“I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas.” – Albert Einstein
What I find absolutely remarkable about this quote is the certainty in which it was made. Remember, the quote represents the words of Einstein as he expressed them. Now, since Einstein never took a modern IQ test, there is no way we can know for sure just how intelligent Einstein really was. As it relates to special talent, thinking in an abstract nature the way Einstein did, that is by definition, a special talent. I think this quote actually captures the essence of the humble nature of Einstein, the man.
I also believe he credited his accomplishments and achievements to his own hard work and commitment to the qualities he possessed and the values he held true in his life. He describes in the quote his commitment to the qualities of curiosity, obsession, and dogged endurance combined with self-criticism. It was after all, this unique combination described in detail, that he credited with his ability to create or come up with the ideas that many have said were a stroke of pure genius.
There are many examples throughout the history of people with modest intelligence, but a higher than normal aptitude in a specific area who have accomplished amazing things. We often attribute artists and musicians as being naturally talented and that may be true. However, it is usually their commitment, determination, persistence, and hard work that had more to do with their success, than their raw talent.
Many writers have struggled immensely and only found real success after years and years of hard work. Many of The NY Times Bestsellers as a matter of fact have other books that never received any real recognition. Some scientists work collaboratively on projects and might never gain the recognition of their colleagues and quite possibly never even receive credit for the work they have done.
It should also be understood for the sake of discussion that if you look into the background of Einstein, you will find that he credited his ability to understand things as a gift bestowed upon him by the Universe. He was committed to honoring that gift by honoring the work he engaged in with creative curiosity, obsession, and dogged determination and was quoted as saying: “Many times a day I realize how much my own life is built on the labors of my fellowmen, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” I also believe his ability to be self-critical provided a unique perspective for reviewing his efforts realistically.
Einstein did not come from the Wealthy class. He was an outsider and it appears that he was almost certainly less than privileged as a youth. He surely would have never been exposed early on to the typical group think of the Mensa class. Here is one more quote I believe captures the essence of the Einstein Enigma.
“When you examine the lives of the most influential people who have ever walked among us, you discover one thread that winds through them all. They have been aligned first with their spiritual nature and only then with their physical selves.”
Einstein believed the only life worth living was a life of service. This may have actually been his GREATEST contribution to humanity. “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” – Albert Einstein
Author: Bobby Kountz
Bobby Kountz is a former Oncology Nurse, a seasoned Oncology Sales Professional, and Personal Development Enthusiast. He is also an Inspirational Writer, Professional Speaker, Personal Development and Career Transition Coach, Dedicated Community Volunteer, Social Equality Activist, Mental Health Activist, and Loving Father and Husband.