Albert Einstein was one of the most brilliant minds that ever lived. Not only was he an outstanding scientist who revolutionized physics in a fundamental way, but he was also an influential speaker on education, social justice, and religion. He was a scientist who believed in the power of imagination and creativity, and who considered that education is a personal quest that should never end.
Let’s take a glimpse into Albert Einstein’s mind through some of his most popular quotes. His words on success, love, and justice can inspire us to live happy and meaningful lives.
1. On the Power of Imagination
Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein
Knowledge is a map that guides us while imagination is the territory where we can roam freely and search for answers and opportunities. Imagination knows no restraint and it is the power that puts knowledge to use.
2. On Nature and Knowledge
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~ Albert Einstein
Everything around us is governed by logical, complex laws which we can discover once we pay enough attention. Deep into nature, we find beauty, order, and harmony, and we find that everything is connected.
3. On Success and Value
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. ~ Albert Einstein
Success is not always correlated with value. To be a man of success often means playing by certain rules of society, not necessarily bringing real value. A man of value does not seek praise or admiration, and it is not interested in being seen as successful because he knows his real value.
4. On Education
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. ~ Albert Einstein
Most people think education stops at graduation. The truth is that real education has little to do with schooling. Once we get into the real world, we discover how little we know. Outside the school gates, we find thatwe have weaknesses which only experience and further learning can cover.
5. On Change
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein
People are victims of comforts and routine. We do the same things every day, yet expect great changes in our lives. A great change starts, however, with a small step in a new direction. When we gather the courage to act with greatness, we can expect great things to happen.
6. On Moving On
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~ Albert Einstein
Life is not always good to us. Every one of us experiences at some point feelings of sadness, distress, or disappointment. The real challenge is to move past these feelings and focus on the empty canvas that lies ahead.
7. On Logic and Imagination
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. ~ Albert Einstein
Logic and imagination don’t have to compete with each other. They both have their own purpose. Imagination is all about possibilities and opportunities, while logic is about turning possibilities into actual plans and real projects.
8. On Experience
The only source of knowledge is experience. ~ Albert Einstein
Most of the today’s learning means sharing information and theoretical knowledge. This is rarely the type of knowledge that can be applied in our day to day circumstances. Experience is the actual powerful knowledge that can give us control over our future.
9. On Respect for Truth
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein
Acting with thoughtless obedience towards authority does not mean respecting authority. Even people with authority are prone to mistakes. It is our duty to question everything that does not follow the principles of justice, truth, and kindness.
10. On Living in the Moment
A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future. ~ Albert Einstein
Worrying about future is a symptom of a miserable present, in which we cannot find peace or fulfillment. A happy person lives in the moment, free from the ties of the past or those of the future.
11. On Knowledge and Mistery
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. ~ Albert Einstein
Wanting answers for our questions is one of the most profound traits of human nature, yet sometimes having complete answers is not a viable possibility. There are many mysterious things that govern our lives and we must accept them, aware that behind that mystery are things of great beauty.
12. On Real Understanding
If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself. ~ Albert Einstein
Real knowledge is neither about complex theories and definitions nor about complicated words and abstract concepts. When we really understand something, we are able to see all its parts and look at it from a simpler, yet meaningful perspective.
13. On Learning from Mistakes
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. ~ Albert Einstein
Making mistakes is a crucial part of a learning process. Whenever we try new and difficult things, we risk making a mistake. At the same time, when we don’t try we cannot ever hope of success.
14. On Equality
I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university. ~ Albert Einstein
Treating people differently based on their race, social background, job or other criteria is a dehumanizing attitude. Our lives and jobs are interconnected in a myriad of complex ways, making each of us rely on others for everything we do. Showing respect for others is essential.
15. On Reality and Illusion
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein
What we call reality is a sum of perceptions, most of them incomplete or downright false. Each person lives within their own reality, and this reality carves their identity in a relation of interdependence. As illusory as it might be, our reality is the medium where we operate.
