Think Like a Genius

There are many ways to classify a genius. But if you look at the historical figures whom most people would consider geniuses, such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Beethoven, you can see one thing they all share in common: they were all able to think in a way different from the mainstream, and thus made connections that no one else did. Based on that pattern, this article will address some of the ways you can think like a genius.


  1. Love learning. Geniuses are passionate about the things they do. If you want to think like a genius, find what you love and dive in headfirst.
    • Figure out what your learning style is and make use of it. The major types are auditory, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic and kinesthetic. Experiment with different techniques for absorbing information and stick with what works best.
    • Learn how to Self Educate Yourself. There are lots of resources available on the internet and through local services like community colleges and libraries that can put all sorts of exciting information at your fingertips.
    • Be pro-active and ask questions. There are people you meet every day that know all sorts of things and have a variety of valuable skills to share. As a genius, be interested in the potential in everything.
    • Be over-comprehensive in your studies. Learn everything there is to know.
    • As you learn about different disciplines, think about how they connect to one another.
  2. Start ambitious projects and see them through from start to finish. Genius ideas have often occurred in the pursuit of something that many contemporaries thought to be downright crazy. Create opportunities for yourself to discover new things by embarking on journeys on which no one has yet embarked.
  3. Embrace change, uncertainty, and doubt. It is on the edges of knowledge that innovation and discovery happen. Don't be afraid to question conventional wisdom, because geniuses are often the ones who rewrite current conventions.
  4. Be prolific. Try for quantity before quality. To produce exceptionally good work, do a lot of whatever you're doing. It increases your chances for success and it means you will get more practice along the way. It also takes the pressure off, knowing that while an effort may be your first, it will likely not be your last. Most geniuses in history, whatever they were doing, did a lot of many things, and not all of it was genius!
    • There is a theory that to become a "master" in any subject, you need 10,000 hours of practice. Professional orchestra players and computer programmers demonstrate this idea. (Citation: Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, 2009, but see also Creativity: Genius and other Myths, Weisberg, 1986)
  5. Learn about Bloom's Taxonomy. Bloom's Taxonomy is a breakdown of the six levels of thinking, from the lowest level to the highest. You can use it to help you think about thinking on a deeper level.
    • Knowledge is accepting and believing a fact. Knowing 2 + 2 = 4, doesn't mean you know what 2 + 2 = 4 means.
    • Application is knowing how to use the fact. You can determine that 2 cats plus 2 cats equals 4 cats. You don't know what 2 + 2 = 4 means, but you can apply it.
    • Comprehension is understanding a fact: You understand the concept of addition and how 2 + 2 = 4.
    • Analysis is breaking down information into its parts. 4 - 2 = 2; (1 + 1) + (1 + 1) = 2 + 2 = 4.
    • Synthesis is Creating something new. (2 + 2) + (2 + 2) = 4 + 4.
    • Evaluation: Discussion of the merits of 2 + 2 = 4.
  6. Think differently. You are different. You think differently. Every kind of genius is different and individual. And every kind of opinion has something true and something you can learn from.
    • Remember that different ideas have not historically been accepted well, and yours may not be either. Geniuses throughout history have not let this deter them; neither should you.

Metaphorming: The Official "Think Like a Genius"® Method[1]

  1. This is an outline of a method that is taught in workshops and discussed in the book Think Like a Genius by Dr. Todd Siler. It involves connecting and transforming information (data, knowledge, concepts, experiences, etc.) in personally meaningful, purposeful and useful ways. Use this image or choose another and it relate it to your life.
  2. Give an example of a connection you have made to this image.
  3. Think about what the image tells you about work and life.
  4. Create a plan that will make a change.
  5. Apply this change to your work and life.


  • Learn to take suggestions and criticisms in a positive way. Many things can be learned from intelligent people if you listen to them.
  • Do not read only about geniuses, but also read what geniuses wrote, so that you can see how they were thinking. Always search for primary sources.
  • Don't just read success stories read failure stories; learn from them.
  • If you think you are almost as smart as a genius set an even higher goal for yourself.
  • Look up Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty. Study how they think. It could help if you see two conflicting, if fictional, geniuses.
  • Read about geniuses, especially in the field(s) that interest you. What made Richard Feynman great? What about Nikola Tesla?
  • Everyone is a genius, but they are in different ways. Think outside the box.
  • Don't stop learning and trying new things, even if you're a genius.
  • Do not overthink. It will lead to misconception.


  • If you learn a lot and express your knowledge to everyone, don't show off. Genius people think of themselves as if they know a little. They try to think like this and keep learning. That's why they become successful.
  • Don't be selfish if you think like a genius.
  • Don't fight with anyone. Try to learn how to make them your friends with your thinking.

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Sources and Citations