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10 Learning Habits That Make Einstein the Smartest Person in the World

10 Learning Habits That Make Einstein the Smartest Person in the World

Contrary to popular belief, Albert Einstein was a great student and a brilliant individual from the day he was born. There have been rumors that he was a poor student, especially in math, but this has been corrected as of late. While the untrue rumor may have inspired many people to keep going, despite poor grades, just because it was untrue doesn’t mean you can’t still learn something from the brilliant man. But genius does not mean super-human, and Einstein himself had to figure out his own learning style. The following 10 learning habits of Einstein may give you and I some inspiration of how to make our learning more effective.

10 Einstein-Inspired Learning Habits That Are Worth Adopting

Constantly Question Everything

When you’re taught something, don’t write it down, accept it as fact and regurgitate it out the same way later. Instead, do as Einstein did and really delve into it. If you don’t ask questions, are you really learning?

Allow your thoughts to wander

Einstein knew he did some of his best thinking while day-dreaming and letting his thoughts drift. When you feel stuck, especially when writing a paper or drafting a proposal, allow yourself to lose focus and let your mind go somewhere else.[1]

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Have well-rounded interests

Einstein played the violin, kept a pretty fascinating social life, and studied nonstop. For some of you, this may seem overwhelming, but remember it’s important to be versatile when it comes to your interests and hobbies. You learn so much just by being interested in a multitude of things. It’s also a great way to give yourself a break from one subject when it starts to overwhelm you; having the ability to go back and forth can help inspire you when you feel stuck.

Figure out how you learn best

Einstein actually had friends take notes for him in class while he was out reading about physics and math. While you shouldn’t expect permission to skip class in order to do something else, it’s still a unique concept: Once you understand how you retain information best, you can adjust your habits and perhaps even your school schedule to best fit your needs.

Surround yourself with brilliant, educated people

Like everything in life, it’s easiest to be inspired to do something when you surround yourself with people who are especially good at that thing. When it comes to education and learning, do as Einstein did and surround yourself with mentors, teachers, and generally inspiring people. And if you feel that your personal life is lacking educated people like that, pick up some books on a smart individual and study their writing and research.

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Find your learning faith

Einstein was practically religious about discipline and question-asking. He decided that when you applied these things to education, you could learn more about phenomena. This greatly impacted his opinion on actual religion, but it’s a great concept for general studies, too.

Think for yourself

In today’s world, we get so caught up in other peoples’ opinions. We think everything we do, right down to the coffee we drink, is important and should be documented so other people can see it. We then base our self-worth on how popular the image of our coffee is! Do you think Einstein would be compulsively checking his social media platforms? No way. Don’t get caught up in what other people think or say. For Einstein, he was very suspicious of educational authority and constantly questioned the things he was being taught. Don’t make arguing with your professors a habit, but do develop a habit of thinking for yourself and in the real world, not the filtered, social media one. When you have a true interest in what you are learning, the education becomes second-nature.

Don’t give in to drama

Einstein was never concerned with, well, any of the events going on around him! If they weren’t directly interesting to him, he pretty much left them alone. As a disclaimer, I’m not recommending you become a hermit and only leave your house if it serves you in a selfish way, but I am saying to follow Einstein’s example and not get caught up in the drama that can so often surround you.

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Never doubt your intuition

Einstein said, “The only real valuable thing is intuition,”[2] and he’s right. While we are all familiar with how paranoid that little voice in our head can be, for the most part, he/she always has our best interest at heart. Follow your instincts and don’t be so hard on yourself. When it comes to learning, you know what you need to do to succeed. There’s a legendary story about Einstein and his father. Supposedly, when he was just five years old, Einstein was given a compass by his father. Einstein was so fascinated by the science of the thing that he instantly became addicted to knowledge.

Be open to failure and take initiative

When it comes to learning, you have to be open to, and expecting, failure. It would be detrimental to assume everything in life will turn out perfectly. Your success in education is no different. Yes, sometimes you are going to fail and fail miserably, but it will make all the times you succeed greatly that much more rewarding. The possibility of failure shouldn’t keep you from taking initiative and making your own decisions. Einstein found his learning building blocks through academics, but he relied on his own decision-making when it came to reading and studying.

You can be brilliant when you learn in the right way

Don’t ever let yourself forget that you are a brilliant individual. Regardless of your grades or how frustrating attaining knowledge can be, the most important things in life cannot be learned. Learning and education are so incredibly important and a wonderful gift to have, but I will leave you with the words Einstein looked at every day on a sign that hung in his office:

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“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Reference

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Heather Poole

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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