The authorities came with soldiers armed with machine-guns. The reason was that the Polgár family did not met the legal obligation, going to school after the child reached school age.
Don’t forget, it happened in Hungary in the middle of communism, where the authorities didn’t prefer creative, independent thinkers.
When they fought to teach their first daughter at home, they had to wait for 9 months still the authorities granted home schooling for the family.
The father criticized the traditional school system, because he was not satisfied with the average level, and based on his experiences talents are not tolerated in this system.
When they fought for their second child, they started everything from scratch. But let’s step back for a minute and try to understand the motivation of László Polgár.
The essence of his pedagogy is you can raise a prominent person, a genius from every healthy child. Based on the researches of László Polgár and his wife, every genius was specialized on a field and in every cases there was in a good sense possessed parent, couch, pedagogue beside the child. So geniuses are made, and nor born.
When he met his wife, the woman listened and listened and could not believe that a man can do so much in a day, that László said. Then he presented his views for her that he is planning bring up geniuses.
To get the work started, only one thing was missing...
So Klára became the invisible helper of the experiment. As she described later, his husband was the needle, and she was the thread following the needle. They both had very important role in the upbringing of the children.
Their first daughter was Polgár Zsuzsa.
The second: Polgár Zsófi.
And the third: Polgár Judit.
At the beginning of their relationship the majority of their love letters was about pedagogical theories. I think it was crucial for the further success, that they both supported each other, so they could apply the basic pedagogical methods already at the beginning.
One of the central principles was to make the topic exciting and maintain this enthusiasm in the child. It is critical that the child likes what she is doing.
He believed in positive inspiration. He tried to create a pedagogical situation, where sense of achievement dominated 10:1 over failure. Failure, anxiety, and shyness will block the performance of the child.
Also an important principle was thriving for success.
To do this you need to give perspective for the child. If she does not see a clear goal, she will not be able to move forward without the help of the parent. And we must admit terrifying enemies were waiting for these little girls.
The World of chess was dominated by Russian grandmasters like Garry Kasparov, Kramnyik. But don’t rush forward!
Based on his views you have to start the specialization when the child is 4 to 5 years old. This learning process means serious games at the beginning. This age is not too early neither for learning nor for specializing for something. You can start to increase the load progressively. A similar process is described in the boo, how Karl Witte learned languages.
So the substance of intensive training is to combine optimal load, gradation, maintaining the interest of the child, helping the sense of achievement.
And what was the result? That we already know, László Polgár was the real genius, who brought of three geniuses.
Do you want to know more about bringing up a genius child?
This is also one of the most controversial topics about genius.
This huge discussion was triggered by Malcolm Gladwell’s book, the Outliers, where he popularized a view that you need 10 thousand hours to become a Genius.
He admits that he believes in born geniuses, however in his opinion talent has a much smaller role than diligence and effort.
His view is built upon the research of K. Anders Ericson.
Ericson researched this topic with his colleagues at the Berlin School of Music.
They asked the teachers to create three groups from the students:
And they asked all of the three groups, how many hours they exercised since they started to play the violin.
Mostly all of them started playing when they were 5 years old.
At the beginning they played 3 hours a week. Ericson identified the first differences when they were 8 years old.
The first group exercised much more.
Still their twenties the differences were huge.
The first group practiced 10 thousand hours, the second group 8000 hours, and the third group played only 4000 hours.
The research had two interesting conclusions.
They could not identify a born genius, who could be so good without any effort, without the right amount of exercise.
And they could not find any student who exercised in vain.
So maybe you have great abilities when you were born, however you need a lot of exercise to acquire a skill, to be really professional on your field.
The theory was criticized, because other researchers found that people don’t need the same amount of time for becomingfor example a great musician.
Ok, let’s see what can explain the differences?
I will mention three potential explanations that can refine this picture.
First, we can go back to the question if geniuses are born or made.
Of course, that is an obvious answer, but the situation is more complicated.
The second explanation for the differences can be, what we call exercise.
At this point you should not necessarily think about rigid teaching and learning.
In many cases the child can gain experience before starting to learn the chosen field.
Think about music for example.
