The spectrum of brilliance

Kanza Riaz
Oct 24, 2020


artwork by @artshaman

When I was younger I sought brilliance. In myself and in others. I respected Brilliance. In my head objectively brilliant people had specific, set traits. According to me they were:

  1. Articulate
  2. Smart
  3. Cool
  4. Witty
  5. Kind
  6. Empathetic


In my head, if a person had the first few traits, others would automatically follow.

Smart formula, right? Wrong

People, I found, can very well be amazingly articulate geniuses with absolutely shit personalities. This although, a real shocker, helped me revise my definition of brilliance. It also made me realise who truly deserves respect.

I still seek the same traits — But — In a different order and with one addition. Brilliant people are:

  1. Kind
  2. Empathetic
  3. Hardworking
  4. Smart
  5. Articulate
  6. Cool
  7. Witty (This is a fun plus)

There’s also a catch. 1 & 2 now act as filters. Here’s how:

Traits 1 through 7 make people an asset.

Traits 1, 2 and any combination of the rest makes them a worthy association.

Traits 3 though 7 make people liabilities and assholes.

A lesson learnt over 26 years now acts as a first principle. i.e. Brilliance comes in different shades, not all are worthy. Be mindful of whom you let into your head and in your life.



Kanza Riaz

Trying to get the hang of life, one day at a time ~Meri saadagi dekh, mein kya chahta hun :’) — Twitter: @RiazKanza