How Einstein Inspires the pursuit of my Dreams
I stood rapt in awe when I first set my sights at the jaw-droppingly beautiful alpine landscape of Gurten Bern in Switzerland.
I visited Bern because it was once where Einstein was inspired into developing his famous Theory of Relativity.
I always found a profound sense of connection with Einstein through his words, philosophies and quotes.
Not about theoretical physics, but in terms of his other more philosophical quotes.
Over the passage of time, Einstein’s brilliance is elevated to being pure genius but he simply stated that:
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”
It has become common place to easily give up on problems or say “I don’t know.”
I don’t know how to start a business.
I don’t know how to make more money.
I don’t know how to write a book.
This in itself is inherently not a bad thing, its just that we’re so used to not doing a damn thing about what we don’t know.
In the grander scheme of things, we simply have forgotten the beauty of “I don’t know.” and begin to do something about it.
How often do we just sit and dwell in not knowing. To be idle and comfortable with not knowing.
Einstein didn’t know what it would be like for him to travel at the speed of light, and so he thought up an experiment to find that out once and for all.
It is intriguing for someone like Einstein to say “I don’t know’ to something this weird, and then start working on producing a simple equation that would define all of time and space.
Today, his equation is the foundation of all our universal sciences.
The “Pretending to know” Era
On the other hand, the danger of pretending to know something lies in the fact that it is so easy to Google nowadays.
I read something the other day…that says: this & that
If you say a lie often enough to enough people, it can be mistaken for the truth.
It’s so common today to complain or criticize other’s on social media, or dogpile on someone for a perceived notion.
I won’t do it.
It’s not my job to be the world’s critic.
So I simply choose to resist the urge to add up my side of the argument.
Find out for yourself
Resist the urge on your opinion, and find out for yourself.
I paused and wonder what it would be like to start a business.
Normally, every person around you has their say on it.
But why bother, they’re all employees, and not successful business owners.
I decided to find out for myself. What it took to start a business today.
The easiest place to start finding out.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science.
He who can no longer pause to wonder is as good as dead.”
The mysteries of starting an internet business inspired me to work for myself.
I leapt straight from college, invested $4000 of my own money in an internet business program.
When other engineering fresh graduates were out typing resumes and applying for jobs to Intel, Texas Instruments, Sony, Microsoft, etc..
I took myself out of the fray and straight into solo-entrepreneurship.
I was MAD.
My Asian parents invested tens of thousands of dollars to send me into a prestigious Engineering University.
This one quote from Albert Einstein made me realize what was more important.
My dreams or my career.
I needed to know their secret. The secret of successful entrepreneurs, 7-figure authors, famous artists, billionaires, CEOs and on and on.
It is also one of the reasons why I started this magazine publication.
The world is a gold mine, you need to know where to look, where to dig in order to unearth riches.
I want to know and get their secret.
The right mindset and questions can get you there.
I’m jealous of the people who seem to know.
Using my handy pickaxe, I started digging like a Minecraft miner.
I needed a competitive advantage.
Too many businesses on the internet are failing.
The stats are staggering, Nine out of ten startups will fail.
Its a hard and bleak truth that i had to accept.
I was throwing away my parents hard earned money.
Every optimistic entrepreneur especially a solo one needs a dose of reality every now and then.
Cold hard statistics like these, just like insurmountable challenges and obstacles are not meant to discourage you, they’re there to filter out the weak one.
They are there to encourage you to work harder and smarter.
I took a step back to revisit some of Einstein’s other quotes.
It was NOT Always about the Career
People mostly remember Einstein as a scientist. But not many heard about this:
“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music.
I see my life in terms of music…. I do know that I get most joy in life out of my violin.”
This is one of his lesser known quotes and one of my personal favorites.
The majority of people know Albert Einstein due to his work in theoretical physics but not many people realize that he was also a great violinist.
He was introduced to music at the tender age of five when his mother signed him up for musical classes and immediately fell in love with the violin. So much so in fact that he named his personal violin Lina.
Throughout his lifetime, he mentioned numerous times that had he not become a physicist he would have instead become a musician.
Personally I believe that had he tried his hand in a musical career there is no doubt that even then he would have turned out to be one of the greats, that’s just who Albert Einstein was.
The quote appeals to me personally because it goes to show that despite finding yourself in a particular field (life has a peculiarity of putting us into boxes) he encourages us to go and explore.
In his mind, the universe is just a symphony of vibrating strings on a violin.
