conversation and come off looking pretty good. Deep down they’d feel that I was behaving poorly, but they could never articulate it or pin down exactly how.
I used my intelligence to manipulate and destroy.
And I didn’t even realize I was doing it, because I was blind to most of the consequences.
Until life humbled me, hard.
I went from acing gifted classes to being a homeless, depressed, suicidal failure. I lost my girlfriend, best friend, & family. And although I kept up my entitled ways for a while, raging against the unfairness of life… the truth is I deserved my dark years on the streets.
Now I’m thankful for them. They sanded off a lot of the edges of my personality. They made me hyper-sensitive to ever having such an arrogant approach to life again. My failures humbled me into using my intelligence in more loving, productive, helpful ways. They woke me up to ‘karma’, and helped me care more about having integrity than impressing society.
I folded my failing businesses and began giving wisdom and insights away freely. And that simple act started a chain-reaction that got me back on my feet. I ended up as a right-hand advisor to (celebrity entrepreneur) Evan Carmichael for about a decade. He valued my input deeply, and we basically built a mini-empire together.
He wasn't the only one though.
I kind of became the 'answer man.'
I answered a lot of questions for a lot of people.
The asker had to be cooperative, sincere, and receptive to the answers, but as long as those bases were covered… I delivered insightful answers to all kinds of questions. But don’t take my word for it, check out the testimonials below.
What People Say About Me
Why am I telling you all this?
So you’ll know where I’m coming from. So you’ll understand why I’m such a passionate teacher. So you’ll get why I care about intelligence so much, and why I have a lot to offer here. Much of what has been written on genius is boring. And it rarely persuades anyone to a helpful perspective.
The thing is...
Persuasion beats smarts.
I’m not sure what Donald Trump’s level of intelligence is, but I’m fairly sure he’s above-average at persuading the masses. Muhammad Ali wasn’t exactly mensa-level, but boy could he charm interviewers and fans. Beyonce’s reasonably intelligent I’m sure, but I’d bet a sway of the hips and her million-watt smile gets more people supporting her causes compared to her dropping some well-reasoned logic.
And that’s ok. I get it. Agreeing with charmers feels good. Believing in things we want to believe is easy.
Meanwhile, critical thinking takes substantial effort.
And by and large, our society has raised most of us to avoid effort. This creates an interesting situation where the loudest and brightest in our society are the people who charm us into agreeing. They shut off our analytical minds. This leaves us with a noisy, flashy, dumbed-down idiocracy, where the smart people are all but invisible.
So I’m psyched to share all the interesting ideas I have about society’s wisest, but most people would rather just be persuaded to join a cause or something. What are the chances a mega-guide like this gets the attention of the ‘mainstream?’ The masses aren’t intellectually curious, good at pattern recognition, or perceptive. Which means…
noticing intelligence is hard for the masses.
Society can't see smart people.
Most people confuse ‘smarter than average’ with ‘genius.’
This is because it takes smarts to properly assess another person’s intelligence. So if someone ‘thinks like us but a bit better,’ society labels them smart.
But the truly smart think almost nothing ‘like us’. They talk differently too. It’s been coined ‘communication range’.
Communication range was originally suggested by researcher Leta Hollingworth, then popularized by Grady M. Towers. It means that people with a high IQ think so differently than others, that “meaningful communication” isn’t really a thing. It’s like a man talking to an ant. Things like small talk & customer service are doable, but truly meaningful communication isn’t possible. This is why marriages are happiest when the IQ of the spouses is close.
So although we’re all speaking ‘English, for example, smart people just seem like snobby nerds, and lesser-thinkers just seem dumb in return. And instead of seeming smart, the intelligent are often labeled weird, odd, eccentric, sharp, or overly serious instead.
Average-minded people just don’t (yet) have the ability, to recognize a smart person, even when next to them. It’s easy to ‘detect down for intelligence, but not to ‘detect up’. And there’s something that makes it all even trickier.
The truly smart people have been trained to hide.
And why wouldn’t they?
Let's examine the world's track record.
How many wise souls have been assassinated?
Gandhi. Martin Luther King. John Lennon. Tupac & Biggie. The list goes on. Were these people incredibly smart? Depends on your definition. Whatever the case, they spoke uncomfortable truths. They offered wisdom that ran counter to the prevailing culture of their time.
They were shining lights, clearly elevating society with their contributions. They “shouldn’t” have been killed. But they stood firmly for what they believed in. They drew the ire of certain groups and individuals and got taken out.
These examples would scare away most smart people.
Because smart people often understand truths about life the average person doesn’t. They often want to contribute their ‘secret knowledge’ to society. But it’s a tough choice. They could share ‘controversial’ truths and become targets. Or they can keep to themselves, sit on their wisdom, and attempt to sneak through life unnoticed. Smart people learn from society’s clear past.
It’s unwise to poke your head out when the missiles are firing.
Anyway, we’ll revisit how to spot smart people (if it’s even possible), and how to bring them out of hiding later. For now, I’ll tell you about a little ‘game’.
Smart people play a game:
'Whoever's wrong first wins!'
