Thursday, September 25, 2008

Genius Awards - $500,000 "no strings attached"

How would you like a half a million bucks with no strings attached? All you need to do is be a genius, and by genius I mean someone who is "creative, original, and has potential to make important contributions in the future." The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards 25 people every year with their Genius Awards. The Genius Awards for 2008 have been announced and the variety of recipients is encouraging.

When I heard that they were awarded based on originality and creativity, I naturally assumed that the awards were primarily for artists. And many of the recipients are indeed artists from many different areas of the arts. But there's also an urban farmer, a critical care physician, and an astronomer. This variety supports the sentiment that artistry and creativity can, should, and will be found in every discipline the world over. 

We are all creative, inspired people regardless of our title at work or the discipline in which we work. The trick is how to leverage that creativity for the greatest benefit of the world at large. In short how do we take our precious, common gift of idealism and make it extraordinary? Geniuses take what we all have - this innate ability to imagine things the way they could be - and they go global with it. Well worth a half million dollars for their priceless contributions to humanity. 

The image above can be found at

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