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The Myth of a Lone Genius

Look through popular stories and anecdotes. You will rarely come to realize that truly revolutionary work is a group effort. The idea of a lone genius working in isolation, often disconnected from the mainstream society is so common in literature that most of us fail to see the long trail of people working in large groups to make a revolution happen.

Ideas are developed in tandem — groups of people working together and building upon the work of previous generations. It is never a work of a lone genius working in isolation and coming up with a truly revolutionary solution, all of a sudden.

Think about curing cancer. So many smart people have been working to find a cure for so long. They all made some progress — some in isolating certain traits and some in partially recognizing the cause. But, none of them caused a true revolution by devising a cure. Without any doubt though, the next generations of researches will gather on these findings and will eventually come up with a cure. This same thing has happened for pretty much every revolutionary technology. It is said that, it takes about 20 years for truly revolutionary technology to mature.

So, stop seeing great revolution as an individual effort. Focus on the group process and build upon what’s already there; make small incremental progress. Because, that’s how you sow the seed of a revolution.