Jim Westergren
About me, my projects, SEO, Web Development and Personal Development since 2005
"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas A. Edison

24 Characteristics That Geniuses Have in Common

I am republishing here an excellent article that I first read back in 2002 and that I have read many times since then. I feel I just need to share it, it has worked well for me and might work well for you as well.


The worlds greatest geniuses have all had 24 personality characteristics in common and you can develop the same traits yourself, says an expert.

"Most people have the mistaken idea that geniuses are born, not made", declared clinical psychologist Dr. Alfred Barrious, founder and director of the Self-Programmed Control Center of Los Angeles and author of the book, Towards Greater Freedom and Happiness.

But if you look at the lives of the worlds greatest geniuses like Edison, Socrates, DaVinci, Shakespeare, Einstein, you will discover they all had 24 personality characteristics in common.

These are traits that anyone can develop. It makes no difference how old you are, how much education you have, or what you have accomplished to date. Adopting these personality characteristics enables you to operate on a genius level.

Here are the 24 characteristics Dr. Barrios lists, which enable geniuses to come up with and develop new and fruitful ideas:

  1. DRIVE. Geniuses have a strong desire to work hard and long. They're willing to give all they've got to a project. Develop your drive by focusing on your future success, and keep going.
  2. COURAGE. It takes courage to do things others consider impossible. Stop worrying about what people will think if you're different.
  3. DEVOTION TO GOALS. Geniuses know what they want and go after it. Get control of your life and schedule. Have something specific to accomplish each day.
  4. KNOWLEDGE. Geniuses continually accumulate information. Never go to sleep at night without having learned at least one new thing each day. Read. And question people who know.
  5. HONESTY. Geniuses are frank, forthright and honest. Take the responsibility for things that go wrong. Be willing to admit, 'I goofed', and learn from your mistakes.
  6. OPTIMISM. Geniuses never doubt they will succeed. Deliberately focus your mind on something good coming up.
  7. ABILITY TO JUDGE. Try to understand the facts of a situation before you judge. Evaluate things on an opened minded, unprejudiced basis and be willing to change your mind.
  8. ENTHUSIASM. Geniuses are so excited about what they are doing, it encourages others to cooperate with them. Really believe that things will turn out well. Don't hold back.
  9. WILLINGNESS TO TAKE CHANCES. Overcome your fear of failure. You won't be afraid to take chances once you realize you can learn from your mistakes.
  10. DYNAMIC ENERGY. Don't sit on your butt waiting for something good to happen. Be determined to make it happen.
  11. ENTERPRISE. Geniuses are opportunity seekers. Be willing to take on jobs others won't touch. Never be afraid to try the unknown.
  12. PERSUASION. Geniuses know how to motivate people to help them get ahead. You'll find it easy to be persuasive if you believe in what you're doing.
  13. OUTGOINGNESS. I've found geniuses able to make friends easily and be easy on their friends. Be a 'booster' not somebody who puts others down. That attitude will win you many valuable friends.
  14. ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE. Geniuses are able to effectively get their ideas across to others. Take every opportunity to explain your ideas to others.
  15. PATIENCE. Be patient with others most of the time, but always be impatient with your self. Expect far more of yourself than others.
  16. PERCEPTION. Geniuses have their mental radar working full time. Think more of others' needs and wants than you do of your own.
  17. PERFECTIONISM. Geniuses cannot tolerate mediocrity, particularly in themselves. Never be easily satisfied with your self. Always strive to do better.
  18. SENSE OF HUMOR. Be willing to laugh at your own expense. Don't take offense when the joke is on you.
  19. VERSATILITY. The more things you learn to accomplish, the more confidence you will develop. Don't shy away from new endeavors.
  20. ADAPTABILITY. Being flexible enables you to adapt to changing circumstances readily. Resist doing things the same old way. Be willing to consider new options.
  21. CURIOSITY. An inquisitive, curious mind will help you seek out new information. Don't be afraid to admit you don't know it all. Always ask questions about things you don't understand.
  22. INDIVIDUALISM. Do things the way you think they should be done, without fearing somebody's disapproval.
  23. IDEALISM. Keep your feet on the ground - but have your head in the clouds. Strive to achieve great things, not just for yourself, but for the better of mankind.
  24. IMAGINATION. Geniuses know how to think in new combinations, see things from a different perspective, than anyone else. Unclutter your mental environment to develop this type of imagination. Give yourself time each day to daydream, to fantasize, to drift into a dreamy inner life the way you did as a child.

The article was first printed by the National Enquirer in 1980 and later reprinted and redistributed by L. Ron Hubbard on the 21 July 1980 (source of the original text by Hubbard).

Dr. Alfred Barrious "borrowed" the list from Earl Nightingale and modified it. Originally it was 25 characteristics and published in Earl Nightingales "Creative Thinking" Personal Development Message from 1950.

Listen to it for free here on Spotify. I'll include a transcript below:

In this message I'd like to talk to you about the characteristics of Creative People.

Our studies show that certain characteristics are almost always present in the creative individual. And, what are these characteristics? Well, here’s a list of 25 of them.

And no one man or woman has all of the traits here. But the really creative people, the Socrates, da Vincis, Shakespeares, Edisons, Einsteins, Schweitzers, and all the others who led us to where we are today, have had most of the following characteristics. So check yourself.

