Europe Economy

How to Be ’Great’ Without Being a Genius: Author


Debates over nature or nurture and their impact on shaping a person's life continue to dominate evolutionary theory, but according to one author everyone has the potential to be "great" — without being a natural born genius or having an ivy-league education.

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According to author Robert Greene, to be great, you have to dedicate yourself to your field of work on an emotional level, as well as intellectually.

He cited Thomas Edison, the U.S. inventor of the phonograph and light bulb among other inventions, as one of the icons of who represented what was needed to be great: persistence.

"It's more about that [persistence] than if you went to Oxford or Cambridge," he told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.

Greene, an author of several best-selling books on how to achieve success, including his latest titled "Mastery", cited the late Steve Jobs as a "master" of his field who persevered, despite periods of adversity at Apple and in his personal life.

"It's not about short-term goals and getting fame or money, [or achieving success] in one quarter. It's the whole arc of your career," he said, adding that it was important to start acquiring as many skills as possible during one's youth.

However, he advised parents not to push their children into acquiring the skills that they thought their children should have.

"Let them find their own way, if they're interested in something that doesn't interest you, let them pursue it…they will develop skills in the process and that's a lifelong skill."

In his new book, Greene tells readers that it is important to follow a simple method for success: find an interest that you love and stick at mastering it whatever the knockbacks you experience.

"If you learn the process and the importance of patience and persistence -- and that failure is not a bad thing and that's how you learn, you may not achieve the same level of success as Mozart but you'll get part of the way there," he said.

"There are a lot of books on how to be good, how to be successful, this book is about how to be great and how to completely master your field."

"I wanted to debunk the myth that to be an Einstein or a Mozart, it's all about your IQ or your genetics or education," he said. "It's about a process."