My good friend Jay Niblick, founder of Innermentrix International, recently completed a study called The Genius Project. His study became the basis for his latest book, What's Your Genius? The results from The Genius Project are incredibly interesting. Before I share the results with you, let me explain what The Genius Project was all about.
The Genius Project grew out of a desire to better understand two things:
- What was the cause of the problem he was seeing with many of his clients where they were frustrated and under-performing.
- What were the real implications of it for those effected by what he call “The Problem"
The Genius Project spanned seven years and involved hundreds of thousands of individuals across twenty-three countries. Each individual was given a scientifically validated instrument to measure their ability in a wide variety of attributes relevant to individual performance. These attributes were naturally occurring talents that people possessed based on how they think and make decisions. The science behind this instrument had been rigorously validated and proven in business use for more than fifty years. The study itself was designed to compare the level of these natural talents in the most successful people against the levels in non-successful people. Our hope was to see if we could find out what differences, if any, could be found that might answer our questions.
One of the reasons he chose the Attribute Index, an assessment based on the science of axiology, for this study was because it measures natural talents for thinking and making decisions. As such, these natural talents are pretty much hard-wired, which means they are permanently set or fixed. In other words, they are the result of the way the neural networks in our brains operate, and as such they do not change much over the course of our lives. As a result he was very interested in finding out if having any of these attributes (Talents) was significantly linked to achieving greater levels of performance. It is because of their permanent nature that he refers to them as natural talents (as opposed to learned or acquired talents which I'll cover in a my next post). He also chose these attributes because his company had lots of experience with them, which is important when you are trying to understand what these data are or are not telling you. And finally, he chose to work with these attributes because we already had over 75 PhDs and 900 certified professional consultants and coaches around the world with the experience and understanding required to accurately administer and interpret the results as well - which was vital if he was going to be able to gather good data.
All good research follows the basic principles of the scientific method. Those steps are:
1. Ask a Question
2. Do Background Research
3. Construct a Hypothesis
4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
6. Communicate Your Results
1. The question he asked was, “why do some people seem to succeed frequently and with much less effort while others, who put in similar amounts of effort, have similar abilities and intelligence and exist in the very same environment, fail to succeed to the same degree. "
2. The initial background research he conducted was that we began talking with as many people as we could about this question. He interviewed people who were and were not satisfied with their level of success. He spoke with industrial and organizational psychologists, thought leaders, educators, and experts in personal development. In the consulting work he did, he was already using the Attribute Index to actually measure individual thinking and decision-making styles so he started monitoring the results of those profiles to see if any trends popped out
3. The hypothesis he developed was, “based on observation and anecdotal evidence, the more self-aware someone is of their natural talents, and the more they incorporate this knowledge into the work they do the more successful they are. " In other words, the truer someone was to their natural talents - the more successful they were
4. The experiment he did to prove or disprove this hypothesis became the heart of the Genius Project itself wherein he profiled over 300,000 people around the world and statistically compared their scores with their level of performance to see what correlations would show up. He was interested in knowing if there were any single talents, or sets of talents, that only the most successful people possessed in high amounts.
5. Hisr analysis of all of this data (over 24,000,000 bits of it) revealed some significant findings that I will reveal in my future posts. .
What's a Genius?
To be able to statistically compare the differences between the most and least successful
people, we needed to separate them into categories of performance. We started with a
fairly universal set of four levels of performance:
- 1st Level - below average
- 2nd Level - average
- 3rd Level - above average
- 4th Level - excellent
Very early on, however, as he started interviewing people and looking at the best performers, he began to see the need for perhaps yet another level of performance. Those who were describing the absolute best performers they knew were having trouble with the four levels of performance we were using. The interviewees were telling him that these people were better than excellent. You've no doubt seen this yourself. Think of someone who is so damn good at what they do that they are better than “excellent. " The word falls short of conveying just how good these people really are, and you want to give them aneven stronger description.
"Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind"
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Time and time again, as he interviewed people, the most common word they used to describe this level of performance was “genius". They would say, “John is so great at seeing the big picture, he is a genius" or, “Mary is an absolute genius when it comes to understanding the client's problem. " Because we heard this talk of “better than excellent" so much, we decided to add another level of performance on top of excellent.
This became the 5th Level of performance and because we heard the word genius so many times, that became the nickname for this new Level of performance.
The revised rankings then became:
- 1st Level - Below average
- 2nd Level - Average
- 3rd Level - Above average
- 4th Level - Excellent
- 5th Level - Genius
Finally, since he was searching for what explained some people's ability to achieve the 5th level of performance, and become a Genius for what they do, it only made sense to call the whole thing the Genius Project.
When he says Genius, by the way, we aren't referring to a person's IQ. Our use of the term genius has nothing to do directly with how intelligent a person is and everything to do with how well they perform. Our use of genius is descriptive of a person's ability to perform, not their ability to acquire facts or information (the more classical definition of genius).
His definition of a Genius is: a natural and joyful ability for delivering the highest levels of performance. The natural part of this definition comes from the fact that these abilities are driven by your natural talents, and the joyful part comes from the fact that being true to your natural talents is not only more comfortable, but also more productive (both of which are more joyful).
my next few articles will provide you with the findings from The Genius Project, what the results mean to you, and how you can use the findings to achieve your own genius.
Mr. Timothy A. McGinty is the published co-author of the highly regarded Wake Up. . . Live the Life You Love® series. This series is a collaborative effort with such inspirational leaders as Tony Robbins, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracey, Steven E, and Lee Beard.
Mr. McGinty is also the author of “Your Blissful Life", a book which takes the reader by the hand and walks them through a process for defining their “Blissful Life" and the action plan for achieving it.
Imagine Yourself. . . is an organization focused on enabling clients “breakthrough" in achieving their success. Mr. McGinty has helped many organizations and individuals discover their passion, define the life balance they seek, develop strategies for achieving that balance, and held them accountable for reaching their goals. His clients have been so successful that Mr. McGinty is known as “The Breakthrough Guy"
Imagine Yourself. . .
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Strongsville, Ohio 44149