Reading the newspaper early in the morning is a way for me to awaken my imagination, connect in some small way with the rest of the world and sometimes to find small pieces of inspiration. This morning, as is true most mornings, I got up and read the New York Times on my phone. The small type and screen require extra attention and lots of scrolling with my thumb. An article by David Brooks entitled: Genius: The Modern View reminded me of one of many reasons redroom.com is so important: we provide direct connections to heroes and geniuses and those connections are a catalyst for creativity and an inspiration for us all to follow our dreams.
In his article Brooks discusses the evolution of the concept of genius and refers to two books that I now want to read (“The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle and “Talent Is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin). The thesis of both of these books, as Brooks describes them, is that genius takes a lot of work and that one of the ways that people are motivated to work hard enough to get really good at something is to have a personal connection to someone who has achieved something similar to their dream for themselves. The wonderful thing about genius, as we now understand it is that it doesn’t require exceptional genetic characteristics or divine intervention. Genius only requires aptitude, attention/hard work and encouragement.
Brooks imagines the following scenario: “a girl who possessed a slightly above average verbal ability. It wouldn’t have to be a big talent, just enough so that she might gain some sense of distinction. Then you would want her to meet, say, a novelist, who coincidentally shared some similar biographical traits. Maybe the writer was from the same town, had the same ethnic background, or, shared the same birthday—anything to create a sense of affinity.”
Our vision for redroom.com is that any child anywhere in the world and will be able to tap into a real community of writers, readers and publishers will support and encourage them to become the next generation of geniuses and aspiring geniuses.
As I’ve said so many times since I began working full time for Red Room, we have the opportunity to change the world one writer at a time. This can be done by creating a space where people can safely express themselves and connect directly with their heroes. By doing this we will make it more likely that the next Benjamin Franklin, Jane Austin, Salman Rushdie or Amy Tan will find that connection and sense of connectedness necessary to encourage them to become committed to honing their gift for sharing their stories and ideas.
I’m glad I read the paper on my phone this morning which really made me want to come into work on Saturday to make redroom.com a place where that happens.