home   ·   back

Stay with it like Einstein

Stay with it like Einstein

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. — Albert Einstein

Elon Musk said in an interview that he talked about boring tunnels under LA again, and again, and again…and still nothing was happening. So, he decided to do it.

How do you gain enough conviction to start a rocket company, car company, and boring company? Or, how do you create a new revolutionary physics theory like Einstein?

I think I found an answer.

Stay with it

If you have a problem or an idea, how long do you spent thinking about it?

An idea is like a seed, planted in your mind. But if you allow your brain to be flooded by the river of new status updates, memes, and Tweets, the seed will be swept away with the current. The idea will remain forever unexplored, the problem forever unsolved.

Seed of an idea swept away by current eventsSeed of an idea swept away by current events

Avoid current events

The modern way of living has made it easier and easier to wash away the meaningful ideas by the urgent meaningless noise. The result is going to bed without a feeling of satisfaction.

Our own minds should be metaphorical Zen gardens, in which our thoughts can grow in peace and eventually bear fruit.

Mind Zen garden for ideas to growMind Zen garden for ideas to grow

To create such an oasis of calm, we have to shut out more inputs and think deeper. How? There are many ways, but here’s a few:

  • Going for a walk in nature

  • Listening to one podcast multiple times and thinking about different parts

  • Having designated time for social media

  • Reviewing and re-thinking old ideas

  • Exploring ideas in writing

Every once in a while there’s a thought that makes you go ‘huh, interesting’. That makes you stop.

Those are the thoughts that could eventually lead to a new career, a company, or a creative project. But they won’t, if they are not shielded from the current and the urgent.

Next time an idea like that comes to you, will you stay with it longer like Einstein, or will you let it be swept away?