The Einstein Way

It’s not that I am so smart; it’s just that I stay with the problems longer.

–Albert Einstein

That is the statement of a man who gets it.

Now I know you’re thinking that Einstein would be SO excited that I agreed with him, but seriously, let’s think about what he is saying for a minute.  It is well known that there were several individuals during Einstein’s time that were close to the Theory of Relativity.  One of the reasons Einstein discovered relativity before any of the others was that Einstein continued to come back to the problem with curiosity rather than frustration.

Obviously, Einstein was smart.  But interestingly, it was not his “smarts” to which he attributed the discovery of relativity.  It was his perseverance.

Think about your experience with life: if you have walked this land for enough time to be reading this blog, you have seen some individuals accomplish more than you would have guessed they could.  I am thinking about acquaintances of mine from high school who were somewhat awkward and were never consistently on the dean’s list, but now have a LinkedIn profile that would send any Ivy League alumnus into a fit of envy.  I am thinking of the friend who went to work instead of college because he had to and now is at the top of many net-worth lists.  These did not accomplish great things because they thought they were smart.  It was because they thought they were not smart that they put their heads down worked longer.

They stayed with problems.  A little bit at a time.


In the epic struggle between Excellence vs. Ambition, excellence wins. Even if it were not more effective, excellence wins just by the mere fact that ambition requires the extra step of taking one’s focus off himself and placing it onto tools that actually accomplish the ambition – habits and actions.

Excellence already resides squarely in the community of habits and actions since excellence is the balance of two components: speed + detail.

Excellence keeps us on the right road and will take us further than ambition.