Found this interesting video on The New Yorker's site, it's Malcolm Gladwell speaking on genius. His premise is that there are (at least?) two different kinds of geniuses, one is the type who may arrive at genius via an incredible inimitable moment of inspiration, another is someone who's very smart and arrives at genius after years of focused study.
I may be a little off on the details there, because I grabbed the link a few weeks back and I can't rewatch the video now. But his "point to help the world" was certainly that we should care more about educating the populace at large such that we have more "very smart" people that can apply themselves to the big problems/challenges in life.
This sort of pigeontails with my theory on genius, that being that we shouldn't view it as a skill or trait that an individual possesses, but more a zone or a place that we enter and leave. Genius, as I see it, is almost like falling in love. We all have the capacity for it, and perhaps some are more predisposed to fall than others, but everyone has their moments.
The real takeaway was Gladwell noting that studies show 100,000 hours of focused study is what's needed to become a master of something. And this translates to about ten years (actually 11.5, but thereabouts).
This makes a lot of sense to me and gives an interesting fixed boundary to work with. If you start working a job at 22, and stay there for ten years, at 32 you should be a master. And filmmakers and artists who start at 20, may hit their stride at 30. And of course you can accelerate or slow down the process according to how much you want to focus. And it highlights how you inhibit your potential in one fieldby spreading yourself across many fields. The phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" speaks directly to this 100,000 hours theory.
So now I'm trying to log my hours spent doing music, or writing songs, or blogging, or my other creative/professional interests. And I'm becoming more conscious of the time I spend doing things. Like, I'm already a master at drinking now, so I can focus my attention on other stuff. Like sex maybe. I might need more hours there.
How about you? In what field are your genius/master hours logged? Where do you need to log more?
100,000 Hours To Genius [New Yorker]