Another little known fact about Einstein, is that he loved sailing. Ignoring the fact that he never learnt how to swim, it is interesting to note that it did not deter him from pursuing his passion.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
This ties in perfectly with the former quote and is self explanatory.
Always strive to learn, this is not only limited to academics as he unquestionably was but can also be expanded to include our experiences.
My real journey in learning has just begun.
This serves as a warning to all university students. The moment you stop learning, is the moment that one day you find yourself obsolete.
Just a while ago I discovered there is a profession called a Bitcoin Mining Engineer.
Change is inevitable and the only human institutions that do not give change is the cemetery (and i reckon we all know what goes on under the tombstones)
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
As Tolstoy, (Arguably Russia’s greatest author) put it: Keep moving and growing, learn from our experiences and those of others, anything but is stopping still.
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
Stop once in a while and look up. Look up from that screen in your office cubicle or from the phone you religiously hold in front of your chest as you walk down the street or in the coffee shop, stop and look around.
Take in your environment; the children playing out in the streets, the fire truck whooshing past in a flurry of sirens, the birds chirping outside your window.
Stop, pause and admire all that is life, and all that is in life.
Never let circumstances kill your dream
Before he broke through into the scientific community, Einstein worked in a small cubicle in a patent office. This was after a long period of being unemployed and it was one of the few positions that he was able to land.
Despite this and however cramped the office space must have been, he never let that constrain his imagination, it was here that his ideas incubated and one of his most astounding revelations came to fruition.
“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”
Albert Einstein found a beauty in nature that most of us have all but forgotten it exists.
One can argue that most of the discoveries he made were due to his keen sense of observation and curiosity, whereas most would have overlooked the way his mind was able to pick apart something complex and reveal the wonders that lay therein.
“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
One of the reasons that he was not able to get employment soon after he finished his studies was because some of his professors during his tenure considered him, unruly, untamable and even rude. None of them wanted to work with him.
In this modern age, where it is considered rude to go against the accepted norms in society, Albert Einstein encourages us to question everything. Instead of taking things at face value we should question why things are the way they are.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
It takes a different kind of mentality to see the underlying opportunity where everyone sees as a problem.
That is why if you are willing to stay at problems longer than most people would, I bet you’d discover breakthroughs eventually.
After coming up with his famous equation E= Mc2, the physics community completely ignored his theories.
If it wasn’t for Max Planck, one of the leading scientists at the time, his work would have gone relatively unknown.
Albert Einstein is a classic example of the ‘turning lemons into lemonade’ trope.
Despite all the challenges that he had gone through, all he needed to do was to look past the obstacles.
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it your target, the more you’re going to miss it.
Success cannot be blindly pursued.
It can only happen when your dedication towards a cause greater than yourself eventually comes as an unintended side effect.
It is a by-product of doing what you love.
You have to let it happen by not caring about it
Success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it. ~Vicktor Frankl
Einstein came under immense pressure by the government to direct his talents into developing and creating destructive weapons.
His values superseded the need for success.
He dedicated a great portion of his time and efforts championing the civil rights movement.
He went so far in this belief that he even volunteered to be a character witness to a civil rights activist, W. E. B. Du Bois, and for his efforts he was awarded an honorary degree by the Lincoln University. It was one of the few universities at that time that offered college degrees to African Americans.
All this exemplifies what he believed in and lived by. His intention was not just to become rich and famous, what most people would deem successful but instead used his affluent position to champion the rights of others.
It was a belief that he held until the day that he died.
“Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.”
Don’t go into business or entrepreneurship just for personal gain and riches.
It’s really easy to make money, but to make money while solving a big problem is really hard.
Do it to solve a societal problem.
As Jack Ma always says, you can only become a big business when you solve a big social problem.
“A human being is part of a whole called by us the universe.”
It is a common held belief that Albert Einstein was an atheist but the reality was that he was actually an agnostic.
He believed that if there was a God, he was not concerned with the trivialities of humanity but instead we should look at ourselves as being a smaller part of the whole that is the universe.
“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”
It’s a question that I have often asked myself “am I the one, who’s nuts, or is the world going crazy around me?”
There is a comfort in the notion that one of the greatest minds of our times struggled to answer the same question.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
As Albert Einstein lay on his deathbed, he asked only for his glasses, his writing implements and his latest equations.
He knew he was dying, yet he continued his work.
In those final hours of his life, while fading in and out of consciousness, he was still working on understanding the mind of God.
It was his lifelong pursuit of something he simply didn’t have a complete answer.
“I want to know God’s thoughts – the rest are mere details.”
Do you have a favorite Einstein quote? How does Einstein inspire you?