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On being called a Genius.


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#21 Obachuka   Members   -  Reputation: 143

Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

I haven't been called a genius, but being called talented is similar I imagine.

 

I always tell people, "You can do it too, if you practiced."

 

They'll say, "Nah, I couldn't do that."

 

What they mean is they don't have the drive to work hard enough to gain that skill. And you know what, that's totally okay too.

I think sculpting is cool, but I would never be good at sculpting because I don't care enough about it to practice.

I just practice what I like to do.



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#22 BeerNutts   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2998

Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

FWIW, I'm in the camp that some people (and I don't mean the handicapped) don't have the capacity to understand the abstract nature of programming.  We (the game dev community) probably don't interact with these people too much, considering we were probably all in the higher level class in High School, and our jobs typically require above-average intelligence.  

 

But, when I was in High School, I attempted to teach BASIC programming to some guys I was friends with.  I enjoyed programming so much, and I showed them what I could do, they wanted to learn.  But, it just never "clicked."  The things we take for granted, like how a variable can change, and it represents "some value" couldn't be comprehended.

 

As George Carlin said, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

 

But, being able to program certainly doesn't mean you're a genius, so don't get a big head.


My Gamedev Journal: 2D Game Making, the Easy Way

---(Old Blog, still has good info): 2dGameMaking
-----
"No one ever posts on that message board; it's too crowded." - Yoga Berra (sorta)

#23 froop   Members   -  Reputation: 636

Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

when people call me a genius, the next thing they usually do is to ask me to fix their computer or website :D



#24 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4742

Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

^ Pretty much.


"I AM ZE EMPRAH OPENGL 3.3 THE CORE, I DEMAND FROM THEE ZE SHADERZ AND MATRIXEZ"

 

My journals: dustArtemis ECS framework and Making a Terrain Generator


#25 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:56 PM

I have a horrible habit of answering peoples questions. Questions like "How did they do that?" and "I wonder how that works...". Yeah, those kinds of questions. I get called a genius pretty frequently, but not as much as I get questioned about my knowledge or called a know-it-all or nerd or the infomus follow up question "How did you know that?"

 

I usually just say that I watched a lot of Discovery Channet as a kid and if they question if I'm right or not, I just tell them to Google it if they don't believe me.

 

But I don't like being called a genius. I'm not one. I'm just oddly like learning and have well above average memory and problem solving skills. Yeah, I got the papers that say I'm pretty damn smart and all that, but that doesn't take into account my over-powering laziness or sheer lack of motivation for things that don't challenge or interest me.

 

Most important thing I've learned when dealling with the "G" word is to be humble and modest. There will always be someone better and there will always be someone worse. And your worst day may land on someone elses best, making you fail where you would have once succeeded.

 

Now I'm getting all "philosophy" up in here, so time I stopped writing. biggrin.png


Edited by DaveTroyer, 18 January 2013 - 03:57 PM.

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#26 cowsarenotevil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2099

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

FWIW, I'm in the camp that some people (and I don't mean the handicapped) don't have the capacity to understand the abstract nature of programming.  We (the game dev community) probably don't interact with these people too much, considering we were probably all in the higher level class in High School, and our jobs typically require above-average intelligence.  

 

But, when I was in High School, I attempted to teach BASIC programming to some guys I was friends with.  I enjoyed programming so much, and I showed them what I could do, they wanted to learn.  But, it just never "clicked."  The things we take for granted, like how a variable can change, and it represents "some value" couldn't be comprehended.

 

As George Carlin said, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

 

But, being able to program certainly doesn't mean you're a genius, so don't get a big head.

I think that this is 100% false. I used to think exactly the thing you did, and for the same reason, too, but then I realized that the reason it never "clicked" is because I was not teaching it well. When people learn a skill, they tend to forget most of the learning process itself. This means that even if you were to try to teach someone of exactly the same aptitude and learning style as your own, you'd still get the feeling that they were harder to teach than you were, because you simply don't have a good grasp of what was going on with you during the period between which you were first introduced to something and when it became second nature. In practice, it's more complicated still, because people learn abstract skills in different ways and at different paces. Teaching itself is a skill that takes work to develop, and every time I've thought that someone just didn't "get" programming, I have been proven wrong. It can take a long time, but it happens eventually.

