5 steps to become a genius in your chosen field

True genius comes with practice, not birthright.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Some may argue that geniuses are born, not made. But there are basic approaches that enable people to become geniuses in their fields. Many historical figures considered "geniuses" -- from Leonardo da Vinci to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates -- excelled in their fields because of the way they molded themselves, versus birthright or formal education.

Photo credit: US Department of Commerce, US Bureau of the Census

In a new post, Eric Barker describes what it takes to become a "genius" -- which he defines not necessarily by I.Q., but by excelling in one's chosen field of endeavor.

1) Be curious and driven: Utter fascination with a subject is what separates geniuses from the average professional, Barker points out.

2) Pursue actual time at your craft, versus formal education. Most successful innovators in history only had moderate levels of education. Rather, they worked incessantly. Here, the 10,000-hour rule applies. As Barker puts it, "you really can't work enough."

3) Test your ideas. Successful people are inclined to keep experimenting and recasting their ideas, Barker points out.

4) Sacrifice. Geniuses weren't necessarily the most popular kids in high school, because they devoted more time to their craft than to social engagements. Into adulthood, their devotion to achievement may mean giving up other pursuits in life.

5) Work because of passion, not money. By pursuing intrinsic rewards, the money often follows in the long run.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards