By Gino Blefari
Last week, I wrote about the physical challenges leaders must face, like General Patton navigating his troops through dangerous battles.
This week, I want to talk about the mental challenges created inside our head. And who better to discuss when matters of the mind are at stake than Albert Einstein?
Einstein easily won the title of genius for both his astounding intellectual capacity and his scientific observations that have since altered our very perceptions of time and space. However, Einstein wasn’t always considered a rock star of relativity. During his early years, Einstein was the subject of much concern for his parents, who feared he might fall behind.
In the biography Einstein: His Life and Universe, author Walter Isaacson explains that as a child, Einstein developed slowly and only began to talk at the age of two. “My parents were so worried that they consulted a doctor,” Einstein said. And when he did start speaking, he would murmur his words before saying them aloud. Einstein’s younger sister, Maja, described the behavior: “No matter how routine, he repeated to himself softly, moving his lips. It was all very worrying. He had such difficulty with language that those around him feared he would never learn.”
Of course, Einstein would go on to become … well, Einstein but not before overcoming this speech difficulty, as well as the doubts of those who that had yet to experience his brilliance. Later in life, Einstein would even describe his minor speech impairment as the very thing that led him to his most famous discoveries. “I developed so slowly that I began to wonder about space and time only when I was already grown up,” he explained. The success Einstein achieved is not only a testament to the strength of his mind but also to the strength of his character that allowed him to push past any barriers and imagine, explain and achieve.
So, here is the message:
We can’t all be Einstein but we can certainly be inspired by the story of an extraordinary man who took an ordinary problem and used it to change the world.