The child’s learning process does not start when holding the violin the first time.
Before this event she had the chance to hear a lot of music, which contributed to her musical development.
The Bronte sisters before writing great novels read several books and tried to create small stories by themselves.
Without doubt, these were only bad quality copies of known books, but it was a great opportunity for them to practice.
Same is true for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was considered to be a child genius.
However, if we look at his own compositions still his 20th birthday, these were mostly copies of other musicians.
And finally we arrived at our third explanation.
Not only the quantity of exercising is important, but also the quality of it.
It can influence what we learn in a class, and if we practice enough week by week.
That is a so important topic, that I will cover this in different lessons.
According to László Polgár, we can determine the probability for being a potential genius based on our age:
I met also many adult people asking if they have a chance to become a genius in their lives.
That is the answer also for those who have this question.
However, I truly believe in fighting for our goals.
So at the end of this lesson I would like to mention an interesting guy, who want to test if the 10-thousand-hour rule is working for him.
Dan decided in April 2010 to quit his job and, with zero previous experience in the game, dedicate 10,000 hours of practice to golf.
Still now he practiced 5,500 hours and it has been about four point five years since he started playing golf.
That means he has about 4 years remaining.
Still now not everything goes as planned, but I truly support him to reaching his goals.However, at the moment I believe in early specialization, the 10-thousand-hour rule and deep practicing, which I will analyze in other lessons.
Ok, let’s look at the role of IQ in raising a genius!
As László Polgár describes it is a huge mistake to make a conclusion about the genius of your child based on IQ.
He analyzed the life of several geniuses, and when he prepared for raising his daughters he found the same result in scientific researches of Géza Révész.
Exceptional children had in many cases an IQ slightly above the upper-average zone.
The huge longitudinal study by Lewis Terman suggests also the same answer to this question.
He researched this topic based on the assumption that genius is related to high IQ scores.
He choose only children with IQs over 140 then tracked them for several years.
A lot of students were recommended for the study by their teachers.
Among others two talented children were rejected for inclusion in the study, because their IQ scores were too low.
Their name was William Shockley and Luis Walter Alvarez.
William was later one of the three scientists invented the point contact transistor and were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
And Luis Walter Alvarez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968.
They are examples such as Richard Feynman, who had an IQ of 125 and went on to win the Nobel Prize in physics and become widely known as a genius.
However, I don’t want to suggest that this experiment was unsuccessful.
These children, called the “Termites” performed well in academic fields, but produced little in the way of true genius.
The conclusion is that intelligence and creativity are only slightly related.
Higher education not necessarily leads to be a Genius.
So as Malcolm Gladwell summarizes the research of Arthur Jensen in the book Outliers, you need approximately 115 IQ to get into university.
And in general higher IQ leads to higher education with several other positive side effects like higher longevity, better health condition, and higher average salary.
Research suggests that there is a minimum level of IQ (120 IQ) to be a genius in specific areas.
Reaching this threshold is not warranting to become a genius.
“But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications
than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success.
More important is personality and character”.
According to the genetic professor Dr. Czeizel Endre,
the low level of general intelligence is a barrier, so that specific skills can’t manifest themselves.
However, there are a few exceptions also from this rule.
There are certain areas, where general intelligence plays not a dominant role like visual arts and music.
One of his favorite examples is Pablo Picasso, the Spanish painter genius.
Picasso suffered on a small brain injury, so that the left part of his brain did not get enough oxygen.
He was only able to learn to read when he was 10 with the help of a special visual method educated by a private teacher.
One of the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach was unfortunately mentally retarded (G. Heinrich), however his father could teach him to play the organ up to par, and he played this instrument on Sunday in the church.
So the conclusion is:
Standardized IQ tests are calibrated that the median performance is always 100.
Based on this definition more, then two thirds of people perform within one deviation, between 85 and 115 IQ point.
These people have average performance.
People with performance between one and two deviations (between 70 and 84 and between 115 and 130 IQ) are located on both side of average performance, and corresponding for 27% of people.
It means that approx. 95% of people can be found within two deviations (between 70 and 130 IQ).
We call these people average in a wider sense.
People with higher than 130 IQ points (about 2,3% of people) are exceptionally intelligent and they can be a member of Mensa International.
These people can be grouped any further based on their distance from the average performance.
So for example we have an IQ tests which consists of 60 tasks
and people at our age can solve 40 tasks correctly on the average
and the standard deviation is 5 points.
So, people solving 40 tasks correctly, have an IQ of 100.
People solving 35 correctly, have an IQ of 85 and finally people solving 50 correctly have an IQ of 130.
So in this case, the IQ is not a quotient as the name suggests, and it is not an absolute number as your height.
It is a relative index expressing the performance of the given person in his country at his age.
One of the basic questions is, if IQ has an important role if your child will be a genius?
Do you have to worry if your child has an IQ of 100?
Or an IQ of 125?
Or if he was not accepted to a member of Mensa International?Let’s go deep in this topic in the next lesson.
The first idea for many people regarding genius is IQ. So I will look at it briefly to help to understand what it is measuring and how is it connected to geniuses.
Sir Francis Galton tried first to measure the personal differences in intelligence. In 1884 at the International Health Exhibition in London he presented his views. He collected data from almost 10 thousand people within one year. He measured head size, arm span, standing height, weight, breathing capacity, reaction time, visual acuity, and similar things.
‘oh sir galtpn. Are you sure you need to measure that to get to know my integence? You silly boy…
Based on the principles of Sir Galton, James McKeen Cattel created the first mental test in the world, which mostly measured reaction time. One of the students of Cattel demonstrated soon, that there was no statistical relationship between scores on Cattell's tests and academic performance and there was no correlation between each tasks, so if any question was measuring intelligence, the whole test is not good for this goal.
One of the first intelligence test similar to those what we use today, was created by Alfred Binet. His major drive was a very practical problem. The French educational system faced a challenge after the French law made mandatory for children ages six to fourteen to attend school. His job was to identify those children who are not able to keep pace with the other children.
After the law came into effect, they created soon classes for children with the worst performances, who need an alternative education.
Children at first were selected by their teachers to these classes.
However, Binet created a simple test to help to identify these children.
He applied questions connected to our every-day life.
Children had to point out body parts, repeat some digits, define simple words like house, reproduce drawings from memory, etc.
So, in 1905 the first intelligence test was created.
Binet was successful in predicting school performance and intelligence and identified an important factor, the age of the child.
Elder children outrank younger children in mental development.
He analyzed which tasks could be solved by children in different ages.
So his tasks were connected to performance in different ages.
He called this performance the mental age of the child.
So, if a child can solve tasks, what 8 years old children can, but can’t solve, what 9 years old children can, then he’s mental age is 8 years old.
After that he compared the mental age of the child to his chronological age, to identify children who outperform, and those who underperform their peers.
And if an 8 years old child can only solve the tasks what an average 6 years old child can, unfortunately he drops behind with two years.
Binet’s method had one mistake, which was later corrected by Wilhelm Stern.
Let’s compare two children based on the knowledge what Binet had:
If ‘A’ child is 6 years old, and can solve tasks, what generally 4 years old children can, then he drops behind with 2 years.
If ‘B’ child is 8 years old, and can solve tasks, what generally 6 years old children can, then he drops behind with 2 years.
We found the same difference.
However, based on experiences, in the early age this difference proved to be much bigger. So Wilhelm Stern showed that we will get a more accurate result, if we divide these two numbers.
That is the moment, when the term intelligent quotient was born.
If we apply now this to the earlier mentioned two children.
The IQ of the A child is 4/6=0,67, and the IQ of the ‘B’ child is 8/10 = 0,8.
The next important step came from the Unites States.
Lewis Terman adapted this test to English, improved it, and multiplied it with 100
to better understand it.
So IQ can be calculated as mental age / chronological age *100. However, I have to warn you that this method can’t be applied for adults.
The first IQ test for adults and the concept of IQ deviation was created by Donald Wechsler. We will look at it in the next video!