OK, they don’t play this, exactly. But they do realize that defending wrong views helps no one. They get that changing their mind when new data arrives, is victory. They know it’s not a good look to be doggedly hanging on to a weak view. So, they’re quick to admit when they’re wrong. Admitting we’re wrong is a key step in discovering the truth.
Defending our wrong-headed opinions is the number one block to discovering truth.
To be smart, we must be open-minded, eager for truth even if it hurts, and quick to admit the second we realize we’re wrong. About anything.
And as we dig deeper, you'll find your views challenged.
You'll get to prove how smart you are by how quickly you ditch old views.
Geniuses are good at changing their minds when they learn something new.
For example, here’s a view many people hold. “Celebrities are smart.” Believing this, they take every word their favorite celebrity says as gospel. They ‘buy-in’ to every idea their idols are selling. Is this really a behavior worth holding on to?
Many people look up to celebrities.
This makes 'popular' beat 'smart' in our society.
Compare what I explain below to what famous personalities are saying.
You’ll see it’s better, but people would still rather hear from their heroes instead. Even though the gurus, experts, and influencers they look up to don’t have much to offer on the topic of intelligence. They’re just good at their craft. They’re good at charming people. They’re good at catchy soundbites. And though those things require intelligence, they don’t make our idols truly wise.
And it especially doesn’t make them great at teaching.
Most don’t teach intelligence insightfully. So if we’re looking for a deeper understanding of ‘smart’, we’d best be careful listening to most celebs. I’m not saying that no famous person has anything of value to say — of course they do. Plenty. I’m just saying do your research by going beyond what you hear in popular media.
"Everything popular is wrong."
— Oscar Wilde
Things like riches, fame, and beauty might be indicators of intelligence. But they’d be weak at best, and usually steer people wrong if anything.
And the reverse is true as well.
Say you meet a smart person. Their intelligence is no guarantee they’ll end up rich, famous, or beautiful. But it does enable them to learn to be those things, should they put their mind to it.
Have you ever heard of...
Have you ever met someone who seems smart, but makes foolish decisions? This can happen for many reasons. It may be immaturity. It may be part of someone’s “life path”. It may be a ‘condition’ of some kind, or emotionality clouding things, etc. The point is, be careful writing off a ‘bad choice’ here or there as a sign of stupidity.
So it’s better to observe behavior over time.
Observe as long as you can manage, before declaring a person ‘smart’ or not.
Precocious youth director David Lubinksi says even that may be unreliable. He says if someone is smart, that’s just like owning a car with a powerful engine. He says “If there’s no gas in your car you’re not going to go anywhere. If road conditions are bad, you’re not going to go anywhere”. His point is clear:
Intelligence must be applied or it’s useless.
This is why we need thinkers, do-ers, and most importantly, hybrids who do both. We need people who think clearly and execute well.
But most of society is more do-er than thinker.
Calling all thinkers:
we need you.
Action without forethought tends to go poorly. It has its place, sure, but usually ends up in less-than-pleasant results. It leads to mistakes, mishaps, and chaos. But learning by blind trial-and-error is sometimes effective. Action and doing are often very valuable.
Being entirely a ‘thinker’ isn’t that smart at all. That said, the world has more than enough “do-ers” who plunge ahead thoughtlessly. It has plenty who put their emotions ahead of truth or what’s best for humanity. It’s why so many of the world’s biggest problems still exist. It’s why very little headway is made, generation after generation. Zero long-term thinking. Minimal smarts. The world could use more good-hearted, critical thinkers. And I don’t just mean self-proclaimed ones. I’m talking about actually wise people So I keep feeding my mind well and teaching what I’ve learned.
I aim for a healthy mind, and I hope you do too.
But this raises the question...
Are fat people worse than thin ones?
It’s an offensive question, I know. But I’m asking it for a reason. There are similarities between intelligence and nutrition. Both are essential for personal health and longevity. Both are instrumental in advancing humanity. Both are heavily judged by others. You can feed your body with non-ideal nutrition, and you can feed your mind with non-ideal info.
So let’s explore.
Let’s say we have two people, Joe, and Jane. Does it matter if Joe binges ‘fluff’ all day long? Does it matter if he has zero intention of self-improvement? And learns next to nothing from his journey in life? Does this make Joe ‘worse’ than Jane, who feeds her mind with the highest quality wisdom she can find?
Does it matter in nutrition? Because surely, the world makes room for all body types & eating-plans. So, surely it makes room for all intellect-types and education plans too, right? It’s not so much that one type of lifestyle is worse than the other.
It’s more that problems arise from denial.
If I’m overweight, obese, or unhealthy… I need to admit it, rather than paint a happy face on it and claim I’m slender and fit.
So I make sure I admit it.
The same goes for intelligence. To have a higher quality of life, it’s key that we admit where we are. There’s no shame in it. Un-smart people aren’t worse than smart ones, the same way fat people aren’t worse than thin ones. All that matters is we embrace where we’re at in life. Then, either accept it, or change it.
So what are we talking about...
What actually is smart?
Mountains of research is done on what ‘smart’ is and how to measure it. And all that research is inconclusive. You could study it for your lifetime and still not fully comprehend it. Humanity’s best and brightest are still only guessing, but it’s ok. Because like electricity, not fully understanding intelligence can’t keep us from its benefits. At least enough to make our lives better. Hollywood movies convince us intelligence is one thing. Grades teach us it’s another. But don’t buy into the stereotypes.
