In Search of Excellence
“The important thing is not to stop questioning”. ~ Albert Einstein
I am almost always looking for ways to achieve things more quickly, or more elegantly, or with less stress. One of my missions, almost since I first entered the business world, has been to get my assigned or desired tasks done as efficiently and effectively as possible. This works out well in my coaching and consulting work with clients and works out well in my ongoing quest for my own personal growth and evolution. People usually have already figured out slow and painful and stressful ways to try to accomplish things. They usually do not need a coach for that!
This leads me to modeling. In my early training in NLP, or Neurolinguistic Programming, I was taught the basics of modeling…extracting the processes, and beliefs, and actions that enable people to achieve extraordinary results. You knew you had done good a good job of modeling someone when you could achieve the same results in basically the same situation in the same amount of time. Modeling someone that already has the result that you want is a wonderful way to save time and effort. They have already figured out a path that leads to great results. Now this may not be the only path that leads to really impressive results; one is always free to model others and combine or meld the different patterns and look for an even better overall result.
Now this finally gets us to the heart of today’s note – modeling Albert Einstein. I wish Albert had written an autobiography – these are often marvelous distillations of wisdom and ideas – especially if written near the end of the author’s life. Although there are many books written about Einstein and many books that have collected his letters and essays, Einstein did not write an autobiography. Sad. Still, there is much to be learned from this genius of the 20th century just from second or third hand observation. What is second or third hand observation? It is reading a book; in this case reading a biography about Einstein.
I am currently reading “Einstein – The Life and Times” by Ronald Clark published in 1971. This is an interesting book, it certainly gives some great insights into Einstein, and it also covers a bit of world history during the great scientists’ life. This is not a light read – at 864 pages – it is anything but a light read. Not sure if I can recommend this book in general, I’m a bit less than half-way thru, I think this book is perhaps best for true Einstein followers and science history buffs. Still here is what I think I have modeled so far that I think contributed greatly to Einstein’s success:
- He was extremely good at being focused. He would often need to be interrupted and told it was time to eat or sleep.
- He loved to surround himself with other great and stimulating minds and would often talk for hours with others from the scientific community.
- He spent significant amounts of time immersed in music and sailing. It is my belief that he used both of these activities to free his unconscious mind to solve problems and invent new perspectives.
- From his early days as a patent application clerk to his college professor positions, Einstein excelled at getting himself jobs that paid him well enough while still allowing him ample time and energy to work on his scientific endeavors.
- Einstein was great at getting someone else to handle all of the mundane aspects of his life – cooking, cleaning, shopping and so forth.
I’ll go over these observations in another entry and look at the implications of them. For now, ponder this: If you were really focused on one great task and you surrounded yourself with other great minds and bounced ideas around on a very regular basis and you found activities that you loved that freed your mind to think and you made enough money efficiently so that you had lots of time to devote to your one great passion and you had someone else handling all of the little time stealers for you…what could you accomplish in a decade or so? (Ten years is about how long it took Einstein to put together the vast majority of the work that would make him famous.)
Till next time…Jack
“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.” ~ Albert Einstein
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