Over time, I’ve developed a relationship with the Mensa Organization. What an indescribably intelligent bunch of people! Membership is restricted to the top two percent as measured by performance on standardized intelligence tests. Around since 1946, Mensa members have arrayed themselves in a wide range of Special Interest Groups. From time to time, these groups just get together.
The chatter at Mensa outings can get really brainy. What would you expect?! The esoterica Mensans rant about can be mind-warping plus. But Mensas, in the end, are just like everybody else. Some are sharper than others when it comes to social awareness.
All too many Mensans are caged in by their own specialized intelligence. Others – the with-it ones – recognize just how risky smarts can be. They see how easy it is to live their thinking life in the silo of highly specialized knowledge. Instead, these Mensans work hard at forging connections between disparate things.
So many creative breakthroughs result from weaving together unlike threads:
• Johannes Kepler leapt from astrology to astronomy and seriously showed how the moon drove tides.
• Georges de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer, didn’t cook up the science behind Velcro in a lab. The principle came to him looking at burrs picked up by his dog on a hunting trip.
• Back in 1986 in Colombia, Beto Perez was teaching an aerobics class. One day, he forgot his music tape. Why not substitute merengue and salsa tracks instead? Presto, the birth of Zumba!
Sometimes, simple resourcefulness cobbles incredible creativity. On other occasions, it’s the willingness to make the most of unexplained links between the wildly unconnected. Almost always, it’s the power of intuition. Intuition is what disconnects button-downed, linear thinking. You’ll never find the unfound by racing to it with it the fastest engine on the block. Turn down an appealing side street. Suddenly, you can be face to face with a gigantic possibility. Who knows? Maybe even the next Apple . . . Patagonia . . . or Amazon.