Dennis Yu

Don't Mistake Genius for Hard Work

I might have told you that I once went to a MENSA meeting just to find out what geniuses are like. I was expecting to be blown away by the sheer intellect of geeks wanting to chatter about the latest in math or technology.  What would you expect to find at a gathering of people who passed an IQ test?

Secretly, I was hoping to be inspired– by people who were super smart in whatever their area of expertise.

And then maybe I could return the favor by sharing a few things that I’ve learned, so we could have a joint nerd chuckle.

Instead, I found ordinary, seemingly average people– the sort you’d expect to see when strolling through the mall.
There were blue-collar folks, teachers, the unemployed, and people from all walks of life– no particular pattern.
Then again, what am I supposed to do, go up to each person and ask them their IQ?

I left that evening disappointed.

Think about the people in your life who amaze you– what are they like?
Does their passion create infectious warmth that spills over to you and your friends?
Does their depth of knowledge belie a massive time investment, like the 10,000-hour rule?
Do you describe this as a genius?

They might very well be geniuses, categorized as scoring at least 130 to 140 on one of the three standardized IQ tests.
But more likely, what you view as genius is actually the product of hard work.

Anyone with sufficient time can learn a body of knowledge and repeat it back to you with such conviction that you think they’re a genius.
Actors do it all the time, which is why they might be disappointingly ineloquent in a live interview versus in the film.

Mark Lack, who’s the author of Shorten the Gap, explained his observations between natural geniuses and those who achieved such a title through hard work:

“Having had the privilege and opportunity to rub elbows with some of the most successful and intelligent people on the planet, I’ve noticed that there are people who are born genius and people who become genius through lots of hard work, practice, and training.
To give a real life example of someone who was born genius, I’ll refer to the 14-year-old Indiana prodigy: Jacob Barnett. Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s and is on the road to winning a Nobel Prize. He’s given TedX talks and is working toward a master’s degree in quantum physics. Where as someone like Deepak Chopra, Ken Wilber, or Tony Robbins (who in my humble opinion, are geniuses at what they do and teach); they have worked very hard and invested decades of their life to achieve their level of intellect and stature. Even the worlds top memory champions train every day just like any other professional athlete would train.

Now, having made that distinction, anyone has the capability to become a world renowned genius or expert in a specific field. The reason why it is so rare is because very few people have the required level of discipline and commitment to continuously go as deep as they possibly can to understand any topic both intellectually and conceptually to ever be considered a “genius.”
If you want to be in the top 1% or higher in your field, spend 10 years of your life going as deep as you possibly can into one topic.

That’s the only way I do something if I commit to it. Why commit to something if you’re not going to give it your all – and do it in a methodical way. Learn from the best and repeat excellence. It’s a science not a secret.

Once we get young adults to understand that, and become excellent in anything they want or do, based around checklists, formulas, blue prints (call it anything) we can change the world one person at a time. “

Entrepreneurship is also about repeated rehearsal.
These super-hard-working folks keep failing over and over until they eventually get it.
It’s easy to think that what you see or hear is spontaneous as opposed to the product of 10 years of hard work.

Some people, like Bill Gates, are geniuses and hard workers.
Mr. Gates has a photographic memory, such that once he was able to recite one of the synoptic gospels from memory without missing a beat.
If I had a photographic memory, I’d be able to tell you which book– Matthew, Mark, or Luke– but I’m not a genius like that.

When I was 20 years old, I met some people that seemed so incredibly talented that I felt inferior– even anxious around them.
CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, former US presidents, and celebrity sorts of people– I didn’t even know what to say and felt stupid all the time.
So I would read the Wall Street Journal cover to cover before meeting folks like this, just so I could be ready to talk about current business news and politics.

Have you ever felt awkward in situations like this?

It’s easy to chalk it up to them being genius– but that’s a cop-out.
It’s not a genetic thing, like being 7 feet tall and being able to dunk– it’s hard work.

If you’re a young adult and are discouraged by the whole prospect of finding something you love while being able to pay bills, this is good news for you.
It means you’re fully capable of achieving success, as corny as that sounds, provided you can clarify what interests you and can work hard towards it.

And even if you’re not sure what interests you– perhaps many things– there is a process you can follow to start clarifying it and exploring it.

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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