I’m No Einstein, but …

By David Gould, President

I’ve never been accused of being an Einstein, at least not without a healthy dose of sarcasm attached to the accusation. That said, I do admire Albert’s worldly wisdom and believe his wisdom and insight can be applied to more than just physics. In that vein, I thought I’d take the opportunity to comment on a few of my favorite Einstein quotes and how they apply to search/business world.

1. I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

Confucius, was getting at the same idea when he exclaimed, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and understand.” Find opportunities for your people to gain hands on experience and they will learn to “understand”. When they understand, they can truly become masters of their craft.

In the business world, we often equate training or teaching with the presentation of a PowerPoint deck or WebEx. There’s a reason athlete’s don’t train for the big game simply by reading books and watching “how to” films. They simulate real world situations and practice.

2. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

Although this sounds similar to the first quote, the lesson here is that failure is not really failure. Formal education systems preach that there is one right way. If you don’t do it their way, you’ve failed. That attitude stifles creativity and curiosity. It makes people gun-shy. In the business world, there’s always a better way. Encouraging people to try new and innovative ideas despite the risk of failure is crucial. There is no more quick way to stagnate creativity than by condemning failure. At Resolution Media, one of our stated core values is, “not trying is worse than failing”. Nowhere is this truer than in the digital space. Those who are not afraid to try are those who continually drive this space forward.

3. If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

Ah yes, Einstein’s precursor to the KISS principal, “Keep It Simple Stupid”. How many presentations have you made or sat through that take forever to get to the point … or worse yet, never even get there. If you want to make your message stick, make it straight forward and simple. Your audience will appreciate and it will have a much greater impact. In their book Made To Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reference a successful defense attorney who says, “If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won’t remember any.” Learn to be a master of exclusion (exclude the extraneous) and, for everyone’s sake, lose the fluff.

4.Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.

Although Einstein chose to make this statement in the masculine form, it obviously applies to both genders … and, just importantly, applies to businesses as well. Believe it or not, the Beatles said the same thing, “And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.” Said another way, if you want to be valued, provide some value. Success will naturally follow.


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