Persisting Toward Genius

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.”

-Oscar Levant

“You can tell the amateur from the professional musician simply by listening to him practice. The amateur attempts to play the whole song over and over again, never really improving. The professional plays until he hits the wrong note, stops, and repeats that phrase or passage until it is perfect. Only then will he move on to the next phrase or passage in the song. To the untrained ear, the professional’s practice sounds a lot like noise.”

-Robert Mondelli (my grandfather)

Pictured: Coach Bowie helping John make micro-adjustments to his knee-on-belly pin by attacking the openings.

Genius then, is the ability to do the same thing over and over again, making micro-adjustments each time, until a breakthrough is had and new results are gotten. Persistence alone does not produce genius-like results. Intelligent persistence does. One must know when to push forward, when to pause, when to pivot, and when to back up to reevaluate and push forward in a new way.

“As in life, so too in budo. As in budo, so too in life.”

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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