Albert Einstein | My Greatest Gift


Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein is one of the most famous and influential scientists and intellectuals in history. In 1921, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory of relativity that revolutionized our understanding of time and space. In 1999, Time Magazine named Einstein the Person of the Century, one hundred top physicists named him the greatest physicist ever, and a Gallup Poll recognized him as the fourth most admired person of the 20th Century.

Einstein was born in Germany; his father was a salesman and engineer. Although intelligent, Einstein had some learning difficulties and rebelled against regimented and rote learning. Still, in 1900, Einstein graduated from the Polytechnic in Zurich with a diploma in mathematics and physics. As a philosopher, Einstein taught us to value curiosity, respect and peace.

Albert Einstein | My Greatest Gift

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

I knew Albert Einstein’s name even when I was a child, as everybody does, but it wasn’t until I began to read about his life and what he’d written that I learned what an amazing man he had been. He wasn’t just a brilliant scientist: he understood human nature, too. One quote of his had a particular impact on me. He said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how very important that statement was.

The power of that quote led me to read many other things Einstein had written. Another famous quote of his that I love is this one: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

About 14 years ago, I was mulling over a quote by Mother Teresa: “Life is a promise: Fulfill it.” And I asked myself, “What is the promise of my life? Am I fulfilling it?”

That was when I realized that I had gifts that I hadn’t even known about when I was in my twenties. I knew that everyone has gifts, but I had never thought about the different types of gifts we all possess, and the role each gift plays in fulfilling our promise.

Aptitudes – our talents, including our innate performance excellence and abilities, and our innate understanding or sensory skills – are what we innately do well. I was beginning to understand that these gifts will turn into nothing unless we connect them with two other important gifts, our energy drivers: 1) passion, the driver for performance excellence; and 2) curiosity, the driver for knowledge and understanding. That’s when the brilliance of Einstein’s quote became clear to me. Einstein was passionately curious.

Later, I came to appreciate that the gift of dreams is what gives direction to our aptitudes, talents and abilities, supported by our drivers of passion and curiosity, to create the new reality we see in our imagination. To really unleash the power of my dreams, I learned to turn them into goals supported by action plans and deadlines. Your imagination connects your gifts to your curiosity, your passion and your dreams.

Today, when I think of that particular quote by Albert Einstein, I realize that I have adapted the words a bit to fit with other things I’ve learned in my life. So now I think about it this way: “I have no special gifts. I am only passionate and curious.” I’m sure that Einstein wouldn’t mind the minor change I’ve made to his original wording in order to put his brilliance to work in my life.

Albert Einstein | In His Own Words

A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.

If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. But intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.

The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.


One of 50 Lessons from Amazing Teachers in my book Wisdom to Live Your MAGIC!

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