A brilliant man who was passionately curious about the mysteries of science,Albert Einstein changed the world as the most influential physicist of the 20thcentury. He developed the general theory of relativity (e = mc2), now considered the cornerstone of modern physics. Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. He wrote hundreds of books and articles.
Einstein was also a great philosopher and moral leader. Here are his 15 life lessons:
1. Follow Your Curiosity: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
Curiosity helps to fuel our imagination. When we ask questions of others, we can find out important information to help us solve problems, open new doors and form connections. When we ask questions of ourselves, we can shake up our beliefs, reveal our innermost desires and make positive change. What unanswered question is swimming around in your head?
2. Perseverance is Priceless: “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
If you have a dream, you’ll be faced with obstacles but by staying with problems longer, as Einstein says, can mean the difference between failure and success. Some ways to begin practicing perseverance is by committing to your dream, keeping a positive attitude, staying focused on what you want every day and bouncing back from adversity.
3. Focus on the Present: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
What a great example Einstein uses to illustrate the importance of focusing on the present. We can miss the pleasures of the present by becoming too preoccupied with the past and/or future. Reminding ourselves daily to be present will bring us more peace and joy as well as provide us with a greater appreciation for life.
4. Imagination is Powerful: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
With one idea, an empire can be built. Take for example, Walt Disney, a true master at imagination. He got the inspiration for Mickey Mouse from an old pet mouse he used to have on his farm. That black and white mouse became an animated legend. Imagination opens the door to a Kingdom of possibilities!
5. Make Mistakes: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Mistakes are inevitable especially when pursuing something worthwhile. They can be disappointing and tough on the confidence but often necessary to test our true commitment to the end goal. What great things are ever accomplished without failing in some way first? The real failure is in the not starting or completing.
6. Live in the Moment: “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”
As they say, the moment is all we really have, a tough concept to grasp. Eckhart Tolle in his book the Power of Now, said that a person’s success in truly being in the present moment can be measured by the degree of peace he or she feels within. By becoming more aware of the moment, we can ground ourselves in what matters most.
7. Create Value: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
How would you define success? What will make your life a success? These questions can be great ones to ask yourself. It can be raising healthy and happy children, having meaningful and fulfilling relationships, being authentic in conversations, writing a book, loving a career, feeling good everyday—whatever it is for you, that’s where to place or continue to place your focus. What we focus on truly expands.
8. Don’t Be Repetitive: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you have been unhappy in certain areas of your life such as finances or relationships, opt to do one thing different tomorrow. The idea is to shake up the routine. If you have a job that is unfulfilling or that is frustrating on some level, think about what you can do to change the situation. Sometimes a new perspective on the same situation is all it takes to open one’s eyes to what’s possible. The first step is to recognize the dissatisfaction and then take a single action towards satisfaction.
9. Knowledge Comes From Experience: “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”
Actual experience creates knowledge that is respected and valued by others. We can read books, listen to tapes, and take courses, but the experiences we have in life can provide the best lessons for others. Your life story is rich in knowledge and people are ready to listen because it’s the most compelling and authentic way to make a difference with someone.
10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
To become an expert at something, learn all you can about that subject, study other’s successes and then aim to do it better than them. The stronger your commitment and passion is to your endeavor, the greater your resolve will be to succeed.
11. Be Unconventional: “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”
Everything great took a process of going outside of the box and doing something unconventional. If you continue to do the norm, then you are going to just produce normal, conventional results. Think differently, and you may find your answer.
12. Work Towards the Impossible: “Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”
If it seems ridiculous to others and you are willing to take the risk, then you are able to achieve the impossible. When you go beyond what others think is reasonable, an amazing thing starts to happen. You complete what was once an obstacle.
13. Sharing: “Student is not a container you have to fill but a torch you have to light up.”
Share your ideas with others. You may light a spark that ignites someone to do what they have always wanted. If you just hold all of your ideas and knowledge to yourself, you are not helping others at all. What if you held the key that would solve someone’s problems, wouldn’t you want to share it?
14. Do What is Right: “Always do what’s right; this will gratify some and astonish the rest.”
When you come to the fork in the road or if your consciousness is offering you a decision, always do what is right. You may feel that the other option will be easier or offer you more money, but when you know that the other option will allow you more opportunity in the future or is the right thing to do, then you have to do it. It’s not going out and choosing the easiest decision, but taking the time to follow your gut and do the right thing will keep you standing out from the crowd.
15. Simplicity: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
The more complicated you have to make something seem, the more you do not understand the inner workings of it. Think about the best teachers that you have had in your life. Did they make even the most complicated topics full of vocabulary that you did not understand or did they make it easier to understand by simplifying?
16. Value People: “We know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all, for whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.”
“Life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else.” – Albert Einstein
If you put people first, they will value you and look to you as a person who genuinely cares about others. Spend at least a few minutes out of your busy day being fully engaged with people without any distractions. Show them that you value them. Thank them and send compliments their way. It will not only make their day better, but they will appreciate it and remember what you have done for them.
17. Be good for good sake: If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
You must do good things not because of fear of punishment or because of reward. But do it because your heart intended to.
18. Idolized: “Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.”
19. Love Your Craft: “Love is a better teacher than duty.”
Love can teach you things you never knew it can teach you how to value yourself, love people for who they are. Your heart came first. To love and respect and the ‘job’ element will resolve itself. Value your work enough to approach it with passion and sensibility. Dedication to your craft is the most ‘heart’-felt passion of a worker can have.
20. Transcending consciousness: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Transcendence is the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond the usual limits. Others may think that to develop a higher consciousness can solve a problem but what one needs is to transcend the level of consciousness that one was in when the problem was created. In which the implication is that the level does not have to be higher or lower, but only be different. One must start with self-awareness to begin the transcendence journeys. This is where purposeful thinking shows how creative and wonderful the mind can be.
There are times, by thinking differently about the situation, by taking different viewpoint, the problem was solved without a solution . Which means the problem changes and is no longer a problem.
However, when a problem requires action, think if the solution is good for everyone, if the solution will harm anyone and think if it is the right solution. Take the solution that you can live with.