The Five Faces of Genius

Five Faces Overview

Here are the five thinking styles based on creative genius in the arts and sciences. These faces can help you understand the way you think and unlock

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The Fool

The Power to Celebrate Weakness

The Fool uses three related skills to find new ideas – inversion, absurdity and perseverance. By turning things upside down, pushing notions to the extreme and continuing to try in the face of adversity, Fools navigate their imagination to conjure up great ideas. They honor the ‘random’ influence knowing that uncertainty is the field for invention.

The Fool Skill in Creative Genius

When the Impressionist movement began, the trend in painting was to observe nature and copy it. Elaborate details, smooth surfaces and highly finished canvases were in vogue. Monet, Manet and Renior turned the art of painting upside down. They painted their impressions of what they saw using small strokes and patches of color to create illusions. What others thought was a weakness in painting – lack of realism – became the center of the impressionist movement. The artistic revolution came through the skills of the Fool – finding the weakness and celebrating it.

The Fool Skill in Business Genius

Sam Walton was the business genius who created Walmart. Walton took the rules of conventional retailing and inverted it. Instead of choosing a location for his retail store first, he chose the location of the warehouse. In so doing, he ensured the low cost distribution of products and led the discount retailing revolution.

The Fool Skill in Everyday Genius

You can be sure that the Fool Skill will always come up with unusual and unexpected ideas. Those who use this ability naturally twist concepts and try to break status quo understanding. Because opposites are intimately related , turning a problem upside down or even entertaining an absurd solution is natural to this thinking capability. Those of us with a natural sense of humor are comfortable with this technique, but most of us need to practice to become good at it. When you do, you’ll find yourself set free from barriers and be able spark a whole new area of creative ideas you didn’t think would be possible. The Fool allows us to reconsider our expectations of our work, our relationships and ourselves.