Is There A Genius Hidden Inside You?

    genius - woman's outline with 'boom' in brain

    As a writer, is your talent limited? Or can you develop beyond your wildest dreams? Watch the amazing video below in which Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. (If you can’t see the video below, click here to watch it.)

    Please join in the conversation in the comments.

    What thoughts did this trigger in you? Please share in the comments.

    Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at Write to Done. Grab her FREE report How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. Mary has helped thousands of students successfully create outstanding and profitable blogs at A-List Blogging and is the blogger behind Goodlife ZEN.

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    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at and for her cutting-edge book, Youthful Aging Secrets. In her “spare” time, Mary is also the brains behind, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Luciano says:

      This is the key, thanks!
      Luciano Italy

    • Amazing video and what an excellent way to finish off my week of work and begin a creative and fun weekend. Thank you for this amazing video from TED and the inspiring author. I think these kinds of inspirations go very far with each of us.

      Thanks you again for this. It was really great.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks for the post!

      Something about her performance bothered me and I cannot quite place what it is. She tries to be funny and shares what I believe are well meant platitudes. Not helpful for me.

      My biggest challenge is discipline and putting aside time to write. And I guess nobody can help me with this but myself

    • Colin says:

      What a coincidence! I just watched this very video the other day. I love TED Talks in general, and this one caught my eye due to the subject matter. It’s a very interesting “theory” (though I don’t know that’s the right word for it) that has implications beyond simply writing, or even art in general. Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, it’s certainly thought-provoking.

    • Wow… I’m loving that video. I think that our fears and doubts hinder us from tapping into the powers of our mind. And just what percentage of our brains are we using right now? This reminds me of the trailer of an upcoming movie, Limitless, where a writer was given a pill that will unleash the full potentials of his brain. The only sad part is that we are too busy chasing after money that we don’t have the time to unleash our geniuses. I guess, it’s all a matter of choice. Thanks for posting!

    • Thanks for posting this, Mary. Very interesting. The main thought that came to my mind concerning where “genius” and poetry as well as other writing come from is yes, it comes from outside of us. I cannot write a poem by myself, for example. I can put together words in clever ways and rhyme them or not and so on, no problem. But my best poetry (and stuff that has been published) is “born.” I really feel like I don’t have a lot to do with it except to be receptive and write it down. It comes from someplace really deep or out there somewhere; I don’t even understand it sometimes.

      W. B. Yeats’s wife is well-known for her “automatic writing” which formed some of Yeats’s work. There are others; I forget at the moment except for Stephenie Meyer (Twilight). I’ve read a lot about her, and it definitely seems like she’s working with a muse as well, and it seems she’s aware of it, from what I’ve read (some amazing stuff). Those novels started with a very vivid dream, and in my reading of them I see a lot of stuff that is much more profound than most average readers or cinema-goers realize (which accounts for the popularity, in part). She was a beginner writer/novelist, and it shows, but she tells the story very well and small faults are forgivable because the story shines through.

      Interesting stuff.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Mary,

      We hear so often that so many remarkable discoveries come in a flash when the receiver least expects it. I imagine that’s the “invisible assistance” and “the creative mystery” that Elizabeth is referring to in her talk.”

      I love the moments I feel as if something is creating through me. They come and then they’re gone for some time. Yet, since they’ve been felt, experienced, I have no doubt of the power of their presence. Nor do I doubt that it’s not me who’s creating in those moments.

      Whatever this mystery, this essence is, I marvel at it. And I love Elizabeth’s encouragement to keep showing up even in the times when the flow seems to have dried up. For me personally, though, I also find it’s not something that can be forced. I trust that this “glimpse of wonderment” will return one day.

      Thanks for the video – and for being you.


    • Thanks for posting this. It’s a great reminder of the spiritual aspect of creation.

      Many times, we focus on DOING things and tasks and processes and that’s all well and good when we’re feeling inspired and motivated. But when we’re not, and we feel like we’re FORCING things, it’s good to stop and distance ourselves from our creation.

      More likely than not, we beat ourselves up for what we don’t DO, when we should just BE, and trust that there is an ‘intangible’, a SPIRIT, a power, that will bring about this amalgamation of our thoughts and dreams and desires into something tangible if we trust it and trust ourselves to trust it.

      I definitely needed the reminder.

    • I wonder, when I sometimes sit alone in a room Ithinking out loud, is that a form of talking to your genius spirit?

    • Stuart says:

      “We all have genius”, this is fact. We can all realise this, but what we can’t seem to realise is the realisation of genius within us.

      If we did, the world would be something else.

    • Contrarian says:

      The Latin root for word desire (or dream) is, of the father. Did the Almighty put that dream in us? If so, then yes, if we can dream it, we can do it!

    • It’s interesting that this belief in creative spirits is something that both pagans and Christians can subscribe to! (Often when Christians use the word “inspiration,” they are referring to the Holy Spirit breathing life into a work.) Ms. Gilbert’s presentation served to remind me, as a Christian writer, that (1) it’s my job to show up at the keyboard every day and do my part, (2) I can be a little more direct with God on days when I don’t feel He’s there!, and (3) I need to remember to share the credit when things go well.

      Thank you for posting this, Mary!

    • Thank you for this post, Mary. The continued life and proliferation of Ms. Gilbert’s TED Talk over the past two years is a testament to its brilliance.

      mephetti: There’s actually a very strong case to be made the reality and influence of what Gilbert gets at in her talk — the reality and influence of muses/daimons/geniuses, whether one regards these as metaphors, literal realities, or something in-between — is already universal, and has always been so. One of the most epochal and defining developments that marked the 20th century was the “discovery” of the unconscious mind via the work of Freud, Jung, etc. As noted by Jung and Rollo May and quite a few other major figures, what we mean by “the unconscious” is something equivalent or even identical to the traditional ideas of the muse, the daimon/daemon, and the personal genius. So, in other words, we already are, and always have been, dominated by our daimons, and our individual and collective lives are permeated through and through by this reality.

      The implications for writers are, of course, profound.

    • mephetti says:

      I kind of like this… I wouldn’t take it literally, and I don’t think this kind of thinking could be made universal (or nation-wide) in this modern time filled with all these modern ways of thinking, but for an individual I can see how this might work. It’s definitely true that artists and writers have been falling left and right nowadays. I remember reading a scientific article which also showed that the line between “genious” and “insane” is very thin (and by insane they meant all mental diseases) with creative minds and scientific minds alike, but the question is, which came first: does the slight inbalance in us make us writers, or does us being writers make us unbalanced? If the writers were indeed saner during the ancient Roman times, I suppose it’s the latter.

    • As a pagan myself, I believe in these genius spirits quite literally, and when I’m feeling blocked or in need of inspiration, I have a battery of meditative and ritual techniques to connect with them and get the juices flowing. Works every time. 🙂

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