Several months ago, I had the opportunity to watch the A&E series about the life of Albert Einstein. It was a fascinating view into the mind of a brilliant man. Make no mistake, he had his flaws from both a social & relational perspective. But when you look at his curiosity and insatiable desire to understand why things behaved the way they did, you can’t help but think there might be something to be learned from him.
Coincidentally, I starting seeing articles/posts pop up in various places about Albert Einstein … and as I’ve stated, pay attention when coincidences converge. Here are a few thoughts related to Einstein, leadership, and other random topics.
Spend time to think
Einstein was a deep thinker. He spent time exploring the possibilities behind the many why questions he asked. Recently, studies have revealed the benefits of allowing the mind to wander finding it can lead to better productivity when dealing with complex problems or coming up with creative solutions and ideas.
This topic has become increasingly important to me as my career progresses. I first posted about the idea of being intentional about taking time to think three years ago, but the context is timeless, and this excerpt and worth revisiting:
All too often our days begin with meetings (especially if you have offices you interact with in varying time zones or halfway around the world), or fire drills (often with schedule delays or customer issues), or with job responsibilities (focusing on the many deliverables expected of us) or even with employee issues for those who manage people. And while these tactical/operational elements of our jobs are important and often necessary, all too often they consume our mind share and energy to the point we sacrifice the strategic.
Courage, Perseverance, and Humility
Search my blog, and you’ll find plenty of posts relating to these qualities. Being an effective Product Management leader means you will inevitably be confronted with situations where you will have to demonstrate:
- courage to champion a vision others simply cannot see. Einstein faced this with his special relativity theories which flew in the face of thinking at the time. But the fact others couldn’t see his vision didn’t make his theories any less true
- perseverance to continue amidst the rejections, setbacks, and failures. Einstein’s peers thwarted his efforts continuously, World War 1 interrupted his first attempt to use a solar eclipse to prove his theory … suffice it to say none of his successes came easily
- humility to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. Humility simply requires us to think of our abilities and actions as no greater, and no lesser, than they really are. This was a quality Einstein had to develop over time, but these quotes attributed to him say it best … “what I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility … A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.“
Einstein & Leaders
I really liked this article focused on 10 Traits Entrepreneurs and Einstein Share. Read it for yourself, but here are a few snippets:
- Imagination. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
- Always questioning. “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
- Strong positive attitude. “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
- Willingness to try new things–and fail. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
- Maintaining balance. “If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x, y is play and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
And I really can’t conclude this post about the topic of “genius” without sharing a view into my childhood … and the inspiration for the title of the post. Enjoy 🙂