“It is not that I’m so smart” Albert Einstein once said. “But I stay with the questions much longer”
Albert Einstein was once asked — If you only had one hour left to save the world, what you do to save it? To which he replied:
“If I only had one hour to save the world, I’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution”
Now, I’m not saying that this is the best approach by any means because I would probably begin to panic and doubt the man’s judgement if I was nervously watching the clock ticking down while the world was crumbling down all the while he was contemplating his next move. However, it does say a lot about how he solved some of the most mind-bending and mysterious questions the universe could throw at him. So, there’s a lot to say for it.
What else can we learn from his approach?
Don’t rush the process
Think slow, act fast
So, let’s unpack each one individually a little more, shall we?
“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself” — Albert Einstein
Read also: Programming your mind for success
1. Don’t rush the process
Contemplation + observation made Einstein the genius that he was. However, contemplation always came first. That’s why he said:
“It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer”
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious”
Both require a great deal of time, trust, curiosity, and patience.
And all of those qualities can’t be rushed — they have to be cultivated.
Another genius cut from the same cloth as Einstein — Thomas Edison (the light bulb dude) — said something similar even if it was less poetic:
“Genius is 1% inspiration. 99% perspiration”
See what I mean?
So, it seems that creativity and hard work are the magical combination here, along with a good dose of patience, practice, perseverance, and humility.
Perhaps that’s why Edison went on to say:
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”
And how he then famously went on to make the light bulb after 10,000 attempts of trying.
2. Think slow, act fast
“You never fail until you stop trying” — Albert Einstein
This is what defined Einstein’s approach maybe more so than anything else. So, why would saving the world be any different?
What I love about Einstein’s approach, in particular, though, is that he never felt compelled to do what he “had” to do or thought he “should” do. Instead, he allowed himself the freedom to do what he wanted to do and this, I’m sure, led him to have one of those miracle years. The kind that comes with the question “How did he achieve so much in such little time?”
That miracle year I speak of included four papers that he released one after another. They were on light, matter, time, and space, and they changed the way the world sees and thinks about reality forever.
Einstein was 26 years old at the time. That’s when he wrote: “A heuristic point of view of the production and transformation of light” which introduced the revolutionary idea that light is composed of both energy and particles (or quanta for Einstein — photons for history.)
This concept showed how the material world operates both as waves (energy) and as particles (matter) and would be the seed of one of the two pillars of modern physics: quantum mechanics.
Sixteen years later, this theory helped Einstein receive the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.
That’s why when asked what he would do to save the world if he only had one hour left, he answered I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and then the next 5 minutes taking action because this approach had worked wonders for him in the past.
The creative power of thoughts
Another reason why Einstein and other smart people work this way is that they understand the power of thoughts and how they create the world.
That’s why he said:
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”
It’s also why the Buddha said: “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create”
And why Dr. Joe Dispenza then went on to explain it through a scientific lens:
“The latest research supports the notion that we have a natural ability to change the brain and body by thought alone, so that it looks biologically like some future event has already happened. Because you can make thought more real than anything else, you can change who you are from brain cell to gene, given the right understanding.”
So, think wisely. The world (literally) depends upon it.
Read also: when I keep these 12 habits,I am insanely productive (must read)
To close, I’d like to leave you with one more pertinent quote from Thomas Edison. After all, he’s another one that lived an extraordinary life.
“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves”
The Diet of A Genius: What Fed Albert Einstein’s Brilliant Mind
Hint: “I am not a tiger” He once told his cook
Contributed by Andy Murphy
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