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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What does the following quotation mean to you?
    “Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.” – Benjamin Franklin. (150 Words)

    03 Feb, 2022 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Begin by defining the meaning of genius, its perception, and assumptions
    • Justify the above statement with examples from different fields
    • In conclusion, try to link this statement with governance and policy implementation


    The Genius of human beings could be defined as an exceptional intellectual or creative power, which has revolutionized this world with the invention of modern amenities and finding solutions to the most confounding problems. But this capacity of the human mind is assumed to be organically present and arbitrarily distributed amongst the human populace. Genius is often attributed to the factor of luck and can not be inculcated in an individual. However, such assumptions tend to exclude major determinants like patience in shaping the genius of a mind.

    An aptitude for patience inspires persistence and dedication in the human mind which is otherwise fickle and reactive. One of the greatest political geniuses of all time, Abraham Lincoln, in his initial political career lost successive elections and even suffered a nervous breakdown. Ordinarily, such setbacks would have discouraged someone to vacate the political arena. However, his patience did not wane and catapulted him to the office of President. At another instance in world history, during World War II, British intelligence services were having a hard time deciphering the Nazi ‘enigma’ codes. The task seemed impossible until one prodigious genius, Alan Turing, despite many failures in the beginning, successfully designed a machine that cracked the secret codes. This provided a leading edge to the British army in the War.

    Not only at the individual level, but even organizations require a collective aptitude for patience in cultivating genius. For an organization, an idea remains a figment of imagination if members lack patience and dedication to implement it. In 1993, India was denied access to Cryogenic Technology which was earlier promised by the USSR, because of the US pressures under the Military Technology Control Regime (MTCR). But, ISRO with the sheer brilliance of its scientists consistently worked for seventeen long years and developed indigenous cryogenic technology. Without patience, they would have never succeeded, as their mission faced multiple obstructions.

    Similarly, in the sphere of public service and governance, ingenuity in policy design and implementation always stems from an aptitude for patience and perseverance. An officer who is well endowed with knowledge and erudition may lose patience due to the complexities of day-to-day administration. Thus, an aptitude for patients is imperative for ingenuity in any organization and sphere of life.

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