Whenever the word ‘genius’ comes up, we think of Albert Einstein.
Arguably the most influential scientist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist who is best known for his work on the theory of relativity and his equation E = mc2. Born in Württemberg, Germany on March 14, 1879, he spent much of his early life in Munich. He received his primary and secondary education in Luitpold Gymnasium (now known as Albert Einstein Academy) and received his PhD from the ETH University in Zurich.
Contrary to popular belief, Albert Einstein displayed a brilliance for Mathematics and Physics from a very early age. By the time he was twelve, he had taught himself algebra and Euclidean geometry. Einstein also began teaching himself calculus when he was twelve and claimed to have mastered integral and differential calculus by his fifteenth birthday. He did however clash with the authorities of his school because he found the academic regimen unstimulating and far too rigid.
In 1921, Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of photoelectric effect. Being Jewish, he came to settle in the United States of America after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 – becoming an American citizen in 1940.
Although Albert Einstein initially endorsed the research of new weapons by the USA, he later denounced the use of nuclear fission as a weapon once it was made feasible by the Manhattan Project. He believed nuclear weapons to be inhumane and a sure-way to mutually assured destruction. Einstein was also strongly against nationalism and racism in all forms. In 1999, Time magazine named him the person of the century.
Today, Albert Einstein has become a cultural icon. His words carried a deep understanding of humanity and the world. They were filled with lessons that we can apply to our lives even today. In honor of one of the most brilliant minds in history, here are some Albert Einstein quotes to get you thinking.
44 best Albert Einstein quotes on attitude and success
1. “A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.”
The future is unforeseeable. Worrying about it brings us nothing but anxieties. Instead of worrying, we should try to find happiness living in the moment.
2. “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
We as human beings have a bad habit of following orders without thought. An experiment by psychologist Stanley Milgram discovered that most people when ordered by a figure of authority would fatally electrocute another human being without question. Albert Einstein too, running from a Nazi Germany, had the misfortune of seeing his own countrymen blindly follow an evil leader.
Reflect on society and its rules. Take an active interest in politics and try to be aware of what your government is up to. Question your leaders when you believe their behavior to be unacceptable. Believe it or not, every person that watches out for injustice is a hero.
3. “Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But I do not doubt that the lion belongs to it even though he cannot at once reveal himself because of his enormous size.”
Our goals may appear unachievable at times. But do not let that demotivate you. Take small strides and achieve small victories. Eventually they will snowball into success. Take your time but always the bigger picture in mind.
4. “It’s convenient with that fellow Einstein, every year he retracts what he wrote the year before.”
There is nothing wrong with being wrong. Even geniuses like Albert Einstein occasionally make blunders. Always keep an open mind and admit your mistakes. It not only keeps you from being toxic but also helps you grow as an individual.
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5. “Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens.”
Accepting things because they provide an easy solution only harms us in the long term. Take abusive relationships for example. People in long term destructive relationships often sacrifice their mental health and freedom for the false sense of comfort and companionship the relationship provides.
Try to keep your sights on the long term. Know that you are an individual and only you have complete power over yourself and your choices.
6. “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”
Technology is convenient and a blessing to us all. But it can also be used against you. The recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal has only made it more apparent. Always be aware of how you use technology and pay attention to things like cyber security. Keep yourself safe from those who would use a wonderful thing to do you harm.
7. “If my theory of relativity is proven correct, Germany will claim me as a German and France will say I am a man of the world. If it’s proven wrong, France will say I am a German and Germany will say I am a Jew.”
People are fickle. When you are successful, everyone will want to be associated with you. But when you fail, they are quick to ridicule and disown you. Pay careful attention to the people you have surrounded yourself with. Filter out the fake people in your life because they do nothing but drain you.
8. “The state of mind which enables a man to do his work must be akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.”
If you are not passionate about the things you do, you will never reach greatness. It does not matter even if you have all the skills necessary to complete your work. Without passion, the results will always be mediocre. Find what excites you and put all your energy into it. Not only will you love what you do, the results will always be stellar.
9. “There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them.”
Experience is often the best teacher. We won’t always find the solution to our problems by reading a book or by listening to other people’s advice. Find your inner explorer and do not be afraid of making mistakes. Because sometimes playing it by the ear is the only way for you to reach a higher level of understanding.
10. “When a man after long years of searching chances on a thought which discloses something of the beauty of this mysterious universe, he should not therefore be personally celebrated. He is already sufficiently paid by his experience of seeking and finding.”
We as human beings have become conditioned to expect rewards or punishments for our actions. Even video game companies have begun exploiting this weakness to encourage gaming addictions.
