There are few figures who are revered in academia as Einstein. Calling someone an Einstein, in fact, is synonymous with calling them a genius.
But the man was much more than a brain. He was an author, a philosopher, and violinist. He is also one of the most quotable figures in history, with pithy comments on everything from God to first love. And inside this huge compendium of quotes are a couple of excellent lessons.
Quote: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”
The lesson: Keep it simple, stupid.
It’s tempting to move towards complexity. Whether it involves planning for a presentation or a party it is sometimes necessary to take a step back and ask yourself whether everything you’re doing is entirely necessary. Are you adding worth, or just more for more’s sake?
Quote: “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
The lesson: How you act is how you become.
Humans are creatures of habit. We follow patterns of thought and action that we have laid out before, and it doesn’t take long for us to become set in our ways. So before you decide to put something off or do something you wouldn’t usually do take a moment and consider whether you would want to be the type of person who would do it regularly. If not, why are you doing it now?
Quote: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
The lesson: Appreciate failure.
Failure is the inevitable result of stretching your boundaries and reaching outside your comfort zone. If you’re not failing, then you likely aren’t trying. Don’t avoid failure, embrace it, learn from it, and move forward.
Quote: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
The lesson: There’s little value in simply striving for success.
When it comes down to it, striving for success without putting the work in to succeed really doesn’t do anything except make you run about in a circle. Real success comes for people who concentrate instead on adding value to their lives and their careers because they’ve laid the foundation necessary to actually move forward.
Quote: “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”
The lesson: sometimes it helps to take a step back.
The modern world is made up of a million different distractions. Between advertising, noise pollution, and the constant bombardment of social media, it is sometimes hard to focus. If you find yourself in a creative rut don’t panic, just take a couple quiet moments to yourself in a peaceful place-preferably away from your smart phone- and come back to the issue when you’re better rested.