How to Be Happy: Einstein Knew it Wasn’t in the Loot

While in Japan in 1922, not long after he had won the Nobel Prize for physics, Albert Einstein was told by a messenger that he had won some coveted prize. Einstein didn’t have any cash on hand with which to tip the messenger, so he scrawled a note on a piece of paper. From BBC News:

He … told the messenger that, if he was lucky, the notes would become valuable.
Einstein suggested in the notes that achieving a long-dreamt goal did not necessarily guarantee happiness.

The Einstein-based wisdoms didn’t end there and a couple of them ended up at auction in Jerusalem recently, selling for a combined price of $1.56 million, which was a great deal more than the original auction estimates which had been for $4000-$6000 for the note on willpower that sold for $240,000. and $5000-$8000 for the note on hotel stationary that sold for a whopping $1,560,000. That one said, in German, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

The full piece is here.

From the same BBC piece: a guide to more of Albert’s advice:

  • We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them
  • The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination
  • We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us
  • When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity

(Sources: The Yale Book of Quotations/BrainyQuote)

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