It ain’t geeky, glasses-wearing reader-virgins.
Is it IQ, EQ, G-Factor, memory?
Is it something in our brain? Soul? Is it magic?
Most definitions say intelligence is something like:
“The ability to think, learn from experience, solve problems, and adapt to new situations.”
IQ is the most common measure of intelligence, and many psychologists are passionate about it. They relate IQ to brain volume, neural speed, and memory capacity.
Personally, I wouldn’t trust an IQ test (despite scoring highly on them). There are huge variations in the test results because of culture, genetics, testing practices, and more.
Two supposedly fair intelligence tests are Cattell’s and Raven’s. These tests focus on measuring “g”, or general intelligence, rather than specific skill sets. But even these aren’t that appealing.
For example, researchers have noticed lower IQs appear to be linked to felons and higher IQs seem linked to wealth. But it’s just something that seems to be linked. It’s not ‘hard science’ or anything. ‘Links’ can come from anything, environment, culture, upbringing, genetics, who knows.
Science runs study after study, but they almost all use the word ‘correlational’. Correlation can be a very helpful thing, but usually just means “X seems related to Y, but we’re not really sure. Plus, even if we are sure they’re linked, we have no idea exactly how or why.”
Still, science continues doing its adorable best to measure it.
In fact, science is so obsessed with ‘measurements’ that they often miss the forest for the trees.
A scale reliably measures weight. A watch reliably measures time. But not even our best IQ tests measure intelligence in a useful way at all. And it’s been like that for ages.
And even if we could measure intelligence, is there a difference between it and wisdom? Or intelligence and creativity? Are they linked? Are they created by nature? Nurture? Both? Are intelligence tests biased by years of racism, classism, sexism all tied to chats about “who is smarter than whom”?
The questions spiral on.
So can you tell the difference between...
Wisdom vs. creativity vs. intelligence?
Although intelligence, creativity, and wisdom may appear to be similar, there are differences. What makes it tricky to talk about, are many definitions of each term differ. So here’s my best explanation of the three.
Intelligence is hyper-rational, data-based, and focused mostly on our immediate environment. It’s IQ, logic, and related analytical skills. Convergent, it narrowly focuses on ‘right’ answers and scores highly on tests. Does best with well-structured problems to solve. Responsible for scoring highly on ‘tests’ given by others. Generally unoriginal.
Creativity gives a novel, surprising, and useful idea. Divergent, it often connects distant concepts and embraces multiple ‘right’ answers. Does best when problems are ill-structured. There are as many ways to write a novel as there are novelists. The same goes for painting and artists. Inventions and scientists. And there certainly are no clear paths to it. Unfortunately, few people find any path at all. Often original.
Wisdom seeks the common good. It does this by balancing our interests with society’s and the globe’s, both long- and short-term. It’s dialectical (ie: ‘merges opposites’). It’s positive, contextual, and all-encompassing. Wisdom does best with moral quandaries, higher-order thought, and resonant truths. It’s self-aware and ethically aware. Original & elusive.
So, being an intelligent person doesn’t guarantee you’re a wise person. And being wise doesn’t always guarantee intelligence. And neither guarantee creativity. But they’re frequently found together.
Why does it all matter?
Because what we measure as intelligence isn’t enough. IQ isn’t enough. “Having a great intellect is truly smart”, you say? Not even close. Because we’d still be Neanderthals were it not for human creativity. And we’d have more World Wars without wisdom.
All three of these thinking approaches are necessary to make up a truly great mind. So what are the chances someone scores highly in all three areas? Not great, it seems. That’s partly why it’s hard to spot true geniuses.
"Intelligence is not the same as wisdom."
— Lao Tzu
Ignoring intelligence, creativity, and wisdom...
Most people think they can spot true genius.
You see it all the time. People labeling ‘smart’ or ‘average’ or ‘stupid’ in a heartbeat. As if they’ve been studying intelligence for years, and they know exactly which is which. They often base these on signs such as:
Wrong. Truly smart people realize that communication is important. They realize that clarity is vital. They realize that showing off with ten-cent words and spewing jargon is bad. They get that it hinders communication, not helps it. Smart people simplify things for others, not complicate them. If someone relies on big words or complex concepts, they’re not nearly as smart as they think. But they’re probably desperate to seem so.
Wrong. Most smart people manage to develop a ‘secondary persona’. One that helps them to ‘get by’ and interact with others. They’ll often appear to be as ‘normal’ as others because they’ve used their intelligence to blend in. But it’s uncomfortable to ‘dumb down’ their thinking for too long. So they may retreat from society to recharge. They may hang around a very select circle of friends who let them be themselves. This brings us to the next thing people think is an indication of wisdom.
No small talk
Kind of. It’s fairly common in smart people. Conversation is valuable. Words are valuable. Air-time is valuable. Smart people understand this and make sure not to waste bandwidth on fluff that accomplishes nothing for themselves or humanity. This doesn’t mean they don’t have fun, or make jokes, it just means they avoid meaningless gossip, drama, and hyper-obvious statements.
Not exactly. Many smart people do report being bullied. This is because when a dumb person meets a smart one, they only have two choices. A. Humbly learn from them and try harder or B. Belittle, dismiss, and laugh at them. And since most people would rather die than admit someone else is smarter than them, they often choose B. But this still isn’t a good indicator of intelligence, because all kinds of people get bullied for all kinds of reasons.
Wrong. Oftentimes people are deemed smart because they accomplish tasks for others. They’re the “go-to” person. But just because someone is competent at something or even many things, doesn’t mean they’re intelligent. Perhaps they’re just a people-pleaser. Perhaps the tasks are hard for them, but they do them through force of will. Perhaps they have a knack for it. While smart people are often good across multiple fields, this still isn’t a good indicator of intelligence.
Polite = Smart
Wrong. Many consider calm, polite people who don’t ruffle feathers… “smart”. And while it’s true that intelligent people lean towards civility and emotional control, there’s plenty of polite, kind people who would be tough to call smart. And some pretty mean people could be called ‘dumb’. I haven’t explored why polite people are sometimes labeled as smart, but let’s just say this isn’t a reliable sign of genius.
The point is, a lot of people think they can spot genius, but they can’t.
Which is probably why scientists keep trying to come up with ‘tests’ for it.
So I guess that brings it back to IQ, but...
People who rely on IQ scores, aren't very smart.
Intelligence, wisdom, and creativity are so vast, that testing for them seems silly. It’s like making a person do exercises to figure out if they’re going to “go Columbine” on society. We simply don’t have tests that can determine this.
But IQ is still kind of helpful.
As long as you take it for what it is. The problem comes when we hyper-focus on it. That’s when people quickly divide into extreme sides.
One side claims IQ is meaningless. They believe smarts relate to career, academic, or life success. (e.g., Howard Gardner, Robert Sternberg). The other side claims IQ is absolute. They believe intelligence is one over-arching factor that can be measured. (e.g., Charles Murray, Jordan Peterson). The truth is probably both. IQ is more like a measurement of a car’s horsepower. While horsepower is a helpful number, it’s bad for predicting race-winners. Experienced drivers know racing relies on torque, handling, and tire friction. They know it takes technique, track-familiarity, and more. A huge-horsepower dragster is impressive, sure. But it’s useless, even harmful, outside of a drag-strip.
“He stressed…the remarkable diversity of intelligence and the… need to study it using qualitative… not quantitative, measures.” – Alfred Binet, inventor of IQ.
Besides, IQ is measured against a population. It can’t be measured by arbitrary tests created by one culture. It’s unreliable as soon as it’s applied to members of another culture.
The point is people who think IQ measures intelligence are wrong. It doesn’t. And it’s futile to track the many traits of intelligence into a manageable score. It’s like trying to score a person’s “level of faith” or their “feelings about life”. To argue that all smartness that matters is measured by IQ tests is silly. Society has been sold this myth ever since the first IQ test.
So it’s best to mention IQ about as often as you’d mention horsepower.
So what should we discuss instead?
Lately science has been fiending for g.
The g factor is what modern science sees as ‘intelligence’. It’s the main thing modern IQ tests are ‘measuring’. The existence of g is based on a bunch of fancy math words like ‘variance’, ‘correlation’, ‘unitary’, and so on.
Basically, it’s all statistics, and statistics aren’t facts.
They’re not rules. they’re probabilities. IQ tests measure three things. Mainly g, some non-g intelligence traits, and ‘uniqueness’. Are these tests truly measuring some unseen, untouched ‘intelligence’? Many scientists say yes. They believe g is measurable. They’ll tell you there’s “substantial evidence” g exists. But it’s kind of like arguing over the existence of God, or ghosts, or meaning in life.
Does God exist? Do ghosts? Does meaning?
Does anyone have conclusive proof? Does any of it really matter in your day-to-day life? No. What matters is that you have enough understanding of smartness to benefit from it.
Can g predict whether someone is smart? Can it tell who will become smart? Can it tell who’ll apply their smarts? If it could, money would be flowing. Corporations would pay millions, leveraging g to get bright minds on their payroll. Many of the world’s best minds haven’t even been tested, and may never be. Einstein’s IQ was never tested. But the dude was clearly brilliant. And if you couldn’t tell that by talking to him, it can be seen by his results. You don’t need a weigh-scale to tell if a woman is beautiful, and you don’t need to g-test to know if someone has a beautiful mind.
“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” – William Bruce Cameron
So, should we talk about g instead of IQ? I don’t recommend discussing either. They’re both for average minds in the science & math community.
It’s for people who obsess over numbers and stats as if they’ll magically solve life.
As it stands, g is just the best representation of intelligence science has come up with. But I’ma be honest with you… most scientists have never struck me as very smart. They’re methodical, sure. And they’ve given us great things like the lightbulb, microwaves, and smartphones. But when it gets down to the biggest questions of life, they constantly stumble. They spend ages proving stuff that artists, poets, and wise men have known since the beginning.
As in most professions, the bulk of people in science aren’t very impressive. Mostly they’re just people who get off on big words, ‘studies’, and proof. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you want to believe in scientists, seek out ones like Einstein, Tesla, Newton, etc.
"Truth is ever to be found in simplicty."
— Isaac Newton
g is sometimes seen in terms of...
Crystalized intelligence vs. fluid intelligence.
Most definitions of these categories are confusing and wordy AF. Like g, I’m not even sure these two ‘types’ of intelligence exist, but people do talk about them. So I’ll explain ’em briefly.
Crystallized intelligence is applying knowledge to solve problems. Imagine learning a piano-piece by practicing it daily, until you’re masterful at it.
Crystalized Intelligence = Using knowledge to solve the familiar.
Fluid intelligence is using logic to solve new problems in new situations. Imagine sitting down at a piano with a totally new score, and playing it fairly well by sight.
Fluid Intelligence = Ability to improvise in the unfamiliar. (This is more what g supposedly refers to.)
More simply said: memory & improvisation.
We each have different degrees of both. And they change at different rates as we grow. To me, a ‘smart’ person is one with good amounts of skill in both areas. Similar to how a good car has speed & responsiveness.
Whew! I hope this is all making sense.
The funny thing is, it almost feels like a waste of time to explain. Why? Because none of this stuff applies to my explanation of intelligence. My explanation is quite different.
I believe that…
True Genius comes from a higher power.
Oh, don't worry, I'm not getting all spiritual.
I’m just pointing out something worth acknowledging.
Genius comes from the same place beauty comes from. The same place evolution comes from. The same place inspiration comes from. The great unknown. Nature. God. Source. The universe.
Genius is an awesome blend of intelligence, creativity, and wisdom. It synthesizes the unexpected from the mundane. It absorbs vast data from wide-ranging sources. It combines them in brilliant ways.
And we have all done these things, even if we don’t realize it.
As babies, we were all fast learners. We were ‘geniuses’. There are some genetic differences and some start smarter than others, sure. But overall, we intelligently navigated our world, taking in data, and growing from it quickly. We learned jaw-droppingly fast. Not because we ‘tried hard’. Not because parents made us. Not because our brains were ‘different’ then. We learned fast because we were tapped into the thing that provides genius. We tapped into a natural, evolutionary intelligence. It gave us inspiration, intuitive leaps, and epic solutions to our problems. Eventually, society trains us away from most of our intelligence. But it’s still available, waiting to be tapped into.
True genius is something you can intentionally tap into and benefit from. It comes from a combination of 3 factors.
Focus, beliefs, and mood.
If a person focuses obsessively enough on something, backed by supportive beliefs and an uplifted mood regarding it… they become smart in this area.
Certain people ‘on the spectrum’ are good examples of this. Or a child who’s slow to develop, but suddenly finds their ‘calling’ and becomes masterful at it.
Same thing goes for general intelligence.
If you took a person and helped them focus obsessively on ‘being smart’. Something amazing would happen. They’d start becoming smart. If you helped them embody solid beliefs, and an uplifted mood about their smarts for long enough, they’d blossom.
In fact, this is what my parents did for me while raising me. They continually helped me focus on being smart. They continually guided my beliefs in my own intelligence. They made sure I never beat myself up, and that I always maintained a positive mood around my intellect. My parents did similar for my siblings, who are also rather smart. This is similar to the mysterious-but-powerfully-effective… placebo-effect.
The placebo effect is a thing. It often works. It’s often effective. And the times it doesn’t work, I suggest is only because people don’t properly understand it. It’s related to quantum physics and the law of attraction. It results in ‘miracles’ and has transformed physiology. And it plays a huge role in actually becoming smart. And it has three foundations I’ll explain shortly. Those 3 things connect you to true genius.
True genius is available to you, but it takes practice.
True genius isn’t just having a photographic memory or answering a scientist’s questions to their satisfaction. It’s a blend of intellect, creativity, and wisdom. It embodies many traits no one has even tried to measure, let alone ones that are factored into current tests.
True genius embodies traits like:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”
“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration.”
The cool thing is, you can develop the traits I listed above, because...
Beliefs, mood, & focus are first principles of genius.
Your focus is a laser. Average minds misuse it, but...
The wise have total control over their laser.
Think about your focus.
You can focus on being more open-minded, questioning, truth-seeking, and so on. Or you can choose to focus on Netflix, election-drama, & covid-narratives. What you choose to focus on determines what qualities you develop. Focus decides whether you’re smart, or just an average-thinker pretending to be smart.
Plus, you can choose to hyper-focus on details, or you can choose a holistic overview. You can focus on numbers, fact, and intellect. You can focus on deep wisdom. You can focus on neither, or both.
Your attention can laser-focus in, or broad-beam outward.
Sloppy thinkers practice focusing their attention hardly at all. And it shows. They miss the point often, because their attention is on irrelevant things. They’re distracted easily. The narrow beam of their attention easily loses focus from the topic at hand. Life tries teaching them, but their focus-beam is so weak, they absorb none of the lesson.
Truly great minds practice masterful control over their focus. They control whether it’s specific or general, and when.
Anyone can become a genius at anything, if they focus long enough and deeply enough.