But everything you do does not have to be about gaining recognition or rewards. Learn to love doing things for the joy of the experience rather than for the end results. Life will be much more fulfilling if you do.
11. “Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use.”
Your life is how you see it. It’s really that simple. For instance, if we keep a pessimistic view of things and only focus on our flaws, life will feel bleak and dreadful. But if we keep a positive attitude and celebrate our strengths, then life in turn will feel like an amazing experience. Of course, not all problems disappear just because we try and be positive all the time. But a change of perspective does reduce unnecessary stress and anxieties.
12. “If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
Be mindful of your words. The wise rarely speak unnecessarily because they understand that words are often more hurtful and damaging than physical wounds. This has become especially true with the growing influence of social media in our lives. Remember: wounds on the body heal with time but words linger on in the mind (and on the web).
13. “Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.”
Learn to identify what is important in your life and what isn’t. Do not waste your time and efforts chasing after things that add nothing of value to your life. Your life is too precious for that.
14. “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I cannot tell if I would have done any creative work of importance in music, but I do know that I get most joy in life out of my violin.”
Your happiness and mental well-being are more important than success. Pursue vocations, not ‘jobs’. Do not sacrifice long-term satisfaction for shallow achievements or recognition!
15. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Knowledge is a limited thing. There is no point to it if we lack the imagination to apply it. Without imagination, we are no different from inanimate objects! So, expand yourself with knowledge but try to experiment and apply whatever you learn creatively. Not only will your life be more colorful, you may also discover things that you never imagined to be possible!
16. “Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and so try to test his ideas on reality.”
You might have the most brilliant story in your mind. But it does not matter how good it is if you do not write it down! And this applies to every idea or plan you have. There is no point in having good ideas if all they do is sit inside your mind.
17. “I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings.”
We are all unique individuals. And that is wonderful. Do not change yourself just to fit in. And don’t be afraid of those who are different from you. Instead, embrace the fact that every human being is different. Because a world where everyone is the same would be awful and dull.
18. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Life can be cruel at times. Sometimes it will disappoint you. Hardships are a natural part of human life. But if we let that stop us, we will quickly fall into a vicious cycle of negativity. Slow down if you must but never stop moving forward. After all, success might just be around the next corner!
19. “I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality.”
Everything we think or do has consequences. Although often it is not apparent to us, we are constantly affecting ourselves and those around us with our actions and attitude. It is why we should pay more attention to how we behave. Try to remain respectful and considerate of others. Remember that we are all connected and your every action helps change the world – for better or for worse!
20. “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
The future is unpredictable. It is beyond our control. So, stop worrying about it. You only invite anxiety and stress by agonizing over it. Don’t worry about what may happen in the future and start making things happen in the present!
21. “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
Be excellent to others. Generosity and charity not only help make the world a better place, it also makes your life more meaningful.
22. “Force always attracts men of low morality.”
Using force to solve a problem often feels like the other option. But remember that only bullies would ever choose to use violence to settle their differences. Be wary of these people and take care to not become like them.
23. “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.”
Most of us have heard the tale of how Isaac Newton came up with the theory of gravitation after seeing an apple fall to the ground from a tree. Or how Archimedes found inspiration for the Archimedes principle while taking a bath. It all goes to prove the point that inspiration can be found all around us. Let your imagination run wild and wake the inner genius in you.
24. “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
How we react is largely dependent on how we view an event. It is our attitudes towards life that plays the biggest role in our success and happiness. People with positive attitudes are always enjoying life and finding success more than people who are pessimistic and negative.
25. “Be independent of the opinion of others.”
No matter how well you do in life, there will always be some people who will have a terrible opinion of you. Even a genius like Albert Einstein had his fair share of critics. Ignore these people if you cannot agree with them. You are the only person whose opinion should matter to you.
26. “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
Don’t take the things you have at your disposal for granted. Every item that surrounds us was created by the hard work of others. In fact, we should try and pay it forward by actively trying to make the world a better place. If not, the least we can do is be grateful for everything in our lives.
27. “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Instead, embrace it wholeheartedly. The unknown is a thing of beauty – a source that artists and geniuses tap into for inspiration.
28. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
Human beings are vulnerable to feeling envious. And envy is most often expressed with violence. Protect yourself from people who would like to do you harm just because you are more successful than they are. Remember that the higher you reach, the more people there will be trying to drag you down.
29. “Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem—in my opinion—to characterize our age.”
