A brilliant man who was passionately curious about the mysteries of science, Albert Einstein changed the world as the most influential physicist of the 20th century. 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 10 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.