What Albert Einstein can Teach us About The Power of Imperfect Moments

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.” ~Proverb

Annus mirabilis is a Latin phrase that means wonderful, miraculous or amazing year. Scientists refer to 1905 as Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis. This was the year that Einstein published four scientific papers that would go on to set the stage for modern physics by documenting findings that would greatly influence the understanding of time, space, mass and energy. It also the year that Einstein obtained his doctorate after submitting his thesis.

The default thinking when one hears of such an accomplishment is that the individual found their perfect window of time and opportunity within which to work. In addition, they must have been working in collaboration with like-minded peers. For some, this might be true. For many, it is never the case. For Einstein, it certainly was not.

Einstein always wanted to be a teacher of the sciences. However, as a result of not fitting into the mold of a preferred student, he found himself struggling to find the type of work he wanted after he graduated.

Jeff Bezos said that “Complaining isn’t a strategy. You have to work with the world as you find it, not as you would have it be.” That is exactly what Einstein did. When landing his dream job proved unsuccessful, he worked with what the world was offering.

He allowed for what outwardly appeared to be an imperfect moment. He took a job as a patent examiner. His days were spent reviewing patent applications, executing art searches and advising applicants on whether their inventions would receive a patent. The job called for an eight-hour day and a six-day work week.

His job was unquestionably imperfect when you line it up against a job he would rather be doing – teaching science. However, he did not let that fact deter him. He had identified his purpose and he was determined to stay true to it all while honoring the demands of his current job.

Einstein found his way to academia eventually. When the accolades for his work started pouring in and he was awarded the Nobel prize, it was not for the work he was currently involved in, but for the work he produced in his annus mirabilis.

2 Great Lessons from Einstein’s time as a Patent Examiner

1. If it is important to you, you must find the time to make sure it gets done.

“It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.” ~ Unknown

In a biography written by his son-in-law, Rudolf Kayser, it is said, with regards to Einstein finding the time to work on his thesis and the four papers that,“ he soon discovered that he could find time to devote to his own scientific studies if he did his work in less time.” 

What is your purpose? What do you want to achieve in and with your life? Once you figure what it is, you must go in search of the time to make your purpose come to life. You should never allow waiting to become a habit.

2. Great people always do good work regardless of what the work is.

“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Even though he aimed to do his work in less time, Einstein did not half-ass it. He applied the same level of commitment and excellence to it as he would have to his scientific pursuits.

As a result, he excelled as a patent officer and not only got promoted but when he submitted his resignation, his boss indicated that his departure was a great loss to the patent office.

The job you hate. The imperfect moment that you find yourself in is teaching you something. The lesson could be as simple as patience or a work ethic or as challenging as time management, resilience or persistence.

Doing poor work is a waste of your time. Not only does poor work consume time in the execution of the tasks that it requires but it also steals creative energies. All work is worth doing well if only to allow for time to do even better work.

That ‘imperfect’ job you currently have is allowing you to take care of what would undoubtedly cause you stress. Things like paying your electricity and water bills. Feeding you and your family if you have one. Paying for lessons to gain skills that would make you better at what you ultimately want to do.

You may argue that Einstein was lucky but what is luck? Is it not simply an engineered construct of preparation meeting opportunity?

Are you waiting for the perfect moment? The perfect job to produce your best work? You have only one life. Life doesn’t wait and perfection always comes at a cost. Are you sure you can afford it?

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3 Ways to Become Unlucky

1. Don’t do the work that needs to be done.

2. Do everything related to doing the work that is not the work itself.

3. Do everything related to doing the work that postpones you having to do the work that needs to be done.

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7 Ways To Make Your Own Luck

1. Do the work.

2. Do the right work.

3. Do deep work.

4. Do focused work.

5. Do purposeful work.

6. Do consistent work.

7. Do the hard work.

My brother is one of the most hard working doctors that I know. His level of commitment has caused concern among many, family included. However, when he is able to accurately diagnose a patient within seconds of them walking into the clinic, making him the most sort after doctor in the area, we are quick to point out how lucky he is. He most certainly is. By way of consistent hard work.