Several early intervention techniques can influence the skills, the intelligence of your child positively. Many of these methods give your child only a temporary advantage, however some of them can be critical for the long-time success of your child. I don’t say that the first category is good or bad, you simply have to be conscious about it, so that you can maintain the stimulating environment for your child.
According to László Polgár the early start is crucial. If you aim for bringing up genius, it will require you a sense of purpose, giving up on your own needs for many years. So if you only have a sudden idea, when your child is already bigger and you see the talent in him, it can happen, that you simply react, and there is a chance that you will give up at the first challenges, conflicts, doubts and questioning of your environment.
When Richard Feynman’s mother was pregnant, his father said: “if he’s a boy, I want him to be a scientist”. László Polgár also knew already before the birth of his children that he want to bring up Geniuses. Just to mention a few examples.
If I am looking at intervention techniques from financial, economical point of view, the early start is critical again. James Hackmen, Nobel Memorial Prize winner summarized this in the Heckman Curve. Every piece of money that is spent on your child, will have a bigger return of investment.
Skills developed early help later to create new skills. Early learning leads to a self-reinforcing motivation to learn more and the early mastery of several competencies makes learning at later ages more efficient and therefore easier, and more likely to continue.
Many reaches show, that early intervention is critical to the development of your child. And it is true for everybody, gifted children and children with weaker abilities. It is terrifying that a child’s future can be demolished by parents if they don’t care and can be dramatically developed by applying good positive intervention. That is one of the reasons that not only parents giving birth for children with the best abilities should focus on this topic. Let me tell you some numbers to highlight you the potential increase.
Another research focusing on the intellectual development found that after adopting children the average IQ gain of these children was 13,9 points. In the pre-adopting phase, the children's IQs averaged 77, putting them near retardation.
Several years later after adoption, when they were 14 years old, they retook the IQ tests. Contrary to the conventional belief that IQ. is essentially stable, all of them had better performances. Their improvement was directly related to the adopting family's socioeconomic status. "Children adopted by farmers and laborers had average IQ scores of 85.5; those placed with middle-class families had average scores of 92. The average IQ scores of youngsters placed in well-to-do homes climbed more than 20 points, to 98."
I will not hide, that this research was also criticized by other researchers. I will place links to the download sections if you are interested and make your own conclusions.
And there is also another view that if a such program can increase for example IQ, but this advantage compared with other children can fade out. But for you as a parent, it is important, why it happens?
As John Protzko, from the University of California summarizes: “The interventions show a strong effect on IQ that does not immediately snap back but instead gradually fades over years. This fadeout occurs because those children whose ability was increased lose their abilities once returned to their previous environment.” So children adapt to their environment. If there is an increased demand we can raise IQ. When you remove the more challenging environment, the students adapt.
So the important conclusion for parents, that “it's not enough to introduce an intervention and when it's over, return students to the level of cognitive challenge they had to start with. You have to keep it going."
Ok, now we have one important conclusion, but let’s go a little bit deeper. Let’s see some examples, what kind of methods you should choose to help your children!
And let me quote again James Hackman. If you look at non-cognitive skills, there was no fade-out. These non-cognitive gains not only don’t decrease but often grow and expand over time. What’s a big component of achievement tests? It’s skills like self-control, motivation. Children are actually doing better also on achievement tests because they’re learning more in school and not because they have higher IQ.
But what are the early intervention techniques that delivered a long-term success? Let’s go deep in this topic in the next lesson!
Are you intersted in this topic?
The next lesson is about a man called Gus. He married and got seven daughters. He was a happy man, he always could lough. He used this humor to keep everything alive in hard times of his family. Nobody knew really where he came from. One is sure, he was a musician. He always wanted to forget the First world war, when he was a sniper. In the 1950s he worked in a factory in the day and played music in the night. Gus was happy to have grandson, who was a boy. They walked a lot and never bored together. Everywhere they went, there was music.
By the way, the boy’s mom had also an incredible taste for music. If there was anything worth listening to in the radio, she would find it. Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine, Mozart and whatever they played on radio.
But back to Gus! The man was leading his grandson slowly into getting interested in playing music, rather than shoving something and saying, "It goes like this."
When the boy went to his grandpa, there was always an instrument, a guitar. The guitar was totally out of reach. It was something the small child looked at, but never touched it.
