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Curiosity + Consistency = Genius

Letters live.

The seemingly complicated things are straightforward in principle; and the seemingly simple things are not often that easy to do.

As I read "The Story of Art", I was impressed again by those geniuses' life experiences during the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci, to be specific. E.H.Gombrich in his book described such genius as: "He would never accept what he read without checking it with his own eyes. Whenever he came across a problem, he did not rely on authorities but tried an experiment to solve it. There was nothing in nature which did not arouse his curiosity and challenge his ingenuity."

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In my previous post "You find the door. You have the key. Do you have the courage?", I mentioned that curiosity drove learning, but courage made it happen. But were curiosity and courage enough to cultivate a genius? Not quite.I discovered another critical element in the formula, which is: consistency. It was the key difference between an amateur and an expert, the difference between good and great.

For instance, when I lived in Shanghai, China; my workplace was 1.5 hours away from home by subway. Thus, I started to read books during the commute. I could make up at least 2 hours of reading time every workday while being on the subway. That would have been 500 hours. (Based on 250 working days per year in China.) I worked in Shanghai for three years, with a total of 1500 hours of reading time during commuting. So, I could have read 150 books in three years if I were not dyslexic.

Consistency could be a number game, but the number would be too small when you looked at it in a single day. Therefore, look for long term achievements instead, when you have decided to do something you are interested in. Put your curiosity into practice, then stick with it. So, such practice would then become a routine of your life. Moreover, it would be easier to achieve consistency from a good habit, which I will discuss in future posts.

Jim Collins mentioned the concept of "flywheel" in his book "Good to Great". Imagine that you were pushing a giant flywheel forward. You would find it extremely hard to kick-start the movement in the beginning, but if you kept pushing forward, the flywheel would begin to move a bit faster. With consistent efforts, you have moved it around a second rotation... Then, at a breakthrough point, the momentum of the flywheel kicked in your favour, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turns...

The stories of consistency surfaces frequently in every part of our lives, not just in the business world as Jim Collins illustrated. Yes, Leonardo da Vinci found the formula, but he was also gifted to become a genius. I believed consistency was something that all of us could accomplish in life rather than it be a miracle.

Hence, find your momentum and keep practicing until you become great for what you are good at.


Book to read:The Story of Art” — E.H. Gombrich

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