The more research I do in around creativity, the more amazing people I interview for the Ideasicle Podcast, and even the more experience observing Ideasicle’s “Expert Sourcing” model in action, the more patterns emerge. Like this one that hit me in the shower the other day: if we live brilliantly, we will be more brilliant. Let me explain my point and then let me try to prove it to you.

This high concept we call “brilliance” is not merely an fixed, internal, DNA-defined, individual talent, the precise level of which is a foregone conclusion at birth. Brilliance, I’m quickly learning, is the result of far more than that.

Brilliance is just as much a result of how we live. And here’s some proof.

Sir Ken says so.

Sir Ken Robinson said in our Ideasicle Podcast interview that today’s educational system is failing its kids because it only rewards a very narrow “kind” of intelligence – fact-based, memorization, conformity, etc. But what about the rest of the kids whose brilliance may be in the arts, or expressed in other creative manifestations? The fact Sir Ken even makes this argument (which I agree with entirely) is proof that brilliance can be enhanced by outside environmental forces (an educational system that rewards each child’s “flavor” of brilliance) and is not merely a finite result of DNA.

Keith Sawyer says so.

In Keith Sawyer’s book, “Group Genius. The Creative Power of Collaboration.”, he debunks what he calls “the myth of the lone genius.” He claims that society has too quickly labeled certain historical individuals as “geniuses” (Edison, Morse, even the Wright Brothers), when their discoveries were actually the result of collaboration. Does that mean that Edison, Morse and Orville and Wilbur were not brilliant? Not at all. But it does suggest that their brilliance was not entirely from within, but a result of that plus external factors, in this case collaboration. I can personally support the power of collaboration with my experience at Ideasicle and witnessing the magic of any four Experts working together virtually on any assignment. It’s real.

Jeffrey Davis says so.

In my recent Podcast interview with Jeffrey Davis, he not only suggests we can improve our creativity by creating the right environmental conditions (the “Environmental Mind”), he also suggests that we can increase our creative levels through meditation and yoga. Proper breathing, according to Jeffrey, is the only way we can directly affect our autoimmune system, and the resulting reduction in “thought traffic” can open us all up to more creative thinking. Just the fact that we can affect our levels of brilliance at all, be it through our environment or through yoga, is further proof that our personal brilliance isn’t fixed, or solely a result of our DNA.

And a bunch of other evidence.

Alyssa Toro’s Podcast interview where she explains the benefits of brain foods, like Omega-3 fatty acids, to our brain. Or the “Picasso Principle,” the moral to which is that the fact Picasso could draw a brilliant sketch in five minutes wasn’t out of thin air, but a result of a lifetime of work. Or even my own notion of “Forcing the Coincidence,” where I maintain that if we just pay attention to the world around us, coincidences will happen, connections will be made, ideas will come. And there’s more, but that’s enough for now.

But think about what this means. We can directly affect our levels of brilliance. Please tell me that makes you happy.

Because it means we can consciously set the stage for the most brilliance possible that our DNA will allow (in that sense, I guess it is fixed).

And all we have to do is…live brilliant.

Live Brilliant.

I’m going to start being more conscious of the following as I try to increase my own odds of occasional brilliance:

  • Live-Brilliant Environment. Create an environment around myself that is inspiring, open and permissive. I might include attitude in this one, too, so I’m open to connections, because you never know where the brilliant ideas will come from.
  • Live-Brilliant Collaboration. Stop with the narcissistic view that it’s ONLY inside me and just needs to come out. No, brilliance is also “out there” and if I just work with the right people everyone involved will have more of it.
  • Live-Brilliant Health. My body will yield its brilliance more often with meditation, yoga and eating good brain food. Less distracting thought traffic, better blood flow, everything. (Note: this does not mean I can’t have a gin martini, up, with olives and shaken vigorously, every Friday after work.)

I encourage you to try to get the most out of your DNA that you can. Because “living brilliant” might just mean more, well, brilliant living.