Your Hidden Genius

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Robert Ringer


I’ve had an emotional attachment to Sylvester Stallone and his Rocky films since 1977.  It all began when one of my secretaries told me she had seen a movie over the weekend that was a “must see” for me.  She went on to say that Sylvester Stallone’s success with his first Rocky film closely paralleled my own success with my first book.

She explained that Stallone had done it all.  He wrote the script, raised the money, and played the lead character.  Unfortunately, there has been a several-hundred-million-dollar disparity between our respective returns on invested time and energy over the years, but tortoises get used to such inequities.

I’m still fascinated by Stallone’s amazing rise from troubled teenager to wealthy, famous superstar.  Injured at birth, he has had a droopy lip and slurred speech throughout his life, making him as unlikely a movie star as a weightlifter with an Austrian accent and a name most people can’t pronounce.

At fifteen, his classmates voted him “most likely to end up in the electric chair.”  Then, after stumbling from one job to another for several years, Stallone came upon the mother of all stumbles:  acting.  This happened while he was coaching women’s athletics at the American College of Switzerland.

After some bit parts and a “light” porn film, he wrote his first script, The Lords of Flatbush, in which he cast himself as one of the four main characters.  Believe it or not, I actually saw that film back in 1974 — an abysmal piece of work — and I remember Stallone well.

He played a somewhat blubbery hoodlum in a leather jacket — not exactly a matinee idol.  At the time, no one could have convinced me that the pudgy guy with the speech impediment would soon become the most famous actor in the world.

What’s so inspiring about Stallone is that his real-life success bears such a close resemblance to the success of his Rocky character.  We’ve all read and heard much over the years about how every individual possesses a “hidden genius,” and Stallone’s life is an archetypal example of this.

He wrote his first Rocky script in just three days!  That is genius — hidden genius, because he had never written a movie script prior to the incredibly bad The Lords of Flatbush, and he had limited experience with script writing and acting.

Had Stallone not stumbled onto acting in Switzerland, it’s quite possible he never would have discovered his hidden genius.  Just think about that for a second.  There would have been no Rocky series, no Rambo series, no Hollywood legend by the name of Sylvester Stallone.

So, clearly, the public at large stands to benefit when someone discovers his hidden genius.  That being the case, if you would really like to do something for “society,” you would do well to make a serious effort to discover your hidden genius — then exploit it to the max.

All this raises the question:  If a guy with a troubled childhood, slurred speech, and a droopy lip could become a film mega-star, what could you accomplish if you could discover your hidden genius?

Given that the rewards are so high — not just monetarily, but, even more important, the achievement of a fulfilling life — isn’t the pursuit of your hidden genius a worthwhile undertaking?

Which raises another question:  How do you go about such a pursuit?

The short answer is that you need to get out, try new things, make calls, network with people — take action.  The odds against a person’s finding his hidden genius are overwhelming so long as he chooses to lead a mentally and physically sedentary life.

Tip:  Remember that when it comes to finding a meaningful purpose in life, the first two questions you should ask yourself are:  (1) What do I enjoy? and (2) What am I good at?  The answers to these two questions are likely to lead you to your hidden genius.

Why?  Because if you can find something you both enjoy and are good at, it would appear self-evident that you could accomplish great things by focusing intensely on whatever that one “thing” is.

I recognize that it’s much easier to talk about than actually do.  Rest assured, however, that the effort is worth it, because it could very well result in bringing your hidden genius to the surface and putting you on the path to where you want to be in life.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

19 responses to “Your Hidden Genius”

  1. Rod Caceres says:

    Motvating post. And it created a kind of anxiety in me. Is there something I could be missing, leaving out? I have tried MANY things though… But you never know… I will start the pursuit.

    Rod Caceres

  2. lester says:

    Excellent article every american young and old should read this story.

  3. Excellent story must read for all people.

  4. A very inspiring and pertinent essay.

  5. bill says:

    hi robert, thanks for another insightful post. for a moment i thought you were going to tell the stallone story that tony robbins tells, about him having to sell his dog etc. i used to believe it was true until i read a 2006 or 2007 article in the hollywood reporter exposing the story as something that was made up by some publicity person in order to foster his underdog image. the funny thing is, whenever i tell people or make a post like this one relaying the facts, people get angry at me, and refuse to believe the stallone story is false.

  6. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the post, Mr. Ringer. Wouldn't it be an amazing world if people would just take small steps toward the things that they enjoy doing and work toward things they love doing? I look back at my own life an wonder where I would be now if I would have continued moving forward, rather than being mired by the discouraging and disgruntled people around me. Oh well, have to start…or restart somewhere.

  7. LFN says:

    Your mapping the Hidden Genius to a high-profile, credible example is very inspiring.
    And your direct practical get-going advice….."get out, try new things, make calls…." makes this both inspirational and practical…..

  8. Quantella Owens says:

    A Spell For Chameleon

  9. Murray Suid says:

    I like the idea that we all have a hidden genius.

    One small point: I do not believe that Mr. Stallone raised the money for Rocky. The story I heard was that a studio wanted the script, but that Mr.Stallone insisted he had to have the lead. He stood his ground; he believed he was best man for the part. He didn't sell out for the writer's fee. But that is different from raising the money.

  10. laleydelexito says:

    Robert I just bought your Synchronitizy program last week and it pumped me to take action!!!

    I believe this post is also a synchronizity, I am on the path of applying my genius

    I feel success is now within reach

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  11. Silverback says:

    The theme of all Sly's flicks. Underdog beats the odds. Great drama, inspiring message.

  12. I happened to look in "Messiah's Handbook" today and came across this:

    "Guarantee for a difficult and happy lifetime:
    1. Find out what you like to do more than anything else in the world.
    2. Do it, no matter what stands in your way.
    3. Give the gifts of what you've learned from that love to others who care enough to ask."
    — Richard Bach

  13. Dean says:

    I found out about 3 year ago that I really like and am very good at speaking to groups of people at conferences and on conference calls….this happened by chance but ai took it and ran with it…..I now host conference calls for one of the premier marketing systems on the internet….I host a daily call for the community of over 12,000 active members…

    My hidden gem?…..I have would have known I was good at this if I did not try it..

  14. Jerry says:

    Thank you Robert. you have made my mind up. There is an aspect of my business I have always enjoyed and love doing, but never exploited. I have been tied to all the other areas that have brought us nothing but problems.
    I was hesitating about changing direction, but now I am going to go for it. Inspirational blog at the right time!

  15. george says:

    Thank you RR.

    I do believe most people have the seed of Genius within. find your pearl in life my friend's dad always said.

  16. Rocksie says:

    I too have loved Sylvester Stallone since I first saw his movie Rocky, even in the face of much ribbing by my family and friends. (Although over the years they've come to see there was something to my interest in the Rocky story.) I've been a fan of yours also, Mr. Ringer, since I read Looking Out For #1 many years ago. I have all of your books and have just purchased the updated version of LOF#1. Reading that first book really influenced my thinking and the thinking of family and friends who received your books as gifts from me. I'd heard Sly's story before, but never tire of hearing it. Thanks for telling it!

  17. Heather says:

    Very nice thoughts, Robert – and great questions that seemed to stump me….at first! Had a great Aha! moment, very appreciative for the advice.

  18. Ivan says:

    Awesome stuff,yes it is true we all have a seed of greatness in us,just waiting for our discovery,keys are in our hands and we have to DO something to open the doors to our new life,nothing will happen unless we start to DO something each day to move us closer to our dreams.Others have done so can you!Ivan