 

I do, however, think that there is such a thing as innate aptitude, but I also think it's neither necessary nor sufficient for developing most "skills" (programming, math, art, etc.). That is, if you're innately talented, you might be a "natural," but you still have to put in the work to achieve true expertise. Likewise, even if you don't seem to have the "knack" for some skill, you can probably still learn it if you work at it hard and efficiently. On that note, I think that aptitude is closely tied with interest, but not always in the most intuitive way. Being highly interested in skill "a" doesn't necessarily correspond to having aptitude for skill "a," but being interested in something might well make you learn skill "a" more efficiently, because just by doing things you enjoy you can learn some of the things required to become an expert in skill "a." That is, you get better at skill "a" not because you worked harder at it, but because you worked more efficiently, just by virtue of doing the work that you enjoyed (work that may not even have been obviously related to skill "a").

 

In short, I reject the notion that some people have the "magical trait" but I also reject the notion that being better at something corresponds perfectly with having worked harder at it. The truth is that both ideas are gross oversimplifications. If I had to say what I thought genius was, I'd probably say that it's reasonable competence in exceptionally many skills (corresponding to my notion of aptitude or enthusiasm for learning) as well as exceptional competence in reasonably many skills (corresponding to doing the requisite work to achieve actual mastery).


-~-The Cow of Darkness-~-

#27 BeerNutts   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2998

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

All these responses from really smart people, yet no-one has yet said they are a genius.

 

Another example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, or just people down-playing their own abilities?  probably a little of both IMO.

 

And Cow, I can see where you are coming from, and I won't argue the point, but my (admittedly limited) experience in this realm is doubtful. 


My Gamedev Journal: 2D Game Making, the Easy Way

---(Old Blog, still has good info): 2dGameMaking
-----
"No one ever posts on that message board; it's too crowded." - Yoga Berra (sorta)

#28 BeerNutts   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2998

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:10 PM

I have a horrible habit of answering peoples questions. Questions like "How did they do that?" and "I wonder how that works...". Yeah, those kinds of questions. I get called a genius pretty frequently, but not as much as I get questioned about my knowledge or called a know-it-all or nerd or the infomus follow up question "How did you know that?"

 

From my perspective, when I see people who act like that, my 1st instinct is they like the attention garnered, even if it results in being called know-it-all or nerd.  A lot of smart people want to make sure people know they are smart, whether they admit it or not.

 

Reminds me of the guy who sits down at a poker table and begins showing everyone how much he knows about poker and how well he can handle his poker chips; he's only made it that much harder on himself as people immediately can put a skill level on him right off the bat.


My Gamedev Journal: 2D Game Making, the Easy Way

---(Old Blog, still has good info): 2dGameMaking
-----
"No one ever posts on that message board; it's too crowded." - Yoga Berra (sorta)

#29 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

I'm not necessarily called a genius all the time (just a few times), but they definitely are just vaporous words if coming from someone with no idea of what they are applauding me for. For example, I built a very nice PC about a year ago, and I spent a lot of time and effort making it look nice with lights and such, so it is something I like to show people a picture of if a casual conversation goes to computers. There are people whom I do tell about what I work on when and if they ask (as a casual conversation), and once I had mentioned that I finished a rendering system to render a simple scene, and the first thing they said was, "You made your own computer? Is it a Mac? You're a genius!." I honestly think the word should be removed from the English language due to its abstract and almost meaningless nature, the fact that no person deserves (or ever deserved, or ever will deserve) that title, how people of exceeding intellect (unlike myself) usually do not appreciate the worthless praise, and how it is such a futile goal for some people to "just become a genius," as believing one is "genius" leads to arrogance and IABTEE (I Am Better Than Everybody Else) Syndrome.


C dominates the world of linear procedural computing, which won't advance. The future lies in MASSIVE parallelism.


#30 kuramayoko10   Members   -  Reputation: 386

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:04 PM

Or they are making an excuse for themselves, "I could do that if I had a magical artistic trait".

 

 

What separates a great musician from the awestruck audience member isn't some kind of genetic infusion of power. In reality, the difference is merely thousands of hours of practice, study, and dedication.

 

Hard work and good motivation makes people break any barriers they want. However, this doesn't deny the fact that some people have talent.

Talent isn't a magical spark inside the person that give them the power to create anything. In my vision, talent is a [über]developed sense one has (e.g. vision, hearing, tactile, etc).