This is why so many geniuses are described as ‘obsessed’. Personally, I’d replace IQ tests with focus-tests. ‘Beam-control’ tests. Attention-tests. Something that tests a person’s mastery over their own focus and attention. It’d be a huge wake-up call to everyone who thinks they’re smart. Because big words & rote facts are nothing compared to one who uses their focus to raise their smarts.
And then the question would become…
“How can you tell if someone has great focus-control?“
And well, the answer isn't simple.
It's kind of like spotting kombucha-lovers.
True geniuses are those who focus quickly & easily on increasing wisdom, creativity, and knowledge. I’m not sure this is something we can ‘see’, but people are always trying to do it.
I've still seen so many people...
Write lists of ways to 'spot' geniuses.
But none of them talk about focus. Some of the signs I’ve heard are listed below. They may be helpful to you, but the truest signs of genius are beliefs, mood, and focus regarding any given problem.
Note: These are just guidelines.
Just because I wrote them in a large font doesn’t mean they’re rock-solid, or guaranteed ways to spot smart souls. They’re just things I’ve heard suggested. One of them doesn’t automatically mean “Aha! Genius”! But if you notice a blend of these things in someone, plus some of the underrated traits I listed earlier, then there’s a high chance you’ve found a truly great mind. Of course, a truly smart person would observe their target over time, gathering data, to determine if they are indeed… truly smart.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Here's something you may not realize...
Society is dumbing you down, right now.
The group, tribe, or collective is always exerting pressure and influence on outliers. If you uproot an American and put them into a European country, what happens? Despite them being a die-hard hand-shaker, they begin greeting friends with a kiss on the cheek. Or they at least begin using slang they’d never dreamed of before, like ‘wanker’. Or drop them into the middle east, and even if they’re lefty, they’ll quickly learn to use their right hand for eating. All because culture exerts vast influence on the people in it.
IT WORKS ON THE WISE TOO.
No convincing needed.
They may not even realize it. And even if they’re smart, they may end up embracing culture just to avoid confrontation or discord. A ‘culture’ is an environment. And the one we’re in exerts pressure on anyone ‘going against it’.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The dumb masses are heavy.
It means an environment of ‘dumb masses’ pressure the ‘smart few’, hard. They do this just by existing, the same way a Middle-Eastern culture would pressure a visiting westerner. Being smart can feel difficult. Unpleasant.
This gives us insight on what's it's like to be smart.
Being smart can feel like drowning forever.
Truly great minds usually won’t give into the cultural pressure…
But that doesn’t make it fun.
But the pressure is always there. Smart people are drowning in it. It’s like a sea of stupidity, and it takes a lot of mental effort and strength to maintain ones integrity and wisdom in it.
Smart minds are often treading water in a sea of average beliefs, average approaches, and average-thinkers. Now imagine they get tired of dealing with it. Imagine they don’t have the mental strength necessary to buck the influence of an idiocracy? What happens?
They cave to the influence and become just like everyone around them. They let go of their mental discipline and get sucked under, into a culture of closed-minds.
All a smart person wants, is to be themselves, contribute what their mind has to offer, and be loved and rewarded for their contribution. Same as any human. Instead no one gets them. Their value is ignored or reviled. Their culture holds them underwater, and they retreat to anywhere they can find a breath of fresh air.
This is why some smart people prefer to be loners.
It’s a solution to being immersed in stupidity all-day, every day.
Does this turn geniuses into cynics?
Well, it’s likely to.
Smart people are often bullied, marginalized, and cast-out. Society is designed for the middle of the curve. It’s designed to help the average majority be comfortable. It’s not designed to challenge them. It’s not designed for the differently abled. It’s not designed to embrace genius.
Because of this, many smart souls view society with suspicion or hostility. Western hierarchy is harsh. Society loves someone slightly different, but hates those who are extremely different. Since during childhood peers, teachers, and parents all appeared to be enemies, many geniuses believe that’s all the world is. Being hated by enemies. They offer their insight. They aim to correct and help others. But no good deed ever goes unpunished.
So a seemingly ‘logical’ conclusion is to be cynical.
Once a genius has become bitter towards society, they tend to become more and more isolated. They embrace their role as an outsider, and never re-connect to the society that seemed to have no place for them.
This loneliness and isolation is so common, it has become a trope. “Intelligence Equals Isolation”.
"Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities."
— Oscar Wilde
Invisible genius, invisible pain.
Real geniuses can experience existential crises, social anxiety, depression, autism, nihilism, and more. Often their whole lives. Imagine not being able to enjoy day-to-day life like everyone else. Why? Because you’re a different, gifted, outcast. Imagine people disliking you just because you know things they don’t, and having to hide it just to fit in. They have a different ‘communication range’ than average people, which makes meaningful interaction quite difficult, like a person talking to an ant. True geniuses often struggle with identity and sink bit by bit into the stormy seas of meaninglessness.
and you're in the seas, right now.
You've been surrounded by 'wisdom-haters.'
You might even be one without realizing it.
Since admitting others may be smarter than us ‘feels bad’, most of society just chooses to hate wisdom. And the funniest part is, the wisdom-haters are the ones who appear most intelligent.
Wannabes desperately try to look smart.
They’ve spent so much time and energy trying to look smart because they’re so ashamed of admitting they might know less than others. They’ll use flowery, intellectual words. They’ll cite stats and studies. They’ll run circles around you with rhetoric. They’ll dress stylishly and charm you. They’ll hold ‘respected jobs’ that make them look smart. They’ll do everything they can to get people thinking they’re smart.
And since society isn’t very smart, their snake oil gets bought.
But the truly wise avoid most of this song and dance. They’re not out there trying to look smarter than others. They’re simply offering their wisdom, creativity, and intelligence to the few people who are receptive to it. They’re rarely correcting ‘the masses’ or calling out the wannabes because all it does is make the wisdom-haters dig in their heels more, and turn a smart person into a target.
You've got to commit to being smarter, because...
Your dreams are locked behind wiser choices.
But you do have to elevate your beliefs, mood, and focus.
And the truly wise are those who consciously and intentionally wield their beliefs, mood, and focus to problem-solve. Sometimes this means developing smarter traits, sometimes it means collaborating with people who have them, sometimes it means ‘creating your own luck’.
Whatever the case, the unwise neglect these 3 key ingredients and languish in mediocrity, realizing very few of their dreams. Smart people make wise choices about these 3 things. They value their focus, they’re careful with their beliefs, they elevate their mood. They do this because they understand this is the path towards solutions, achievement, and dream realization.
Each passing day you could practice the most important life skills.
And each day you stay comfy & avoid practice, you’re pissing your dreams away.
You deserve to unlock the path to everything you want, and it’s easy. The only thing is you’re either a person who’s wasting the opportunity for improvement or a person who’s stepping up and using it.
Wait a minute you sexist prick!
You haven't mentioned any female geniuses!
That’s because I’m trying to use examples that resonate and speak to the majority of people who read this. Names like Einstein and Tesla and Musk ‘click’ with people quite well.
The names of female geniuses like Goodall, Curie, and Hopper, unfortunately, just don’t have the same punch.
This article is 15,000 words long. Hopefully, dear reader, you can understand that it’s not meant to be a giant crusade against society’s biases towards male geniuses.
For example, I’d love to explain that female geniuses are everywhere. They use the tools of genius just as well as men. They use their beliefs, moods, and most importantly, focus. It’s just that they use them to become genius at less intellectual things. They use them to become geniuses at performance and expression. They use their focus to become genius at fashion and body language. They use their focus to become genius at care-giving. Many women are more brilliant at these subjects than Einstein or Tesla could ever dream of being. Why? Because those are the areas many women have decided to become genius at.
I’d love to dig deeper into this, but it’s not the point of the article. I hope that makes sense and you can see the truth:
I absolutely adore female geniuses too, whether I’ve decided to include them here or not.
You missed something else too!
You failed to account for genetics!
That’s correct, I made no attempt to account for genetics.
Because people understand genetics even less than they understand intelligence.
Genetics evolve. Some people evolved their stomachs to digest metal. There are ‘genetically normal people’ who’ve transformed their cells. They’ve become immune to cold and illness under the instruction of Wim Hof.
Yes, people can start with genetic advantages and disadvantages, but intense focus, positive beliefs, and elevated mood can transform a human being. It’s the process of evolution and mutation and it can happen faster than most people imagine.
The point is, I’m not here to tackle nature vs. nurture, or whether genetics or environment, or upbringing are more important for creating genius. I’m here to give insight.
And I’m here to teach you how to elevate your genius, no matter what genetics you’re starting from.
I'd love people to understand genius, because...
I don't want others to suffer like I did.
I got a jump-start on being smart. I was extra creative, wise, and intelligent since I was little. But being something doesn’t mean we understand something. I was intelligent but didn’t understand intelligence. And I suffered for it. I ended up homeless for years, betrayed, abandoned, jailed, failed 15+ businesses, and attempted suicide. Because having smarts, but misunderstanding how the world treats smart people is torture. It’s a recipe for pain. And it’s easily solvable. So I spent some crazy amount of time and energy making this page, hopefully, to help smart people understand their own life’s journey, and to help society understand more about intelligence. I dream of people getting a leg up on this topic.
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
— George Carlin
And it's selfish, because I want more smart people around me.
I dream of people...
Learning to learn better.
Fast learners are what humanity needs. We crawl at a snail’s pace on society’s biggest issues, because people don’t learn very fast. But they could.
But for this to happen, I've got to convince people to...
To admit ignorance.
I’ve got to convince people to invest effort in their thinking. I’ve got to wake them up from auto-pilot thought-processes and spoon-fed media. I’ve got to persuade them that being wrong is a blessing, and they should actively seek it out. I’ve got to convince people to practice smartness. So I’m studying persuasion. I’m building my influence. I’m attracting the money, power, popularity, and respect that will be necessary. Will I accomplish it in my lifetime? Who knows. But I’ll have fun trying.
Because I believe...
You're meant to be wiser.