1) Drive, the desire to work hard and long.

2) Courage, tenacity of purpose, the mental and moral strength to venture and persevere.

3) Goals, knowing what they wanted and going after it.

4) Knowledge, a thirst for knowledge, they knew their fields. They constantly boned up on them.

5) Good health, they kept physically and mentally fit. They exercised their bodies and, of course, their minds.

6) Honesty, they were frank, forthright, honorable. They had integrity and they were, above all, intellectually honest.

7) Optimism, the great creative people were usually optimistic and positive. They believed in people and they were cheerfully reasonable trying hard to be part of the solution to a problem, not part of the problem.

8) And judgment, they exercised judgment. They searched for facts, evaluated them, tried always to understand first, then judge.

9) Enthusiasm, they were enthusiastic, they were vital, they had a zest for life. They lived life fully.

10) They were chance takers. They didn’t fear failure. They knew failure is often a stepping stone to success.

11) They were dynamic. They were energetic, always on the move.

12) Enterprising, they courageously took on jobs others didn’t want or couldn’t do. They were never afraid to try the unknown. They were opportunity seekers.

13) They were persuasive. They knew how to sell. They knew what motivates people. They inspired action and backed it up with reason and sound arguments.

14) They were outgoing. They made friends easily and they were easy on their friends. They encouraged people and ideas to grow in their presence.

15) They were good communicators. They had verbal skill and competence. They spoke fluently and interestingly.

16) They were perceptive. Their gateways to the mind were always wide open. Their senses were highly tuned to life around them. They were quick, acute, and sensitive. Their mental radar was always on.

17) They were both patient and impatient. Patient with others most of the time but always impatient with themselves believing they could and should be doing more and doing it better.

18) And, adaptable, they were resilient not ridged in their thinking. They were intelligent and flexible, adjusting quickly to changing situations.

19) They were perfectionists, always striving for the highest possible degree of excellence. They would not settle for mediocrity, particularly in themselves. They tried to be tolerant with others but others knew they insisted upon excellence.

20) They had a sense of humor. They saw the lighter side of life. They laughed easily, enjoyed a good story, often at their own expense.

21) They were versatile. They were able to do many things and do them well.

22) They were curious, inquisitive, always asking why. They knew that questions are the creative act of intelligence.

23) Individualistic, they were purposely independent. They did things the way they believe they should be done.

24) They were both realists and idealists occupied by reality and guided by ideals.

25) And, of course they were imaginative. They knew how to imagineer. They knew how to think in new combinations. They were able to conceive new relationships because of their curiosity and their habit of thinking outside the boundaries of conformity. They thought imaginatively. They judged wisely. And, they got their best ideas into action.

Well, those are 25 of the characteristics found in the most creative people. Again, let me stress that few creative people have all of these traits. Yet, every creative person seems to have many of them in varying degrees.

Each of these characteristics, one at a time, can be fashioned into a solid habit. And, together, they can become a living philosophy, a creative way of life.

You already have many of these traits. My objective here is to encourage you to bring them out, spotlight them, polish them, hone them and use them in your daily life.

And here’s how you start making these creative characteristics a part of your life right now. Your record album contains 25 cards, each listing one of these traits. Spread the cards in front of you, study each one, and think negatively. That’s right, think negatively.

Take the card which lists your weakest creative characteristic and put it aside. Take another card listing your next weakest trait and so on until you’ve got a stack of 25 cards
weakest traits on top, strongest on the bottom.

Start today and work on weak trait number one. Work on it diligently for one week. Make it a part of your life. Next week, start on weak trait number two. Keep going. Work on all 25 characteristics one at a time. Soon, all 25 will be a living part of you. You’ll have studied, worked on, and put into action 25 different creative characteristics.

If you do this faithfully, you’ll be a far more creative person. You’ll be more interesting, more valuable, and perhaps more uncomfortable. That is, you’ll start to realize the scope, the depth, and breadth of your creative power.

You’ll see new horizons, new ways to solve problems, new ways to create, build, invent, and improve. Even more important, you’ll begin to work and live closer to the highest level of your mind power to realize fulfillment of your own potential.

Thank you.


I originally published this in the end of 2007 but thanks to a helpful reader that contacted me, I learned that the original list was from Earl Nightingale and I have now updated with this additional information and I now did a republish.

When I first read it it in 2002 it was from the viewpoint of what is expected of me and what I should strive for, so it has a special feeling to me, even after all these years.

Bob Duggan and His Online Course

Robert (Bob) Duggan is a billionaire, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist known for being the richest member of the scientology religion.

He has developed an online course based on this list which can be seen on this link.

It cost a bit less than $200 and gives you access to 26 videos and 104 texts.

I have no affiliation with Bob and I have not taken this course myself so I cannot vouch for it. But it looks good and inspiring based on one of the free available video about drive. Please keep in mind that there might be another hidden motivation behind the course other than money such as being a recruitment vehicle for scientology which is probably not be what you want. But based on on the rather high price of the course (rather access to content) I don't think this is the case.

There are also some great videos from Mr Duggan available for free on youtube about the 24 characteristics:

27 Aug 2020

About the Author Jim Westergren Jim Westergren is a Swedish web entrepreneur currently living in Spain. He is happily married and has three lovely children. Some of his interests are web development, SEO and writing.
He is the Founder of DomainStats and N.nu. Read his .
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