Often, we pay so much attention to the means that we forget what is truly important to us. For instance, what is the point of earning money if you are going to jeopardize your health for it? Take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Always pay attention to why you are working instead of how.
30. “It is easier to denature plutonium than it is to denature the evil spirit of man.”
One of the worst misconceptions we have is believe that we can change the toxic people in our lives – especially when it comes to relationships. The truth is we can’t. Accept that you cannot change anyone but yourself and cut out the toxic people in your life. It is a difficult process but far more rewarding than you can imagine.
31. “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”
Your conscience knows what is wrong and what is right. People can be extremely manipulative but they cannot trick that tiny voice in the back of their head. Learn to listen to it and trust it.
32. “The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.”
Those who cannot see the value of life lack the ability to enjoy it. Celebrate life and the fact that you exist. Loving life in all forms is one of the most positive of changes you can bring into your life.
33. “The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”
There is a stark difference between putting yourself first and being selfish. The former invites happiness in your life whereas the latter leaves you vulnerable to negativity. Learn to reflect on yourself objectively. It will help you identify your negatives and improve yourself.
34. “The individual, if left alone from birth would remain primitive and beast-like in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly conceive.”
Human beings are by nature social animals. In fact, shutting out other people from our lives is self-destructive. Reach out to other people – an old friend perhaps or someone you find interesting. Connecting to others is not only important for your mental well-being, it also helps expand your views and knowledge about the world.
35. “Money only appeals to selfishness and always tempts its owners irresistibly to abuse it.”
Wealth is never evil by itself. But when we do have money, a lot of options suddenly become available to us. And that is when we find ourselves being tested. Do not give in to that temptation if you find yourself in that position. It is scary how easily money can corrupt even the best of people!
36. “Somebody who reads only newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors appears to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses.”
If you limit yourself to only a select few sources for knowledge, you limit your ability for growth. Listen to alternate ideas and thoughts. Learn from even the people you do not agree with. By choosing not to explore everything available to you, you only imprison your own mind.
37. “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil than from those who actually commit it.”
Apathy is dangerous. It is an attitude that we must actively do our best to abandon. Especially when we consider the fact that many tragedies throughout history could have been avoided if good people had chosen to act.
38. “Invention is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure.”
Do not dismiss your ideas just because they seem ‘stupid’ or ‘illogical’. You can’t always associate creating something new with logic. Remember: every great invention was once a foolish idea!
39. “The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
Contrary to popular belief, curiosity did not kill the cat. Ignorance did! Albert Einstein was the staunchest supporter of curiosity – even calling it ‘holy’. Question everything you do not understand and constantly reevaluate the things you do. Only the curious dare – and only the daring prosper!
40. “Hail to the man who went through life always helping others, knowing no fear, and to whom aggressiveness and resentment are alien.”
Having positive role models is crucial for self-improvement. They motivate us to overcome obstacles and influence our behavior. Learn from your own positive role models and let their lives ignite your passion.
41. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.”
When you attach your happiness to people or objects, you put yourself at risk. People and objects are temporary and can disappear from your life. Tie your happiness to your goals instead. It will remove the fear of loss in your life and your entire process of self-improvement much more exciting too!
42. “The most important tool of the theoretical physicist is his wastebasket.”
Do not let your failures demotivate you. Success can only be achieved through the difficult process of trial and error. That is the way in which brilliant scientists like Albert Einstein have made their discoveries since time immemorial. Instead, think of your failures as opportunities to learn and improve yourself.
43. “What a betrayal of man’s dignity. He uses the highest gift, his mind, only ten percent, and his emotions ninety percent.”
We have all said or done something on an impulse that we regretted immediately. And often our words and actions have irreversible consequences. So, it is important for us to always take a moment to think before we act. Do not let your emotions blind you. It is better to spend a few minutes considering our course of action than to spend the rest of our lives in regret.
44. “Anonymity is no excuse for stupidity.”
This is perhaps the most relevant of all quotes in the age of social media. Although internet anonymity is a good thing, few despicable people misuse this gift by using it to become internet trolls. Anonymity is not an excuse for cyberbullying or harassment. And we should pay special attention to remain as civil on the internet as we are in real life.
Albert Einstein passed away on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey.
A pioneer in the field of modern physics and quantum theory, Albert Einstein remains one of the most renowned individuals to have ever graced this world. Wise and creative, he was fascinated with the mysteries of the world – almost childlike in his curiosity. He left the world with a legacy that still inspires new generations of thinkers by changing the way we look upon the world on a fundamental level.
Albert Einstein may not be among us anymore but his spirit will live on forever through his numerous contributions to the world.
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