Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk. These names are so well known that my auto-correct is filling in their names before I finish typing them.
We know them as tech billionaire geniuses. But once upon a time, they were kids too. And they all had something in common…
Zuckerberg created ‘Synapse’ at the age of 16, a program that figured out your music tastes. Microsoft offered him $1M for it and he turned it down. Ballsy move kid.
Gates built a payroll software for his high school.
Teenage Bezos turned his parents’ garage into one big science and electronics laboratory.
Musk coded a game called Blastar at the age of 12.
If there’s one thing these tech billionaires all had in common, it’s that they were all probably nightmares to deal with as kids. There’s a fire truck at the house??…JEFF!! WHAT DID YOU DO THIS TIME?!?!
It’s true, most of us weren’t born with the same IQ as these super geniuses. We’ll never know what it’s like to see the world in ones and zeros (sadly).
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn something from them.
The choices they made. The activities they did. The habits they formed.
Maybe, just maybe, if we copied some of the things they did, we’d get a little glimpse into the super genius matrix.
In fact, a man named László Polgár dedicated his life to proving just that. He intentionally raised his 3 daughters as geniuses. These are some of their accomplishments:
- All 3 are/were in the top 10 female chess players in the world
- 1 is the greatest female chess player of all time
- All 3 spoke 5-8 languages
- One was skilled enough to be a professional table tennis player (but didn’t pursue it)
- One went on to become a painter
- They were all great conversationalists
- They wrote several articles and books
László cracked the genius code. He figured out that geniuses aren’t just born. They can be made.
Another guy named Anders Ericsson breaks this process down into 3 stages. He’s known as one of the leaders in expertise and human performance. He even wrote a book about it called ‘Peak: How All of Us Can Achieve Extraordinary Things’. (The Polgar sisters are in there too.)
How to make your own genius (a step-by-step guide)
The first step in creating your own homegrown genius is curiosity.
The thing that someone wants to be an expert at has to draw them in. Like a black hole, the subject needs to have a gravitational pull that the child can’t help but be sucked into.
One of the Polgar sisters explained her pull into chess: “Yes, he could have put us in any field, but it was I who chose chess as a four-year-old... I liked the chessmen; they were toys for me. Later it was the logic that fascinated me, and the challenge.”
Jeff Bezos has always been curious about how the world works. There’s a famous story of him dismantling his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed. I can only imagine what his parents went through. Yeesh.
Gates, Zuckerberg, and Musk were all curious about programming at a young age and made it their passions.
Ideally, this process starts at a very young age. László had his daughters start playing chess at the age of 4.
The tricky part about this stage is choice. You can’t force a kid to be curious about something. You can only show them some options and encourage it. They have to choose their destiny themselves.
The next stage in the make-your-own-genius process is deliberate practice.
Now that your kid has the fire of their curiosity stoked, it’s time to take things a little more seriously. Not too seriously, you still want your kid to have fun. Fun is still the main motivator.
But practice makes perfect. You gotta do something over and over again to get really good at it.
At this stage, you want a coach or a teacher who can both motivate your kid and keep them accountable.
Bill Gates talks about a teacher who changed his life in the 4th grade. Mrs. Caffiere stoked his passion for learning at a time when he could have easily been turned off by school.
Elon Musk had a teacher in elementary school that knew how to motivate him. This teacher would dangle WWII stories as a reward for students who finished their homework. Ah, the good ol’ days when we didn’t have to compete with TikTok.
At the end of the day, external motivation only goes so far. The kid has to be self-motivated to get to a high level of expertise. That’s why it’s important not to push them too far. Once it starts to feel like a chore, the learning slows way down.
Unfortunately, this is still how a lot of our schools still operate. Homework kills curiosity and motivation. But that’s a whooole other story. (Leave a comment below if you want us to write about it.)
The final stage in the genius development process is making a commitment.
People that are considered geniuses tend to go all-in on their craft by their early teenage years.
Elon went from coding Blastar at 12 years old to coding Zip2 at the age of 24 (where he later sold his share for $22M).
Zuckerberg created ZuckNet at 11 years old, Synapse at 16, CourseMatch and Facemash at 18, then Facebook at 20.
Both Elon and Mark started coding at 10 years old.
They had 10+ years of experience by the time they started working on their first successful company.
What’s something you spent 10 years trying to master? Where would you be if you started at 10 years old?
And that’s the point.
Geniuses are made by finding their passion at a young age, and then obsessing with mastering their craft throughout their teenage years, the years that (most of us) have no responsibilities or anything else to worry about.
Where we come in
We started Creation Crate with Stages 1 and 2 in mind.
Remember, it all starts with curiosity. But curiosity is hard to ignite when you can’t see the end result of what you’re learning.
That’s why we believe in the power of hands-on learning. Creation Crate isn’t just a regular online course. Each module comes with a physical, hands-on project or experiment. Learning about electronics and coding? (that would be Jeff Bezos’ choice.) We’ll have you build a weather station or a bluetooth speaker while you learn from our STEM educators about circuits and using C# to program electronics.
Want to learn chemistry? We’ll show you how to (safely) make awesome chemical reactions at home. You’ll create heat, cold, change colors, make magic, and more, all while our chemistry teacher explains the fundamentals of chemistry to you.
Our goal is to have all kinds of subjects for you or your child to explore. We want you to discover your curiosity the way the Polgar sisters did with chess.
And that brings us to stage 2, deliberate practice.
Our courses are more than just fun projects. They have a curriculum. Each project or experiment progresses you in some way. Sometimes it’s a tougher project that builds on what you learned previously. Sometimes the concepts are new material you haven’t seen before. Either way, you’re learning something new with every Creation Crate project.
You’ll also have content to support you all along the way. Videos, images, explanations, and exercises in our online classroom (which comes free with every project). If you really get stuck, we’ll even help you out 1-on-1. Our support team is there to help you with anything.
Getting started is easy! You can choose a monthly subscription (no commitment, cancel anytime) or purchase an entire curriculum at once for a big discount.