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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

More by this author

Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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