You can't say that the born blind man that draws on paper buildings in proportion and perspective achieved that only because he worked hard on it.

He worked hard on his talent (tactile sense), that is why. In result, Discovery Channel calls him a Superhuman.

 

@Topic

I agree with CJ_COIMBRA. The thing that annoys me is when people call me genius and right after it wants me to fix their eletronic stuff just because I work with computers and handle them well.


Edited by kuramayoko10, 18 January 2013 - 11:07 PM.

Programming is an art. Game programming is a masterpiece!

#31 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14197

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:22 AM

Hard work and good motivation makes people break any barriers they want.

This is simply wrong and I dislike giving hope to the hopeless.

By this logic any one of us could have written the theme to Jurassic Park. If that was true John Williams wouldn’t be so famous, because I can guarantee you there are people out there who have put in just as much time and will never be able to write such music.

I myself have put thousands of hours into piano, and while that makes me technically proficient, that is not enough to make a genius.
There are certain barriers you can’t overcome, and I will tell you right out that no matter how much I could possibly practice, I would never click in a way that would ever allow me to write the theme to Jurassic Park.


There is a reason some people are famous.
They can do what others can’t. Not, “They can do what others could if they practiced.”  What others can’t.

Especially when it comes to creativity.  You can’t practice creativity.  You can’t just try hard to be creative and then one day it will happen.

 

Some people are more than others.  That is a simple fact.  People should spend more time acknowledging their weaknesses instead of trying to fight them.

Or at least fight them on realistic terms.  One of my incomplete goals is to release an original CD, but I know that with my inability to understand music it would be terrible even if it ever did get released.  I simply do not have the propensity to match John Williams in music.

 

Do you?

 

 

L. Spiro


It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
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#32 kuramayoko10   Members   -  Reputation: 386

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

@L.Spiro

I completelly agree with you. Let me explain the quote you got from me:

"People have to work hard on their talent and good skills".  That is why in that phrase I included "good motivation" and "what they want".

John Williams is a genius because he worked hard on his music skills and he got the right motivation for it. Not one of us here have the right and good motivation to right a Jurassic Park theme.

 

I don't think that "I want to become popular and rich and awesome" is a good motivation. I think John Williams really likes the music he composes and really feels it.


Programming is an art. Game programming is a masterpiece!

#33 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2185

Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:58 AM

I think what L.Spiro mean was that no matter how motivated you are in your dream of life, that is not enough. Only for being a good craftsman.

I agree that this is the sad truth. And if we would forget about the "if you want it bad enough, and work hard enough you can reach anything" BS, people's lives would be easier, happier and more fulfilling in my opinion.

EDIT: on the other hand, it's not easy to tell if you are really talented, if you don't work on the thing. So I dunno

Edited by szecs, 19 January 2013 - 11:00 AM.


#34 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10360

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:25 PM

John Williams is a genius because he worked hard on his music skills and he got the right motivation for it.

He's a genius because he was born with innate musical talent, and worked hard to hone that talent.

 

It is politically expedient in countries like America to propagate the idea that 'all men are created equal', but that's a philosophicalideal, nothing more. We are not all equally capable of becoming the next Mozart, the next Einstein, or the next Steve Jobs - each requires a particular talent, the lack of which no amount of hard work can overcome.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#35 kuramayoko10   Members   -  Reputation: 386

Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:01 PM

Again, I put it in a way that is hard to understand.

What I meant is exactly that he worked on his talent. His music skills are his talent... I am not saying that everyone has music skills (I don't, for instance).

 

EDIT: For the record... I don't like the concept that anyone can do anything. That is why I gave the example of the born blind man that can draw... not every bling person can draw.

However I do not think that everyone knows what his/her talent is. So it is not acceptable is someone tells the other that he can't do something. Everyone has to try hard before moving on.


Edited by kuramayoko10, 19 January 2013 - 01:06 PM.

Programming is an art. Game programming is a masterpiece!

#36 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9262

Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

John Williams is a genius because he worked hard on his music skills and he got the right motivation for it.

 

He's a genius because he was born with innate musical talent, and worked hard to hone that talent.

 

It is politically expedient in countries like America to propagate the idea that 'all men are created equal', but that's a philosophicalideal, nothing more. We are not all equally capable of becoming the next Mozart, the next Einstein, or the next Steve Jobs - each requires a particular talent, the lack of which no amount of hard work can overcome.