At this point, you might be saying. “No way, it can’t be that simple.”Oh, but it is.

What you’re silently objecting to is not the simplicity of it all. We are all in favor of that. What caused your heart to drop into the pit of your stomach is that the type of work being called for has been put, by many, on the endangered skill list.

Very few people are willing to do the kind of work it takes to live the kind of life they want.

It’s the reason why you clicked on this post that glittered with the promise of only 7 ways needed to create one’s own luck. It’s also the reason why this post is my most popular.

We all want a version of a rabbit’s foot, a horseshoe or a four-leaf clover.

Not Easy but Not Impossible

The “luckiest” among us have taken work off the endangered skill list and thrown it into the mix creating an assemblage of individuals who are living exactly the life that they want. We all know these folks by name.

These people have opted not to live in the shallows and major in minor things, but to dive deep into focused purposeful work.

Never be discouraged. Even when faced with an uneven playing field. Stay your focus because your work ethic will level the playing field. Julius Yego is proof of that.

7, 77 or 7 Million

No matter how you slice it. Be it 7 ways, 77 ways or 7 million ways, luck is rarely something you get or stumble upon. Luck is something you earn by showing up and doing the specific work required to get to the point where it appears that you are the ‘luckiest’ one around.

So figure out what you want. Make a plan. Put your head down. Stretch beyond what is normal, every day, and make your own luck.

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The Most Important Gift You Can Give Yourself

Say yes to your life!

You woke up today so your story is not done yet. Seize the hope that is present in every waking moment and let it drive your greatest effort. Develop the courage to step into your fears. Acknowledge your dreams for only you can dream them. Only you hold the key to their manifestation. Believe with the faith of a mustard seed that what you have to offer is of value.

Quit asking for permission to be who, only you can be. Quit asking for permission to rise up to your true worth. Quit asking for permission to make a difference. Quit asking for permission to make something happen.

Quit making excuses. Every excuse you make is a nail in your coffin. Quit waiting for a knight in shining armor. He/She has never existed. Say yes to your life and become your own hero.

Know what you want. Confirm it every morning. Set your intentions and go after it. Go all in. Give up your time. Give up your comfort. Give up anything standing in the way of your purpose. Leave everything on the floor. At the end of each day, go to bed knowing that you did everything you had to do, to get one step closer.

This is your life. Stop waiting to be picked.

Choose yourself. Say yes to your life.

Start today!

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4 Questions Your Boss Should Ask You


Unless your title is the Chief Happiness Officer please don’t ask me if I am happy. I will think its a trick question and I will lie through my teeth. I mean seriously who comes to work to be happy.

If you are really interested in knowing how I am doing or better yet if you don’t want to be lied to, ask me these questions instead.

1. Do you feel inspired?

2. Do you feel respected?

3. Are you growing?

4. Do you feel like your contributing to the bigger picture?

Happiness is a state of being. I can be as happy as a bee sitting in pollen, and be completely unfulfilled at work. Where’s the fun in that.

Human beings crave belonging. To be part of something. It’s a basic need. So all you great and wannabe be great bosses out there, don’t wait for your employees to begin to “give up” on their jobs. Engage with them and open up a dialogue.

Clue your teams into the big picture. Make sure they know where their contributions fit into the grand scheme of things. Challenge them to colour outside the lines of their job descriptions. Inspire ‘uncomfortability’. Inspiration is energizing and engaging and it’s wonderful for maintaining focus. And when they have something to say, hear them out, with the utmost respect.

Yes, there will always be outliers. Those who want to come in and complete their job descriptions tasks to the letter. Not rock the boat and punch out as soon as its quitting time. This post is not for them.  This is for those chomping at the bit to make a true difference.

And just in case your boss doesn’t read this post, ask yourself the above questions and course correct as needed. In my observation, it’s a lot easier to make your current job great than to find a great job.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”              ~ Steve Jobs ~