What Makes Some People Become Extraordinary?

Thomas Cotterill

Painting of the Muses Bringing Inspiration Formerly, the Muses were thought to make people extraordinary. Nowadays we see inner bickering as the cause.

What makes some people become extraordinary? There have always been child prodigies, but the majority of exceptional human beings are not born with a noticeable gift. Instead, they develop into outstanding achievers as they mature. The explanation for why they reach the creative heights seems to lie with self-alienation and psychological distress, a fact that for centuries has surrounded creativity with myths of wild inspiration and “divine” madness. Research has shown that exceptional individuals come more often from homes where there has been a lot of bickering and conflict.

Yet being troubled is not enough. The extraordinary person also possesses the ability to use that suffering to propel themselves down the long hard road of self-discovery and self-realization. It would seem that inner bickering and conflict are a necessary part of…

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