The guitar was always on top of a piano every time he would go and visit, starting maybe from the age of five. The Grandpa only brought that out and put it up there when he knew his grandson was coming to visit. So the child was being teased in a way.
A few years later he said: "Hey, when you get tall enough, you can have a go at it," he said.
One day It was time and he said, "Here you go." He showed him the first chords and the child was pretty happy and an incredible guitarist was born in that moment: Keith Richards.
A similar teasing happened to the Polgár sisters. László Polgár played with the biggest girl, Zsuzsa in a room behind closed doors. However there was a small window, where Zsófi and Judit could watch that something interesting is happening, where they are not allowed to play with. “At this time, they already could feel the pain of parental exclusion”. Their entrance card would be only valid if only they could play chess.
So similar to the old Gus, László Polgár was teasing the little childs to want to play.
So now again, it is your turn! If you have a child, please look at it, what happens when the child is not part of your life and something interesting is happening. What are his / her reactions?
Think about it with your wife / husband, how can you stir up the fire in your child!
Do we want what's best for our children? Or do we just want them to be the best? These are the right questions to asked in a great documentary called the “Trophy kids”. But there were some terrifying examples also demonstrated...
Can you imagine to call your child a "crazy b***h" if she is not delivering at a championship? Do you want to bring up genius to get money? Are you ready to be verbally abusive if you are not satisfied with the performance of your child?
If yes, this course is not for you!
The reason for choosing this topic at the beginning is, that you should never forget about the real purpose of Bringing Up Genius. Beside mentioning some bad examples in this lesson I will present that it is possible to bring up a happy genius. Moreover, it can be one of the best ways…
But let me tell you another story! 18th of March 2015 is one of the most interesting days for parents who are thinking about Bringing Up Genius.
On this day Serena Williams and Tímea Bacsinszky played in Indian Wells. Serena Williams is at the moment 1st, and Tímea Bacsinszky is 15th at the Women’s Tennis Association’s rankings. So both of them are top class players, and I would call both of them Tennis geniuses.
A few weeks after the game the father of Serena could feel like in Heaven, and the father of Tímea could feel like in Hell. And the reason was not that Tímea lost the match after winning 15 matches in a row.
Tímea’s father is Igor Bacsinszky. The world could not even pronounce the name of the man with Hungarian origins, but newspapers all over the world mentioned his name.
Her daughter said: 'My dad doesn't deserve children' for the way he treated her.
She called her father a "control freak" and said of her childhood, "I was living in Switzerland and seeing all those other kids around me who had nice families, and then me on the other side. It's difficult, when you are the kid of a parent, who is that kind of pushy parent, who wants to live his dream through your life."
However, the story should not necessarily end like this.
Richard Williams was born in Louisiana, in the United States. He was raised as one of six children by his single mom after his father left them. When he was a small child, three men beat him in the street for being black and he was upset in his whole life that his father just looked and did nothing. He made a decision later to bring up Tennis geniuses and prove the world, that an African-American father with this background can raise exceptional children. He has earned to have a reputation as someone willing to question the sport’s establishments.
In 2001 the two Williams girls played not with each other because of an injury, and the family was attacked for manipulating the results. And two days later the crowd unleashed its frustration on Serena and her family by booing the teenager. Nine days later, the father would tell USA Today that he was responding to racial taunts and they decided to boycott the event.
So this day was also important for Serena. She returned after 14 years boycotting the WTA event in Indian Wells. She called Indian Wells return one of the proudest moments of her career.
As his daughter’s careers have progressed he has taken a less viable role and is less involved in their coaching. He proved for the world how successful a man can be with his background, and turn his daughters into two of the biggest names in the women’s game.
This is the biggest threat for you if you are a coach, a manager, and a parent for your child. It is not the biggest threat at the beginning, but after a while it should be clear, that your child needs you as a father (mother), and the happiness of the child and the whole family is key to the success of the process what we call Bring Up Genius.
