Why are Geniuses flawed?
Look at some of the greatest sports stars or most gifted thinkers and one will find that their Genius came at a price…
They were flawed.
‘Flawed genius’ is a cliché, a maudlin stereotype. But it is apt for Maradona and those like him—George Best, Bjorn Borg, Mike Tyson and Mohammed Azharuddin, among others. Gifted people all, but Not Quite Misters Clean.
Many of them were products of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, a period when sportsmen first became rich, yet weren’t as disinfected by spin doctors to the extent they are today. Athletes were more spontaneous, less guarded.
Eighties sport threw up a riot of personalities, none more popular than Maradona. You could define a genius as one who uses skill in an aesthetic, original way to achieve significant success.
Maradona met the requirement. Playing the world’s beloved game like no one else before, the Argentinian strutted and dribbled his way to summits in country and club football. Off field, he was orgiastic.
Extreme responsibility called for extreme entertainment, like cocaine and prostitutes. Degeneration became his escape from football, football his escape from degeneration. Like Maradona, Tyson emerged from the shanties.
Like Maradona, he used his fist. But legitimately, for Tyson was a boxer. All pugilists are aggressive, but Tyson brought a snarling brutality to the ring. Ask Evander Holyfield, whose ear he bit off during a bout in 1997. They say that since then, Tyson hears better and Holyfield wears a glove on his ear.
Tyson’s personal life was devoid of control too. In 1992, he was charged, although unconvincingly, of raping Rhode Island beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington. After serving in prison, Tyson returned to boxing and hell-raising. Worse, he lost his wealth.
So did Bjorn Borg. The first cult figure of the game, Borg’s eleven Grand Slam titles and Nordic magnetism won him a fortune of about $60 million. Beneath the famously quiet Centre Court king, however, was a hedonistic, calculating man aware of his appeal. Like Maradona, Borg indulged his risqué side. Life after retirement wasn’t a party.
Through business and marriage failures, Borg’s bank balance dried up. The five-time Wimbledon champ managed to arrest the slide, though, by playing on the seniors tour.
But what about away from sport,
Michael Jackson- a very flawed and troubled person
Sir Isaac Newton, Most likely one of the greatest academic minds ever- but he was arrogant, paranoid and an anti social man.
We have to wonder, to achieve greatness, to have that drive to achieve, to be the best at what you do. Do you need to leave something behind, is there not room on the trip for all parts of ones character, parts that lets us conform, know how to behave.
Maybe it is a small price to pay to be a legend.
I would rather be remembered for what I achieved rather than if my manners were perfect