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Donald Trump: Genius with a Great Mind

9/10/2018 Anant Goel

The presidency of Donald Trump has forced Americans of every political stripe to rethink what the word “great mind” and “genius” means; and whether a successful leader needs those qualities.

Trump has a great mind and isn’t a genius in the conventional intellectual sense, but he has a legitimate claim to three other kinds of 'genius': political genius, instinctive genius and forceful genius.


Trump Has a Great Mind

Great Minds Discuss Ideas. Average Minds Discuss Events. Small Minds Discuss People.”

Trump is curious about the world and looks beyond what’s immediately visible. He talks about not just people or events, but ideas. He digs deeper to find out:

  • Why people do the things they do. What drives them;
  • Why issues like murder, mass shootings, war, and crimes are happening. What we can do to prevent such violence;
  •  How we can uplift others;
  •  How we can improve as people;
  •  Whether the direction we’re moving in, as a society, as a world, is actually good for us;
  •  And most important of all, ideas to improve the world.


Discussing ideas means not just taking what is presented to you, but digging deeper. Understanding root causes. Understanding how something came to be.  It involves questioning realities and identifying solutions.

So how is Trump with a great mind different from those having an average mind? 

The distinguishing characteristics are: 

·         Possesses Intelligence

·         Is an Achiever

·         Has Positive attitude

·         Possesses Professional ethics

·         Works hard

·         Shows Excellence in every task at hand

·         Has patience and perseverance

·         Stands by values and principles that he believes

  • He can work alone and is results oriented.

Trump is a Political Genius

You cannot become president, triumphing over dozens of intelligent, pedigreed and well-organized candidates unless you’ve got some kind of edge “upstairs,” can you?


Trump is a Forceful Genius

In human organizations, there is a trait that sometimes passes for intelligence─ and that’s forcefulness.

The quite-forceful Michael Eisner, when he was America’s top business icon a few decades ago, mused, “Around here, a strong POV [point of view] is worth about 80 IQ points.” Eisner meant that a forceful personality could get a lot more done at Disney than those who didn’t speak and act with the same sense of “certainty.”

President Trump speaks and acts with strong sense of certainty. And that’s a good thing for getting things done in business. In politics, forcefulness is rarely a bad strategy in the short run. Candidate Trump overcame serious accusations, mainly by pouring more outlandish ones on any and all opponents inside and outside his adopted party.

However, forcefulness in the political arena makes it harder to reach consensus and get things done in a bipartisan way.

Trump is an Instinctive Genius

President Trump has always had an above average conventional IQ. But there are other traits that have fueled his words and actions, especially with his advancing age that has changed his speaking style.

Think back to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion at a 2016 presidential debate that a President Trump would be a “puppet” for the Russian regime.

“No, no puppet, no puppet. You’re the puppet,” Trump blurted back. That response didn’t reflect literary genius, philosophical genius, political genius, or any kind of genius yet identified under the sun.

It was impulsive. It was instinctive genius, but lacking self-restraint. It was childlike, perhaps the closest we ever have had to a presidential candidate telling an opponent, “I Know You Are, But What Am I”.

 Factor in that any candidate and his or her handlers should have seen the Russian-puppet charge coming at them from an ocean away, and the response seems less childlike and more, well, instinctive genius─ that lacked self control.

"Instinctive Genius" can, and should, refrain from expressing a thought for practical reasons.  That’s why even the president’s own supporters concede that they feel he’d do well to stop tweeting so constantly and unpredictably.

In closing…

In your conventional leadership wisdom, you may disagree if any of this falls into the category of cognitive or instinctive or political genius.  

But the good news is that we have so many lessons to learn from this still-young presidency, which has already annihilated all conventional leadership wisdom.

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