 

I agree. I'm very tired of people who just keep preaching "everyone can succeed if they put their minds to it". You know when you can do something, and you know when you can't. Generally, you naturally converge towards what you are good at, at around age 15-25. There are exceptions, of course, and you can be talented at multiple things, but on average, people are aware of their limits and know them very well. That's not a flaw, it's a fact of life - you can't be good at everything. And, yes, you aren't born with an innate knowledge of your talents - you discover those throughout early life as you grow up and experiment with different things, and it's a natural process which should be encouraged but not forced.

 

Just the same way that if I suddenly decided to learn to play the piano and practised every day for years, I would still not be a good musician at the end of the road. Sure, I'd be able to convert sheet music into sound with an acceptably low error rate. But there would be no inspiration, no creativity, and most of all no fun - my brain just isn't wired that way.

 

As for the actual topic, I've had people call me "genius" before, a couple times, but I don't think anything of it. No, not because I'm some arrogant jerk who takes that for granted, but because I know it doesn't mean anything. It's merely a friendly way of saying "wow, that's cool but I don't understand any of it". I am a "genius" from their layman perspective, in this particular domain, because that's what I'm good at. And I also sometimes think the same thing when I see people doing stuff I would have never thought of myself (e.g. building a cleverly designed contraption, or coming up with a really smart math derivation, etc..).

 

So instead of endlessly dwelling on how you can't do X and Y, I think the most productive approach is to make peace with your weaknesses, and try and make the best of your strong points instead. Again, this is not fatalistic, it's just common sense. People who think anyone can succeed at anything are simply delusional.

 

To me, "all men are created equal" doesn't mean "everyone is good at everything". It means "give everyone a chance to find what they are good at".


Edited by Bacterius, 19 January 2013 - 01:22 PM.

The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.

 

- Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis


#37 Shaquil   Members   -  Reputation: 815

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:19 AM

I continue to struggle to accept the fact that programmers, people who--one would think--are inherently only interested in concepts that are logical and have proven accuracy, would still believe in talent. Talent is a word for an unproven, magical substance that by all appearances does not exist. We look at the fact that someone is incredibly successful and famous and skilled, and we try to make assumptions about how the person became that way. It's like trying to guess the rule of a mathematical function based on its output and only a vague understanding of its input.

 

Success is a combination of hard work, luck, and connections. There is very sparsely any genetic, physical, astronomical, mathematical or neurological evidence, anywhere, in any research, that suggests people are born with inherent skills at things as arbitrarily designed and culturally specific as a genre of music (in Mozart's case) or sport (in Michael Jordan's case). This is the token part where I plug Outliers.


Edited by Shaquil, 20 January 2013 - 10:20 AM.


#38 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16382

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:31 AM

The closest thing to "having talent" that I will entertain as plausible is a sort of affinity.

Yes, thinking logically and abstractly come naturally to me; does that mean I have some kind of spooky trait that makes me smarter than other people? No. It means that there was less resistance along the path to developing my skills as a thinker and programmer. I was not born with some attribute that makes me a good programmer; I was born with attributes that made it easier for me to become a good programmer.

Are there things I'll probably never be good at? Sure. I have shitty knees and asthma, so I will never be a professional football player. Some doors just aren't open.

But this idea that you have to have some kind of "gift" to excel at things irritates me.


"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

-- Albert Einstein

#39 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2185

Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:08 AM


"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

-- Albert Einstein

 

That statement pretty much shows that there are "gifts to excel at things" which contradicts your post, if I understood it well (a thing in what I'm below average).

The question is, what are those things? I honestly don't believe (that was a lie, but anyway, I'm trying to acknowledge) that programming doesn't need that "gift". And I do believe sports and art (to some extent) does. Maybe not the amount that an outsider would think.



#40 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16382

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

My point is that different people have different potential. What you make of your potential is up to you. I could have gone many different directions with the basic affinities I was born with; this is just where I chose to go.

We can debate the subtleties of this all day: can one person have "more potential" than another? Can one person develop that potential in a different way than someone else with equal potential? Can you fail to do anything with your potential? And so on.

I'm not saying that everyone is on a level playing field. I'm saying that people put far too much stock in the genetic component and not nearly enough emphasis on what it takes to harness that.




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