You’ve allowed other people and outside factors to create the self-view you have of yourself. And many of those people and factors aren’t qualified to offer you feedback or have motives to distort it.
We have to get the message of Mad Genius to young adults. (And by young, I mean old enough to read a book with F-Bombs without needing to go into therapy.) We have to get teachers teaching how to think again. And we’ve got to get business school professors talking about these concepts again.
This process is fueled by doing something quite simple, yet quite profound: asking the right questions. The value of doing this cannot be overstated. This process of curious inquiry is vital because…
If you ask the wrong question, the answer is irrelevant.
Mad Genius starts with a decision. The decision to tap your genius is about thinking in new and different ways. It happens when you refuse to accept “no” and decide to find a way. Even when there isn’t a way.
It takes vision to see something that hasn’t been invented yet. It takes guts to go after that vision in the face of doubt, criticism, and even ridicule. It takes resiliency to stay the course in meager times. Being an entrepreneur requires a mindset that few possess – because bringing a concept to market is as much an emotional rollercoaster as writing For Whom the Bell Tolls, sculpting David, or composing La Bohème.
But the genuinely important stuff is never about the tactics – it’s actually about the big idea. When you get the big idea right, the tactics become readily apparent.
Not only is failure not the opposite of success, it is actually an integral and necessary element of success. There has never been a goal worthy of achieving that didn’t warrant some failures along the way. In fact, the greater the chance and degree of failure, the more astonishing any potential achievement can ultimately be.
When you empower your team to create a possibility, a whole different, forward-looking perspective is created. What we’re really talking about is your ability to see the intangible. That’s what Steve Jobs and Apple did with the iPad. The iPad didn’t really solve a problem and no one was asking for it. But Apple created a possibility: a product that as soon as people saw, they wanted to have it.
Why is conventional thinking (and culture) so backward and innovation killing? Why is the default setting almost always, “that’s impossible,” or “it just can’t be done”? Why are millions of people simply incapable of practicing critical thinking?
Unless you have engaged in serious critical thinking and evaluation of your core foundational beliefs – and how you came to believe in them – what the Buddha called “your own reason and common sense” may be neither.