Thursday, February 23, 2012

the genius of true love

Back in 2010 Malcolm Gladwell was on Radiolab. He had just written Outliers and introduces us to a cool idea...

The idea that so-called 'geniuses' are not, in fact, more talented or more evolved or more intelligent, but rather they are actively in love with the object of their vocation.

"Why are people so hostile to the notion that what genius is is an extraordinary love for a particular thing?" 
~ Malcolm Gladwell

If we reframe genius in this way, then...
Wayne Gretzky is in love with hockey. Lady Gaga is in love with self expression. Albert Einstein was in love with theoretical physics. Yo-Yo Ma is in love with the cello.

In love... the I can't stop thinking about you, obsessive, lose all track of time, kind of love.

This state of extraordinary love, as Gladwell puts it, allows us to do extraordinary things.

I recently posted on the genius of Richard Feynman. The divorce complaint filed by his second wife Mary Louise Bell states: He begins working calculous problems in his head as soon as he awakens. He did calculous while driving in his car, while sitting in the living room, and while lying in bed at night.

Richard Feynman loved calculous.

What do you love? Where does your passion lie?

listen to the old Radiolab below:

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