According to the Genius Theory of László Polgár (author of Nevelj zsenit – Bring Up Genius), the purpose of pedagogy is reaching happiness in someone’s life. He also admits, that your child and your family can be happy in several ways, and Geniuses can also be unhappy people, however the most certain way to reach a high level of self-realization and happiness is by bringing up genius.
He is very proud, that his daughters were not marionettes; they were always active participants of his experiment. Based on his theory you cannot raise a marionette a Genius, if the child does not want that it, you will not succeed. So Freedom was not something taken from the Polgár girls, but they had a chance to be as free as possible, to be free to do what they love.
Many times I hear questions if it is possible to be happy based on your decision. Research suggest that you can influence it on daily basis. Based on the research of Sonja Lyubomirsky, roughly 50 percent of happiness is determined by our genes and 10 percent by our life circumstance, but 40 percent depends on our daily activities.
So If I look at these numbers, it I think we will have to do a lot in the next few weeks to make this a reality also for your child.
Now it’s your turn! I would be happy to hear your voice what you are thinking about these examples, or what is your personal motivation about bringing up genius?
When I started researching the topic of Geniuses, my first idea was, that these people were trained by the best teachers from the beginning. And most parent think that it is a huge investment from the beginning to pay these coaches.
There was a fantastic book back in 1985, Developing talent in young people by Dr. Benjamin Bloom, Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He researched also this topic, and came to a different conclusion.
Based on 120 interviews, he identified three stages of developing a genius. For children, this first stage is romance stage, where they begin to get involved as described in the previous two lessons with some wonderful examples.
The talented young people in the interviews described their first teacher as somebody being good with children and someone they were comfortable with. These teachers were supportive, warm, loving.
In this phase external motivation is also a key influencer, they gave for their students’ positive support and rewards like stars and put smiling faces on papers. They were for them as second parent.
So it is not a problem, if the first teacher what you can afford, is not a Number 1 leader on the chosen field. Maybe once they were also talented, but did not reached their full potential. Their skill is they make the field of study enjoyable for the children.
Now we arrived to our next challenge. If you plan to start to Bring Up Genius,
After researching tremendous life stories of Geniuses, I found, that one of the key momentums of bringing up a genius child is, how you can make a topic exciting to your child.
The next story highlights some illuminating examples how Richard Feynman became a Genius.
His father worked every week far away and was not at home during weeks. However, at weekends when he came home, he took Richard to the woods and told about interesting things that are going on there.
All the other mothers were a little bit jealous, and knew of course that that was wonderful and the other fathers should take their sons for walks, but they didn’t get anywhere at first. I must admit, I also can understand the other fathers…when you worked hard the whole week to make a good living for your family, did not have a chance to relax, but you have to be on top also on weekends.
At the end the mothers wanted Richard’s father to take all the kids in the woods, but he didn't want to because he had a special relationship to his son. And do you know what happened when all the warrior mothers lost also this second battle? It ended up that the other fathers took their children on walks on the next weekend...
And the next week, when the fathers were back to work, the kids were playing and one kid said to Richard: See that bird, what kind of a bird is that? And Richard had no idea. He said it is a Brown-headed thrush. Your father doesn't tell you anything...
But as Richard remembers, it was the opposite. His father not only told him the name of the bird in different languages, but encouraged him to look at the bird and what it is doing. If you only know the name of a bird for example you will absolutely know nothing about the bird itself. So his father convinced him to notice things.
And later one day when he was playing with an express wagon and he had a ball on it. As he pulled the wagon and noticed something about the way the ball moved. He urgently went to his father and said that he noticed something interesting and tried to understand why this happens.
Now his father had a chance to speak about the general principle of moving objects, and the tendency called inertia and explained it for Richard as deeply as it is possible for a small boy.
That's a deep understanding. He doesn't give him again a name. He knew the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. So that's the way one of the biggest physicians was educated…
Now I wou like to invite you to our Bring Up Genius Challenge. In the download section (only for course subscribers) you can find also a workbook, feel free to use it.
So the challenge:
Think about it for a moment and picture yourself in this story!
So now I would like to encourage you to have a conversation with your wife or husband beside a glass of wine or wherever you have a chance to have a calm conversation, discuss this topic with him or her, to be on the same side!