They are viewed as being born special and therefore, different from the rest of society. According to Allen Gannett, that's not the reality. In his recent book, The Creative Curve, Gannett argues that being a creative genius may be simpler and easier to achieve than you think.
When looking at the most renowned creatives in our history, Gannett claims that what separates these geniuses from everyone else isn't some one-of-a-kind brilliance. In fact, to have genius-like potential or imagination, you only need to have an IQ that's relatively average (85-115), which is about 60 percent of the population.
Once IQ reaches a certain point, around an average score of 105, you have the same amount of creative potential as someone with a higher IQ score. That's about 40 percent of the population, so there's a 40 percent chance that if you are reading this article, you have the potential to be just as brilliant as any of the great minds in history.
If IQ doesn't have as great an influence on creativity as you may have believed, then what does?
No great was great on day one. Citing examples like Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Gannett points out that every creative genius toiled for hours, months or even years to master their skills and knowledge in a particular area.
It is in the obsessive thinking of a topic and dedication to master a skill, that sets great minds apart from the ordinary. However, don't be fooled by the 10,000 hour rule, that was just one study of music students.
Mastery is a byproduct of focused practice with an intent on improvement. Some fields like music may require more hours than say, competitive memorization or knitting.
2. Iteration and Imitation
Creating something truly novel rarely happens. Many of the greatest ideas, inventions and artworks were imitations or iterations of a previous version. Don't expect yourself to get it right on the first or even fortieth time that you create something.
Artists frequently change or remix other people's content in order to create something new and original. As Kirby Ferguson demonstrated in his popular Ted Talk and documentary, everything from Bob Dylan to Star Wars is just a remix of something that came before.
Geniuses are often depicted as loners who forge their own paths and don't rely on anybody to help them succeed. Based on Gannett's research, most creative individuals collaborated with and learned from others to develop their own skills.
The image of the brilliant creative who is intellectually superior to everyone else is inaccurate. According to Gannett's research, there isn't much of a difference between you and Mozart. If you've ever felt that you are not a creative and you lack those skills, the difference may be as simple as finding a mentor or support system and dedicating yourself to the practice.