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You tend to find that 'hard work == discipline == genius' is the illusory conclusion made by those on the outside looking in. When we are truly inspired, in the 'flow' if you like, doesn't that feel like the easiest, most natural state you have ever experienced?

Ptn nails it in his comment - "they left out the inner spark". Absolutely. Genius is simply the release of the inner spark and that process is not something that could be characterised by effort.

Here's an alternative perspective - http://www.life2point0.com/2007/02/learning_to_fly.html and http://www.life2point0.com/2006/06/the_little_book.html




"Genius is simply the release of the inner spark."

Good remark. I think you still need effort, but that's the kind of removing obstacles between the spark and the outcome, rather than the kind of blindly digging here and there hoping you'll find a gem. I guess that's the reason of the importance of the mentor mentioned in the article.

And yes, it's simple, yet so difficult to achieve for even a slight bit of ego, lazyness or even over-eagerness get in the way... (from my experience of >20yrs of practicing instruments and acting; yet there's long way to go).


You are quite right Shiro.. it does take effort, but only as long as we believe that it takes effort ;-)

The central thesis of 'The little book of Flow' I linked to above is that those sublime moments when we get in touch with our inner spark, where inspiration gushes, answers flow from us before the questions, and we have all-on just keeping up... are simply the moments we, per chance, relax into our true nature, our natural (though perhaps forgotten) state. Notice that these moments invariably occur when we are happy and relaxed and the mind lets slip it's incessant control over of our life.,, and we suddenly feel more alive and connected to everything. If this is true (and it's not difficult to test this for ourselves) then what preparation or effort or understanding could be needed to know our own nature?

Of course, the ego doesn't want us to hear this - as our 'self-concept' it's under threat as once our mind expands to a greater awareness of reality it's impossible to shrink back again. So it's the nature of the ego (the human condition if you like) to believe that we must strive, practice, seek answers. But that doesn't make it either necessary or true.

At end of the day it can, if we wish, come down to a simple choice: - Shall I be true the truth as I find it - 'the spark', or true to the latest idea about what is still needed?

What I am long-windedly trying to say here Shiro, is that from my experience the problem is not the 'obstacles between the spark and the outcome' but the belief that there are obstacles between the spark and the outcome that need to be overcome. Does that make sense?


Yeah that makes sense. Whether the obstacles are there or just a phamtom created by our ego, my point is that the "effort" here is more like a round-trip journey, which can be quite enjoyable even if you'll eventually come back to the same place. Do we need that? I don't know, maybe not. Is it fun? I bet it is.


And if it's fun then where's the effort?

I'm with you Shiro... I'll take fun any day.


My wife once asked me how I could practice the same piano piece over and over and over, for hours, without being bored. It seemed to her that I was making a great effort. To me, every time I play, I discover something new, about music, about myself, about the instrument.... Even the least interesting basic exercise piece like Hanon (which roughly corresponds to the sit-up or squatting to build your body), if I concentrate on how every parts of my body works to interact with the piano, it's an unlimited source of discovery. I wish I'd known that when I was younger and taking lessons---I discover how to enjoy practicing long after I stop taking lessons.


Shiro, you are definitely one of the lucky ones. Very few know what it is to do something solely for the joy of doing the thing itself... and the great paradox is that when that is our only motivation, the 'success' that we would have wanted had we been goal (instead of process) orientated comes easy and naturally.

This is how to let the inner spark shine -- allow whatever we choose to do to be it's own reward with no preconditions or ulterior motives. What flows from that is always perfect. And what's more, somehow serendipity starts kicking in.

All great works are created from a sense of joy, not pain. If there is a 'secret' to genius, then surely this is it. Does this help answer your question tyn?


Well, it's certainly inspiring, just a little remark to add: some things are entertaining by nature (e.g. playing soccer) while for other things you need to make an effort (oops, here it is again) to discover the joy in them (e.g. for the procedure of building the right body to play better soccer). Most people will certainly devote more time to the first category of activities (what I've called entertaining by nature).


How fun can it be to make hundrends of sit ups everyday for a long period? Yet, strong abdominals might be a must in order to be top in some fields (let's say to be a soccer player in Chelsea) or to be the actor that plays Leonidas in 300. Building strong abdominals IS painful and boring and it takes a lot of motivation to do it.


Not necesarily boring. What if your dream is to become the best body-builder? "Fun" and "boring" are relative. Some consider fun to go out every Saturday to hit a disco, but I don't really like them (way too noisy). On the other hand, I consider programming fun, but there's a lot of guys that think that me coding in my free time is weird.


You are speaking based on a gut feeling, and the article cites what appears to be pretty thorough research and investigation into actual, real life geniuses and what they had in common.

I know which I'm going to put more stock in.


Sounds like meditation.




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