My Quest for Becoming a 21st Century Genius

Tobiloba Adejumo
5 min readAug 15, 2020

“When defining genius, it’s also important to realize this is a status that is never fully reached. Instead, it is something to aspire to.”- I. C. Robledo, The Secret Principles of Genius: The Key to Unlocking Your Hidden Genius Potential.

Two months ago, I wrote about my failed attempt at becoming a genius and how I have chosen to embrace success. However, a part of me still badly wants to be one. This time, I have chosen to do it differently. Rather than actively pursuing wealth, fame or other mundane things, I have chosen a life of total service as there is no greater calling than to serve my generation. We are not on this earth to just stand still & look pretty, says Mandy Hale, as museums already have enough statues.

July 2019

I decided to fully retire from being a software engineer. I wanted something more than creating applications and solutions for commercial use. I know that creating solutions to help businesses and people is important. However, I wanted something more. I wanted to be a research scientist — pushing the boundaries of science and formulating decisions that will assist with the advancement of technology in the world. But by being a research scientist, I wanted to be a genius at it. Apart from the fact that reading has always been my forte, I have always silently wanted to own a well knitted lab coat.

I fancy lab coat a lot too :)

What inspired this post?

I was largely inspired by Ohans Emmanuel’s post. His tenacity is amazing. Apart from that, I felt I had lost my writing juice since I stopped active software development. Writing technical articles became an uphill task. To give a ballpark figure, I have tried writing 20 technical articles this year alone and failed terribly. I want to write the “best” and “most perfect” piece on earth — not possible, I know. I keep editing and re-editing until I get inundated by the speed of life. And now, being a research scientist unfurls a greater responsibility and crave for perfection.

Reading Michael Simmons’s article titled: Blockbuster — The #1 Mental Model For Writers Who Want To Create High-Quality, Viral Content — even made things a lot worse.

A picture of my notion board on the 12th of June 2020

How do I plan to achieve this?

By writing.

Yes, by doing what I currently find difficult to do. I read a few articles on Distill and imagined the excellence and the prowess exhibited. The height of excellence and mastery shown by the writers as they conjured academic jargons in the most artistic nature.

So I thought to myself — if I cannot write a technical article so novel, excellent and carefully crafted out again, what can I do?

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” — Pablo Picasso

I decided to feed off already published research papers and explain them using my own words. Doing this, I retain the original idea and probably help one or two people who have an issue understanding the paper.

With this in mind, I created a new publication titled: AI Black Box. In this publication, I will be simplifying complex research papers as much as I can.

What obstacles are in the way?

I have a full-time job that I am very passionate about that requires a whole lot of attention. I also have lab meetings and research studies that come hell or high water, I must attend because I love it! I’m currently also learning how to edit videos using Final Cut Pro. This is because I need find a way to reciprocate the favour of good mentors and sponsors in my life that have helped, mentored and trained me be where I am today. Also, I have a lot of pro bono writings to do for my mentors and sponsors. On the side, I also enroled for AI for Medicine specialization track on Coursera and subliminally taking Jeremy Howard deep learning classes on Youtube.

What is my backup plan?

Every genius has a backup plan so I need to have one. The story of Michael Phelps, who is the Neptune of the Olympic pool and has set a high-water mark which future generations will struggle to eclipse. is one where your Plan B must be as good as your Plan A. When his googles was filled with water during the 2008 Olympic and he couldn’t see the finish line, he had foreshadowed this happening and counted his strokes knowing how many strokes will take him to the finish line thus becoming the greatest Olympic Champion of all time.

My backup plan is simple: I would be writing at least 2 research papers weekly till the end of this year to reduce the odds of failure. I know that I will certainly be reading more than two weekly because to understand a research paper fully, I must glean on previously cited papers in the research. Also, while coming up with the name of the publication, I had to read a research paper for inspiration.

A picture of my notion board while coming up with the name: AI Black Box

One of the labs I’m grateful and privileged to intern with has a Journal Club where we do biweekly review of journals. I can leverage on this also to push out more contents.

What Next?

I am a cheat. I have already reviewed a research paper which I will publish later today :). However, I think it’s time for me to build a more robust productivity dashboard to cater for my quest. Shall I?

[Update] Next article ↓



Tobiloba Adejumo

Interested in biomarker development, software dev and ai, as well as psychology, history, philosophy, relationships. Website: