Observation. After reading bios of many successful scholars I have come to the conclusion that bs/ms/phd students, who eventually succeed in their research, work on the same problems as their supervisors (usually continuing older works of the supervisors). Which makes me think that the adviser plays the crucial role of the success of a beginner researcher.
Background. During last two years of studies I tried to do some research. I approached a prof who I considered among the most active researches on the faculty, not very young / not old, who's research was in the field (some branch of cs|applied mathematics) which I was and still am interested in. He proposed me several topics and I picked one. I tried to produce the result and failed. The difficulty was that: first, I lacked some necessary knowledge, there was no actual "problem", rather "try to get some theoretical result, connected to a certain algorithm". It was very frustrating experience because neither I understood why the topic is important (so I had no real passion) nor the prof had anything particular in mind and was not researching that topic so I was unable to get any research skill from collaboration. Next year I have chosen another topic with same prof (I thought that the topic was to blame) with almost the same result. So I don't have any successful research experience yet. For this reason instead of applying to a PhD program directly I have decided to do a Research Masters (in Europe). No that I am in the first year of masters I want to do some research.
The question. I am not sure if the problem lies with me or I am just having a bad luck with advisers. I believe that there are geniuses who can do self-motived research on their own and who do not actually need an adviser. Is it the case for other students too? How can I actually have a research experience which fits my level?