For me personally, this is straight forward and simple to answer, granted with many variables unstated. The primary reason is that, I am Genius.
Note that I state ‘I am Genius’, I did not state ‘I am a genius’.
These two statements are importantly and significantly different.
If you cannot work out why they ‘are importantly and significantly different’ then you have an ordinary mind and although this question may be of interest to you, I strongly recommend that you might consider going back to wasting your life on a social media site created by some juvenile or whatever you do when not reading the writings of one of the greatest minds of this century.
Before we answer this question, one must define the term ‘genius’ because until we have an acceptable ‘true’ definition we cannot know what we are looking for in order to ‘spot’ it.
My personal definition, is written as follows:
‘Identifiable Genius is that which transcends its epoch and revolutionizes its field of endeavor so that it dramatically changes our previous understanding of the field of endeavor, and dramatically changes our way of thinking on the subject and often dramatically changes our way of life’.
Now that we have a definition, let’s return to the question:
How can you spot a genius?
Note that the question is in the present tense and implies, I believe, that one may perhaps ‘spot a genius’ in say a football crowd, in the Houses of Parliament in the UK, in the British Monarchy or perhaps in the US Government or elsewhere.
Such an achievement is highly unlikely mostly because in my experience, which is vast, geniuses are not to be found in such lowly places.
Secondly as our definition clearly indicates, genius is typically only discovered some years after the event since the transcendental nature of genius causes it to not be readily identified when it is busy about its work. The total effects of genius are often not truly appreciated until a generation or more after the genius has parted his/her mortal existence.
Ergo, it is very difficult to ‘spot’ a genius.
However, as the saying goes ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ and you are all partially redeemed from your seeking and suffering because you have inadvertently ‘spotted’ me. However, unfortunately your seeking and suffering is not completely vanquished and like anything else in life, it comes at a price.
Remember, as I stated above,
‘I am Genius’ which is not the same as ‘I am a genius’.
However, more to the point, my perception of a “genius” would be someone who has the willing capacity to see a situation from all possible angles.
More often, I’ve found myself lauding individuals who are brilliant problem solvers. Subconsciously, their wit and wisdom have me hold them at high regard.
I would spot a genius if he/she displays most of the following qualities:
Open-mindedness: A person who has the mental bandwidth to embrace wisdom. Wisdom is not limited to bookish knowledge, rather someone who is open to grasping other people’s experiences, understanding subtle nuances of a plethora of fields and overall enables himself/herself to stretch beyond what they are expected to know. Adaptability is key. From a physicist quoting Shakespeare to an artist learning to code - the human brain is a powerful tool we possess; the more we enrich it, the more it can help the world. However, reluctance to learn something new or understand a concept or simply mock knowledge for social acceptance can be a disappointment.
Inquisitiveness: Running in the same length as ‘open-mindedness’, those who count as geniuses rarely display reluctance for knowledge. Knowledge is Power. They are agile, observant and forever curious to learn new things. It stands to reason that you need to possess a high degree of curiosity to achieve excellence. By having an inquisitive nature, you are more likely to develop new ways of thinking and uncover previously unexplored ideas. People deemed as geniuses often pursue knowledge in an almost obsessive manner, beyond what the average person may consider reasonable.
Self-awareness: It is not entirely out of place to presume that a genius is more likely to be introverted. Introversion leads to a lot of self-introspection and being aware of one’s own capacity. Knowing and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and using the two as tools to progress is part of the mind of a genius.
High Intuitive Abilities: One of the prime traits of a genius mind would be how often they tend to discourage gossip or frivolous trivia. As much as a genius would avert themselves from participating in fish-wives gossip, they are more likely to hover around the conversation rather than point out an opinion. Such behavior gets termed as “awkward” or “loner” in social conventions, but many fail to realize that the genius observes the room and measure each person rather than the topic of discussion. This ability to shift focus to attain what they want from a particular scene rather than blend in is not uncommon among those who have a highly intuitive ability. A possible drawback of such an ability is usually the genius being socially awkward or overly introverted.
Abstract thinkers: People who have genius traits tend to think about problems and concepts in a much more dynamic way. As a result, they are unlikely to accept information and facts on face value. Instead, they will want to defy and test conventional thinking. Talking to someone who possesses genius traits can be tricky, as they may wish to challenge your way of thinking.
Risk-takers: People who are truly innovative will want to push boundaries. They will not be satisfied taking the safe route, especially if they feel they are close to making a discovery. This approach to life can sometimes mean they put themselves in risk, whether physically or in regards to the progression of their career, but ultimately this can lead to ground-breaking work.
Reject routine: Typical characteristics of a genius is that they may find it hard to conform to a normal routine, possibly because they constantly have ideas and questions running through their minds. Very often, people who achieve greatness are also nocturnal and will continue to explore their ideas and come up explanations while everyone else is fast asleep.
Now, almost every person reading this will have an average, high average or slightly above high average intelligence. To recognize a genius, first ignore book smarts, as being well-versed in something indicates discipline, and may be a result of stimulation to work hard for others.
Einstein had it right when he said that imagination is the key.
A smart person will use a vivid imagination to work things out and look at it from a new perspective, pick them apart, and visualize new concepts to understand them.
That is a very generic way to recognize a supposed genius.
Also look for high flexibility in both the sciences and arts, if both are seen that may confirm a supposed genius. Look for abilities, talent, and fast acquiring of skills in a vast range of areas, mental flexibility, a thirst for knowledge and quality, constant questioning, interest in seemingly every topic under the sun, ideas and achievements unlike anything you’ve seen before - all this - and a great, great, sense of determination, drive and perseverance.
If he/she has all this, then just maybe, against all the odds, in our vast world, you, have found, a diamond.