Many can argue that Albert Einstein had one of the greatest,
if not greatest, minds in human history. What separated him from the rest of
the crowd and achieved greatness? One of my mentors studied his history to
learn what traits he had and how he developed the use of his mind. He learned
that Einstein practiced four disciplines that allowed him to develop high use
of his mental capabilities.
First, Einstein was never afraid to ask questions even in his adulthood. Young children are not afraid to ask questions. But as they grow older, they start hesitating to ask questions because they begin to fear what others will think of them. It’s the fear of looking dumb that holds them back. This can be dangerous because if we don’t know answers and don’t ask the right questions, we can make assumptions about things. However, Einstein never feared asking questions, and didn’t care if his contemporaries mocked him for wanting to search for answers on physics and relativity. This is what drove him to make incredible discoveries that benefited all. By asking the simplest questions, you will unlock that creative side of you that was suppressed while you were growing up.
In addition, Einstein developed and implemented a success equation as follows:
Success = x + y + z, where x = work, y = play, and z = keep your mouth shut
To be successful, Einstein always balanced work and play. You can’t work hard all the time. Otherwise, you will burn out, so you need to include fun activities to rejuvenate your mind and body. Although Einstein achieved great success, he was very humble, and when engaged in conversation, he focused on listening to others and providing value to them. He did not boast about his accomplishments, or dominate the conversation. He found that listening was a key to his achievements.
Einstein often told his son that life is like a bicycle ride. If you fall off the bicycle, it will still keep moving, so you need to find a way to get back on. He wanted his children to know the value of not giving up, no matter how many times you fall down. Life will still keep moving, so you either move with it, or let life pass you by.
Finally, when Einstein was faced with a problem, he often diverted his attention away and played his musical instruments. He knew that if a problem came up and tried to solve it right away, he would only look at the problem from a microscopic view and may not come up with the best solutions. He believed that sometimes you need to step away from the problem and come back to it, so you can see a much bigger picture and think of solutions from different angles. Einstein often experienced those “aha” moments while in the middle playing his musical instrument. Sometimes you have to let the answers come to you, and in order for this to happen, you need to temporarily divert yourself away from the problem before you can think clearly.
Try practicing these four disciplines, and begin to expand your mental capabilities. While we may not become an Einstein, we can sure come close to thinking like Einstein and achieve greater access with an enhanced mindset.