Genius is nothing more than the carrying of idle thoughts to their farthest conclusion. How many people, before Darwin, had pondered the origin of species?
Only one person dared to see the inquiry to its absolute end.
How many wondered about the relationship between time, space, and energy?
Only Einstein spent his life running after peculiar notions and questions no one seemed to answer.
Emerson once said,
“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”
Every human, being a possessor and product of the most complex object in the Universe, the brain, is capable of ingenuity and innovation. What is rarer than curiosity and invention is the force of will and passionate nonconformity that allows the seeds of genius to be grown into great works and discoveries.
How many ideas have passed through your mind, been left unnurtured, only to be presented later on as the product of someone else’s mind, perhaps to great public esteem and profit?
I hesitate to call the required impetus to action confidence because I doubt confidence in his own genius was Einstein’s or anyone else’s primary motivator. I think rather than being full of aggressive gusto or rebellion, most great thinkers simply ignore the doubting voices that might put halt to their explorations.
Leonardo Da Vinci did not resent his detractors or plot their downfall. More likely he was so busy with his own interests and endeavors that few of the doubters even appeared on his periphery.
To be a genius is to pursue with great energy that which interests you most, and arouses in you an industriousness and competency beyond that of your average capability.
It is not a magical voice in the head or the soul, guiding the hand of a select group and leading them constantly to truth and beauty.