The Time a Genius Followed Me

And the realizations that ensued

I’m going to share a recent story with you regarding how one of the greatest minds of all time followed me around until I got his point. I recognize how one could think I am exaggerating, and maybe they’d be right. I’ll let you be the judge.

It all started during a recent and chaotic time for me. I was doing the normal mental dance of deciding between pushing to control or restraining to allow when I noticed this guy everywhere.

Albert Einstein; Photograph by Orren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I started seeing Einstein’s name in random, unrelated books and articles. If I were watching a movie or a TV show, Einstein was bound to be mentioned. Even as I was reading the local weekly newspaper, there was Einstein. It was pretty spooky.

I took the hint and decided to look more into good ole Al. In my search, I found a book entitled “The World As I See It”, a curated collection of Einstein’s essays, letters, and talks. After reviewing the table of contents I was sold.

I read my way through his thoughts on “The Meaning of Life”, “Good and Evil”, and “Wealth”. I then came upon a letter Einstein wrote which triggered my need to know more about him as a person. I did a bit more research in this regard and THAT is where the magic happened.

In my search, I learned that as a young man Einstein wasn’t on track to what we’d call success. He was a poor student (Yeah, a genius that did poorly in school. Go figure). He struggled to find work. (Yes, Einstein was turned down for work, repeatedly!) He took a job as an examiner at the patent office, a post that many of us would think beneath the great mind we know of today. (Yeah, Einstein took a crappy gig. Who know?)

The thing is, from what I’ve read, I don’t think any of these qualities which we today would consider negative really bothered Einstein. He certainly didn’t let them hold him back. Working his “unsuccessful job” he still gave his attentions to his life long passions; Physics and Math. While working at the patent office, he continued to push his work forward enough to get published in a Swiss scientific journal.

Once he was published his genius was recognized, but recognition and wealth, these were never success for Einstein. In fact, in the aforementioned book I read this quote about him. “He has always been, and remains, genuinely indifferent to wealth and fame and the other prizes so dear to ambition.”

Take this all in for a second. One of the most well known people in history didn’t do well in school, floundered in his profession, didn’t strive for recognition nor wealth. He just really, really liked his past times and pursued them to some pretty awesome ends.

As I processed this, I couldn’t help but be inspired. I saw the frivolity of my mental struggles, my embarrassments, my guilts. I realized it doesn’t matter what I, or any of us, strive to do in this world if we aren’t passionate about doing it. It also doesn’t matter if and how many times we stumble or fall along the way, if we’re enjoying ourselves. This is not just a cliche… Einstein is the example!

So you can see the Einstein of the world beyond WAS trying to tell me something. My translation of this message?

It’s time I refrained from trying so damn hard and caring so damn much about those things that don’t bring me joy!

Without Al following me about, I wouldn’t have his example to reflect on. Without his example I’m not sure I’d have the courage to keep walking.

Thanks for following me, Al. I’m forever grateful.


Find out more about me at www.elisabethhubert.com.

The Lis Experiment

Stories, field notes, and interviews from an attempt to architect my best life.

Lis Hubert

Written by

Independent Information Architect, Co-Host @adriftonpurpose, all around good person… sometimes. www.elisabethhubert.com

The Lis Experiment

Stories, field notes, and interviews from an attempt to architect my best life.