You didn’t come to earth to reach a certain ceiling of intelligence, and that’s it. You came to earth to grow. Grow your intelligence. Grow your success. Grow your mind and body. Deep down in your DNA, you know this. But society has trained us away from the main tools of our growth. It’s trained us away from our focus. It’s trained us away from controlling our beliefs. It’s trained us away from elevating our moods. Society’s obsession with instant-gratification and misunderstandings of life has trained us away from critical thinking skills and expending mental effort. I’d love to help you let go of all the unhelpful trainings. I’d love to help you move beyond what most people have taught you about intelligence. I want to encourage the natural wisdom and creativity you’ve been connected to since you were young. I want to help you become a better thinker.
I want you to...
Think like a god.
OK, not exactly a god. But something great. I want to help you think like a scientist, philosopher, doctor, mechanic, artist, poet, oracle, and more. All of these types of people have valuable, helpful ways of approaching thought. I want to help you be a chameleon who’s able to think like all of them.
But most of society will only teach you to think like one of them. You’ll end up with limited thinking and narrow focus. You’ll be able to tap into the super-intelligence of life only in certain fields or under certain conditions, and you’ll go back to ‘average’ thinking for the other areas of your life.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s better waiting for you.
You just have to admit that maybe you don’t understand intelligence as well as you used to think. You just have to admit that I might know what I’m talking about, and that it’s worth an experiment. You just have to let me teach you.
Because to teach is king.
Clarity is power.
Understanding cures all fears. As a child, if you burn your hand on a stove, you may fear it for quite some time. But as you grow, and begin to understand electricity, appliances, heat, etc., you no longer fear the stove. Instead you use it for your own benefit.
Same thing goes for intelligence. If you understand it, it’s not a scary, mysterious thing. It’s not something to be avoided or dismissed. It’s not something to just believe society about. Instead…
…it becomes a powerful tool for your benefit.
This is why I love teaching so much. Because clarity empowers us all. It helps us ryze up to our greatest potential.
"Teaching is the highest form of understanding."
But most people don't really understand.
To learn, we must teach.
If you’re able to explain something well, you can be confident you understand it. If you stumble during your explanations, or can’t simplify the concept, you don’t really understand it. Hopefully I simplified some aspects of intelligence here. If I did, it’s a good sign that I understand what I’m talking about. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you believe in Howard Gardner’s 8 intelligences. It doesn’t matter if you believe g is the true measure of intelligence. It doesn’t even matter if you believe me. What matters is that you understand intelligence is something you can personally experience, something you can personally improve, and something you deserve to benefit from in your life. And regardless of whether I was off on a detail here or there, my main teaching is quite solid, and all about helping you tap into it.
My main teaching is this:
Anyone can believe their way to genius.
I’ve helped Cynthia go from understanding almost nothing about life to controlling her own destiny. And although untested, has jumped many IQ points since we’ve met.
She’s 180’d on thousands of beliefs and shed countless pieces of societal conditioning.
I’ve helped her transform her beliefs, improve her mood, and refine her focus quickly.
And I can do the same for you.
Cyn wouldn’t be considered a ‘genius’ yet, but for someone who spent decades not understanding much about life, she’s made stunning improvements. And they continue.
And she did it by changing her beliefs.
What if you could change a belief in 10min.?
There’s many beliefs to work on if you want more intelligence in your life.
- “I learn faster and faster.”
- “My intelligence, wisdom, and creativity continually improve.”
- “I’m more and more open-minded all the time.”
- “I value critical thinking and have fun using it.”
- “I practice assessing information that flows to me, well.”
- “I’m curious, and take initiative on my curiosity.”
- “I love experimenting, it’s fun to acquire data.”
- “I practice connecting ideas in creative ways, often.”
- And many more.
And I know one key trick to change your beliefs, fast.
I call it a Belief-Wheel.
It’s a simple exercise and all it takes is a pen and paper (or a blank document), and you. It can be done in under ten minutes without much effort.
But it still takes practice. It still requires you to make a change in your routine. It still means you have to sit down and actually do it.
To me, it’s a simple choice.
A simple choice, but one most fail.
Spend time on Netflix, or on your dreams?
Do you close this browser window and go back to your normal life of average thinking? Or do you make a new decision, change things, and start blazing a trail towards your own true genius?
Do you let yourself get sucked into the sea of mediocrity out there? Or do you dive into my belief-ladder exercise and head towards your dreams?
The question is, are you truly...
Psyched to level-up your smarts?
If what I’ve said here resonates with you, and you feel like you’re ready to improve your intelligence, I have two (completely free) options for you.
One: Dig deep into how to master your beliefs.
Two: Head straight to the belief-wheel exercise and start improving your genius.
The Belief-Mastery Mega-Guide
"I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars."
— Shawn 'Jay Z' Carter
One last word of warning:
To be seen as smart, you must dumb down.
Being smart is different from being recognized as smart.
Increasing your intelligence is one thing. Increasing your respect from ‘average thinkers’ is a totally different one.
If you want to be seen and recognized as smart, don’t bother focusing on wisdom. You’re better off focusing on persuasion, charm, and ‘dumbing-down.’ Turn your views, speech, and wisdom into pithy soundbites and catchy quotables. The public will adore you and consider you smart.
Being smart is a blessing and a curse. So is the respect of the masses.
Be careful which you choose, and why.
But whatever you choose, know I wish you success.