A genius is made, not born!

A genius is made, not born!

A genius is made, not born!

5-minute read

Have you heard of the Polgar Experiment? After studying hundreds of great intellectuals, Laszlo Polgar, a Hungarian psychologist, found a common theme: early and intensive specialization in a particular subject produced geniuses. He wanted to prove his theory and make his progeny, prodigies. He also believed that when children are taught that success is brought through hard work, they become something so much more important as adults. They become happy! After publishing his findings, he started looking for a wife willing to jump on board. His grandiose plan impressed a Ukrainian foreign language teacher named Klara. After their firstborn, Susan, found a chess set while rummaging through a cabinet at the age of four, Laszlo decided that this was the perfect test. He would make the first female grandmaster. Chess, after all, was the ideal activity to demonstrate how to create a genius; it was an art, a science, was competitive and produced results that were objective which could be measured over time. Laszlo believed that genius has little to do with genes and 99% to do with hard work. Guess what? Susan Polgar became the world's first female chess grandmaster. Not only that, Polgar replicated the experiment with his other daughters Judit and Sofia; who both became grandmasters too. Are they bitter towards the experiment? No, not at all. As Judit states, If I felt a sacrifice was too much, I would stop; I feel happy with my life the way it is. Judit is known as the strongest female chess player of all time.

Recent research demonstrates that when parents adopted a "growth mindset," children had better educational outcomes than children who did not. Although research hasn't definitively stated at what point in a child's development this mindset is critical, early results shows that earlier in development holds key!

What is a maternal growth mindset? It is the belief that a child can grow their abilities through work and effort (the mindset Polgar adopted). In contrast, a maternal fixed mindset is thought that a child's abilities will remain fixed regardless of how much educational investment a mother provides to a child.

So, it seems that parental mindset is critical in the educational outcomes of a child!

How about one of the greatest geniuses of all time? Einstein seems to agree. He states:

  1. Genius is 1% genius and 99% hard work
  2. Boredom is critical – staring out the window allows for creativity!


Elansary, Mei & Pierce, Lara & Wei, Wendy & Mccoy, Dana & Zuckerman, Barry & Nelson, Charles. (2021). Maternal Stress and Early Neurodevelopment: Exploring the Protective Role of Maternal Growth Mindset. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Publish Ahead of Print. 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000998.

Flora, C., 2005. The Grandmaster Experiment. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: <https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/articles/200507/the-grandmaster-experiment> [Accessed 11 January 2022].


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