11 Strategies of Genius

Let’s be honest. Who wouldn’t want to decrypt the secret strategies of their favourite geniuses? How do they do it? How do they motivate themselves? What are their daily routines? There is much literature out there on the subject, many biographies of famous creative geniuses, and tons of self-help-books, explaining one or several specific habit-changing techniques. On this page I – in cooperation with sports- and motivational coach Frederik Deleuran – have put together a boiled down 11 step collection of useful advice, collected from scientific studies, quotes by our heroes, and from our own personal experiences.

1. Sleep

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”

John Steinbeck

You can’t overstress the importance of healthy and sufficient sleep! A 2013 study by a team of Norwegian researchers proves that every young person needs at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night. The same study shows, that the mental performance radically decreases, when a person sleeps less than the recommended amount of hours. Creative high-performance individuals, for whom 4-5 hours per night are enough, are an extremely seldom, or rather non-existing variation of the human species, it concludes. Internet research also reveals loads of evidence, that lack of sleep may be responsible for many diseases like alzheimers and cardio vascular strokes at a later age.
Source: “Unge sover mindre end nogensinde før” : videnskab.dk, June 1. 2013.

2. Eat healthy food

Let food be your medicine.”

Hippocrates

Many studies show, that living on a vitamin-rich diet, consisting of mainly fruit and vegetables, has a positive influence, not only on your physical health. Your mental and emotional condition improve as well. Much food is today categorised as so-called power food, with particularly beneficial health effects. See the list below with suggestions for a both mind-boosting and well tasting diet.

3. Exercise daily

“The Hopis consider running a form of prayer; they offer every step as a sacrifice to a loved one, and in return ask the Great Spirit to match their strength with some of his own.”

Christopher McDougall

A 25 minute daily running trip improves your brain’s ability to concentrate with up to 15%. Daily exercise is one of Sir Richard Branson’s own recipes for success, and an important factor behind his seemingly stress free management of a multi-billion global business empire. Mind the German saying: ohne Schweiß kein Preis (without sweat no reward). There are several excellent training apps, organising and instructing daily training for people with a tight schedules. My favourite app is Seven by the Swedish company Perigee

4. Set up your workspace

“It’s crucial to have a setup, so that, at any given moment, when you get an idea, you have the place and the tools to make it happen.”

David Lynch

In most cases, a work space will need to consist of a table, a chair, a computer, perhaps some paper and pens. What’s important is to have a clutter free space. Get rid of everything, that has nothing to do with the project you’re working on. This can free up a surprisingly large amount of mind capacity as well. In his book The Big Fish, David Lynch stresses the importance of always having what he calls a setup, so that you don’t have the extra hurdle of setting things up, before you can start working.

5. Start working

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt Disney

6. Manage your time

“Eighty percent of success is showing up”

Woody Allen

For many people the daily routines are externally structured and planned. They show up at a specific time of day, fulfil their tasks an go home to enjoy their free time. For the freelancer or home worker, it’s important to create a recognisable structure in time, similar to the regular office workers. Try to plan the day as if you were “in the office”. Show up on time at your workspace, keep track of time and make regular breaks. Don’t hesitate to ask others for help, if you find it difficult at first. It has a reason, that so many books were written on this, for many of us not so easy subject.

7. Set anchors

The concept of anchoring is well understood through the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlow’s well known dog-experiment. He found out, that by ringing a bell when a dog was fed, he could, over time get the dog’s saliva running, just by ringing the bell. The physical reaction had been anchored to the sound of the bell. In the same way a physical sensation like a smell can be anchored to a specific event, and when you smell it again, you remember the event. Especially the Americans Richard Bandler and John Grinder, founders of NLP took on to develop methods to implement the phenomenon into therapeutic techniques for improving the human mind.

8. Deploy fragrances

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember.”

Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet

Often considered esoteric nonsense, smells may actually have an impact on both concentration and the ability to learn. Historical evidence suggest alike. In Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet Ophelia hands her brother Laertes rosemary leaves with the words: The ancient knowledge about the importance of smells for the human nervous system is worth a closer look. Good fragrances for learning are rosemary, spearmint, orange and rosebud. For good sleep, try a drop of lavender extract on your pillowcase.

9. Concentrate

Perhaps the biggest factor you not becoming the kind of person that you want to become, fulfilling of your life’s dreams, is distraction!
Vær der hvor du er, vær tilstede, flytter din fokus sig hurtigt over på din telefon, fjernsynet så sørg for du ikke har det tændt, læg telefonen væk når du skal koncentrere dig. Sæt tid af til den opgave du går i gang, når tiden er gået så hold fri, luk computer og gå en tur hvis det hjælper på at lægge opgaven væk.

10. Get in the flow

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11. Meditate

“The greatest personal limitation is to be found not in the things you want to do and can’t, but in the things you’ve never considered doing.”

Richard Bandler