For decades, the world has been awe-inspired by the genius of German physicist Albert Einstein.
Even today, scientists work tirelessly to uncover the secrets of the universe using much of Einstein’s most significant discoveries from over 60 years ago, a lifetime in the world of scientific research.
However, part of what made Einstein so interesting was that he was more than just a physicist. He asked big questions and had a lot to say on life (and how that was connected with his work).
His musings on life and philosophies encapsulate a vast wisdom– both in doing your best work and in finding meaning and purpose.
Here are five pieces of wisdom from Albert Einstein on living life:
1. Passion drives us to great heights
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
Einstein spoke often about the passion he felt for his work and the power of curiosity.
Passion is incredibly important as it pertains to what you decide to devote your life to. With passion, you have an unlimited energy that keeps you going even despite great challenges. But more than that, we find joy in pursuing our passions because they’re the things which deeply interest us.
The vehicle of passion is curiosity and that is deeply rooted in intuition, another quality that Einstein appreciated. So, find your passion, let your curiosity take hold, and trust where it takes you.
2. Nothing can replace the value of personal experience
Reading after a certain age diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking, just as the man who spends too much time in the theater is tempted to be content with living vicariously instead of living his own life.
Einstein experienced first hand the effects of consuming large quantities of knowledge. He understood through his work that a large consumption of knowledge from books and not enough time spent applying the knowledge was not productive.
Knowledge can’t replace your own personal experience. Whether you’re trying to achieve something or crave a particular human experience, books, movies, articles, and videos are only a starting point. Take what you learn and apply it in your own life to make these things a reality.
3. Strive to be of value
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
A hard work ethic is important. However, the results you receive from that work are also heavily dependent on the state of mind while doing said work.
If you’re trying to get something, and your actions reflect trying to grasp hold of that thing, you’re likely to be chasing it forever. However, if your actions are about providing value to others (giving instead of taking) and maximizing that value, you’ll tend to receive back a greater value (what you might, ironically, call “success” or the elements of success) because, in a very basic sense, value has a currency.
The greatest companies and people in the world are the ones who tend to provide the most value, at least based on what we as people value the most.
That’s not to say that success and money are what matters most, simply that the value you provide is the most effective benchmark of achievement and of the value you get from life because it spurs you to create as opposed to take.
4. Imagination is powerful
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.
Imagination tends to be highly underrated. However, it has a place in virtually every great human endeavor, from medicine to science and, of course, art.
Einstein understood the value and power of imagination and used it as masterfully as anyone of his time. After all, what Einstein was doing was something no one else had ever done. He needed to look at things– at the fundamental elements of life– in an entirely new way, like piecing together a puzzle which no one else had ever solved.
But we do this same thing in our own life, even if we’re not crafting the theory of relativity. Imagination allows us to figure out solutions to our problems, create new things of value in our career, business, or personal life, and see things in a different way that can open up a more balanced and healthy understanding of the world.
5. Live a life of service
I believe in one thing—that only a life lived for others is a life worth living.
Einstein was a deeply philosophical being who appeared to spend much of his time outside of his work contemplating the meaning of life.
For that reason, he was acutely aware of the interdependence of the human species and all reality. He understood that we’re intrinsically connected– that what one person does affects many others and that what we become, have done, and are to do will be the result of what many others have done in the past.
Therefore, a life of service is about far more than just helping your fellow human, it’s about understanding that you’ll have an impact one way or another, just as so many others have impacted you, so to live a life worth living you must make it your mission to contribute positively in some way.