There was an interview with a member of MENSA, the high IQ club, where in the member was asked if they thought themselves a genius. They said no. They understood that they had an exceptional memory and a very efficient organizational ability, but still refused to acknowledge that they were a genius. This particular member said they felt that genius required creation. They looked at their life, saw they had excelled but yet had not created anything new. They hadn’t added to the collective intelligence of our species. I prefer this idea of genius. Too easily do we hold the idea of a genius parallel to intelligence. Intelligence is just the speed at which we learn things. IQ is the potential we hold at a certain moment and can actually change based on our experiences. But genius, that’s about creativity. While more emphasized in our culture than most, creativity is still not nourished nearly as much as it should be.

Oh, you’re this high end profession? You must be a genius! False. No one is intelligent or dumb based on their career or other real measurable means. Intelligence to me, is a choice. A decision you make every time an opportunity presents itself to learn.

You are constantly assailed with opportunities to learn. When faced with this daily opportunity, you have a choice to be intelligent or not. If you choose to learn from it, you are smart, if not, you’re a big ol’ dummy. These are temporary conditions completely under your control. Choose to be smart and you will be.

It pains me when I hear a person describe themselves as dumb or smart. You are never always one or the other. You’re constantly choosing. If you decide you ARE one or the other then I feel that can only lead to you missing opportunities. Why learn when you’re already smart? Who cares if you’re already dumb? Both ideas lock you into not learning. You then make learning an activity to be planned. It’s not planned. It’s to be found and relished.

To use an oft overused quote from Mark Twain, “Never let your schoolin’ get in the way of your education”.

Never let anything get in the way of your education. It is never complete. You can always be better. Always be smarter. Always. The height of arrogance to me is to assume that you don’t need to know something. How do you know? You can’t tell the usefulness of information when it’s presented to you.

Your brain technically has unlimited storage capacity, as far as we know. The problem with your brain is the organization. Your file system. Technically, every detail and moment is recorded on that wrinkly bed pan of yours. But, with so much recorded, how do you find what you need? You, and all of us, need to work on our ability to recall what we already recorded. But this is entirely too tangential to my original subject of genius. I’ll return to that.

My mother was a member of MENSA. She was extremely intelligent and is still to this day the smartest person I’ve ever met. However, my father was extremely clever. This is a different kind of intelligence. While my mother holds the record for the most amount of college classes taken and passed at a single time at the University of Tennessee, my father had the ability to see ingenious solutions to problems.

For example, my father was stationed at an army base in Germany after Vietnam and was responsible for waxing some of the barracks as part of his duties. Soldiers were being dishonorably discharged at the drop of a hat because the war was over and management was looking to lay some people off. They would bring in drug dogs to search for contraband to find targets for these layoffs. My father overheard two soldiers complaining about trying to hide their weed. As any good White(last name not race asshole) would do, he saw opportunity and struck. He said he’d fix their drug dog problem for $100(in the 70’s) and a bag of their weed. He then melted the wax into a liquid, crushed the weed into a fine powder, and mixed in the powder to the wax. After waxing the floors with this wax, anytime the dogs came in they were deemed unreliable because they thought there was weed everywhere.

This is what I call genius.

Instead of thinking of a new way to hide, he thought of a way to remove the detection device. I feel this is not an idea people would naturally jump to first. He created a new barrier by thinking outside of the norm. That’s what genius is to me.

An opportunity.

Well played and well earned. Genius is available to all of us, every day. You just need to learn every day until you can get that shot. Take it and be a genius, if only for a moment. Keep making those moments until you actually believe what I’m telling you.

Please let go of the idea that intelligence is determined or accurate or predictable. It’s variable. It’s a choice. A choice that you can make today. But, you know, if you get tired and wanna take a nap before deciding, I totally understand.

Just send ten ninety five to one two three fake street. Or not. Whatever. Look dude, just be smart. It’s your choice, today, tomorrow, and all those other days you don’t care to hear me mention. No one can tell you what you are because when you’re always learning, you become something else. No amount of insults can beat a new you.

Learn.