16. On Curiosity
I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. ~ Albert Einstein
Curiosity is the most powerful drive in life. It makes us restless and forces us to try things, to search for answers, and to accept new experiences. Being curious motivates us to act in a determined way, always walking on new paths.
17. On Failure
You never fail until you stop trying. ~ Albert Einstein
Failure does not say that a thing is impossible, but rather that that thing is difficult and someone quit too fast. We fail when we no longer have faith in our ability to succeed.
18. On Genius and Mediocrity
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. ~ Albert Einstein
Great minds are always driven by a need to change things for the better, yet most people prefer the comfort of the known rather than the instability of the unknown. Most people prefer avoiding risk altogether. However, nothing can be achieved with risk.
19. On Love
Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. ~ Albert Einstein
Most of the things in nature can be explained by a physical or biological law, yet not everything has a clear-cut definition. We can explain how the universe works, yet we cannot say why people fall in love. Some things remain governed by mysterious, yet intriguing forces.
20. On Creativity
Creativity is intelligence having fun. ~ Albert Einstein
Creativity is a form of play that can be both physical and mental. It is the ability to envision new things and the freedom to try them. Together with intelligence, creativity builds new worlds and constructs new realities. Creativity is our superpower.
21. On Doing the Right Thing
What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. ~ Albert Einstein
The popularity of an opinion does not say much about its value. As individuals, people are stronger and wiser than as groups. That is why a popular opinion is not necessarily wise or right.
22. On Trust and Responsibility
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. ~ Albert Einstein
Being loyal to a principle means standing up for it in all circumstances. We cannot compromise on our principles according to the size of the battle. When we start compromising, we can hardly recover our integrity.
23. On Finding Opportunities
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein
People who strive for the best know how to identify opportunities, aware that the most exciting opportunities are often found in obstacles and difficulties. Every bump in the road is a chance to stop and think of a better route.
24. On Imagination and Future
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. ~ Albert Einstein
Imagination allows us to envision the future, to dream about things that never existed but which could exist. It gives us wings to explore the realm of possible and impossible. By imagining the end goal of our pursuits, we are motivated to work towards them.
25. On Evolution
I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. ~ Albert Einstein
Change is not possible without renunciation. We give up parts of ourselves to replace them with something better and greater. Evolution demands sacrifice, yet it rewards us in powerful ways. Without evolving, our lives become a series of dull, repetitive actions.
26. On Love and Duty
Love is a better master than duty. ~ Albert Einstein
Love and duty are the two main forces that motivate us to act, yet they operate differently. Duty appeals to our sense of honor and responsibility, sometimes against our own will. Love, on the other side, is selfless and giving. Love gives wings to our soul.
27. On Optimism and Pessimism
I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right. ~ Albert Einstein
When we are being pessimists we are harming ourselves without realizing it. Pessimists have a negative attitude that impacts their experience of life. Optimists, on the other hand, know to enjoy the ride no matter its end.
28. On Simplicity
Out of clutter, find simplicity. ~ Albert Einstein
Simplicity is a key element in living a life of peace and harmony. Clutter is a stressful burden which we don’t recognize until we have known simplicity. Being simple does not mean being boring, but rather knowing how to distinguish between useful and useless.
29. On Limits
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. ~ Albert Einstein
Sometimes limits start from us, sometimes they surround us from outside. No matter their origin, limits need to be surpassed. We need to accept them and fight them, and only then we can move beyond their restraint.
30. On Authenticity
Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. ~ Albert Einstein
It is easy and comfortable to accept the values and beliefs of a group or society, while it is a real struggle to find our own personal voice. Learning to see with our eyes is a process of awakening that turns us into well-rounded people.
31. On Intuition
The only real valuable thing is intuition. ~ Albert Einstein
Intuition is the sixth sense that guides through life. It is both the call of our heart and the voice of our innermost self. Intuition is beyond reason and it can help us in moments when reason cannot.