Use Einstein’s Educational Philosophy to Boost Your Learning

The Mission News: October 25, 2017

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein

Last week, we discussed Leonardo da Vinci’s self-education and techniques for subject mastery. This week, we’d like to focus on another impressive innovator: Albert Einstein.

There are many myths about Einstein’s educational background. Although it’s often been claimed that he performed poorly in school (particularly in the areas of mathematics and the sciences), the truth is that he actually did very well and was years ahead of his peers. In fact, by the age of 15, Einstein had already taught himself calculus. Despite early academic successes, he did face trouble in his university years when he consistently sacrificed class time to work in the lab.

Although he overall did well in school, Einstein was skeptical of the schooling system and strongly disliked academia’s restrictions on learning. Here are 10 things we can learn from Albert Einstein about school and education:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

1. Only unconventional solutions will solve problems created by conventional thinking.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

2. Schooling should provide the means for a child to embrace his natural interests and pursue his chosen passions.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

3. Einstein skipped class to work in the lab. Don’t let your true interests and desires take a backseat for school work.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

4. Don’t let fear of failing prevent you from trying something new. You will likely make mistakes, but that’s part of the process of learning.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

5. Putting yourself in a position where you teach or help others may feel burdensome, but it will help you better your own understanding.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

6. Imagination is creative curiosity. Don’t just seek to understand what currently exists, seek to create what does not.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

7. Never stop learning.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

8. Never stop questioning.

“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.”

9. Don’t become so concerned with consumption that you forget to create, and if you must consume, then consume with a purpose.

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

10. All great innovators, creators, and learners share one unifying trait: curiosity. Embracing your innate curiosity can take you much further than a ‘special talent.’


News that matters

➜ Einstein’s ‘theory for happiness’ sold for $1.3 million in a Jerusalem auction two days ago. In German, Einstein’s short note states:

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”



What we’re watching

Einstein’s miracle year — Larry Lagerstrom

In one year, Einstein published four world-changing essays. This quick video covers these theories, Einstein’s educational background, and his impact on our worldly understanding.



Originally published on our M-F Newsletter.

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