Why geniuses figure things out so easily?

Amira, my 5 years old daughter.

During the first 2 years of my undergraduate studies, I worked as a math tutor. In one of the classes, I pulled a math trick to solve a problem. After I finished, I asked the students if there were any questions. One of my students asked, wondering, “how would I come up with such a trick in the exam?!”. Then I answered:

There is the standard person and the genius person. If you ask the standard person, “how did you figure out this trick? The answer would be, “Dunno, I learnt it from the genius…”. And if you repeat the same question to the genius person, the response you would probably hear is, “Dunno, I just saw it that way…”. I was humble, my student doubted it.

What is so special about those geniuses? Why do they figure it out so easily? I decided to hash over the problem by collecting intelligence from these excellence-nominated students during my undergraduate studies, and voila, I got it.

The character I learned, which served me the most is to rethink my knowledge and views. Especially, rethinking the situations where confidence exceeds competence. “Rethink” is one of the core values for #IBM. This is why this great corporation owns the highest number of patents in the world.

It requires a great deal of humility to rethink a belief or opinion. Humility is the key to doubting what you know and being curious about what you don’t. It is an art form you got to master. Be careful when you use “IMHO” – an acronym for “In my humble opinion”. Are there any blind spots in your opinion covered with false confidence that gives false judgment? Are the politician and the preacher in you were put to action defending your views while hiding under humility masks? “Something must be wrong in my work. Why, where and what is it? What am I going to do about it?” This mindset helps me to detect situations when I am blind to my blindness. It did me wonders by losing any sense of false mastery.