Einstein’s ‘Theory of Happiness’.
What’s the first word come to your mind after hearing the name Albert Einstein?
Genius, Great Physicist, the epitome of intellect, theory of Relativity or whatever. But do you know the man who discovered many mysteries of the Universe also gave a theory about well being of humans? A topic which is probably more relative than the theory of relativity is ‘happiness for humans’. There are tons of scientific studies about what really makes human happy. But there is no single answer. Probably this is the most mysterious thing about the most superior creature on the earth. While on one side we are busy in finding the mysteries of our universe (or multiverse) we have no absolute answer about our own enigmas.
What really makes human happy and satisfied?
There are some great scientific studies, books, articles about this. From ancient time many philosophers had given their own interpretations about happiness. With such a vast number of studies, we today know there are some factors which contribute majorly to the happiness level of a human. However, the most surprising thing is there is no single answer to this question. There is no absolute answer to this. From Maslow’s law of hierarchy to Martin Seligman’s studies, every great study digs out something about human well being.
But Probably very few people know Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds on the planet also put up his ‘theory of human happiness’. And there is a story behind this. Who doesn’t like stories, the story goes like this- It was October month in 1922, Einstein just heard about the announcement of his Noble Prize winning. For delivering a series of lectures he was on a tour of Japan. Einstein received a great welcome in Japan. People gathered in thousands to get a glimpse of him. One fine day Einstein was resting in a hotel in Tokyo. A bellboy came to his room to deliver something. Either Einstein didn’t have any small change to give the bellboy or the bellboy refused to take any tip. But Einstein didn’t want him to go empty hand. So he gave him a handwritten message and told him if he was lucky, the notes might become more valuable than a regular tip. And guess what Einstein was correct. The price of that handwritten message is USD 1.3 million dollars. In the year 2017, in an auction in Jerusalem that handwritten message sold for USD 1.3 million dollars (9,62,84,500.00 in Indian Rupees).
So what was written in that piece of paper?
The words written in that paper were
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the constant pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness”
The lines sound great but what’s surprising is Einstein’s own life was always in pursuit of success of revealing the universe mysteries. Moreover, does he meant we should not run behind our goals continuously. But most of the people are taught from childhood to have goals, to pursue them.
Psychology says, Often best pieces of advice come from people who suffer most. Einstein’s whole life was devoted to finding the intellectually revolutionary pursuits. His personal life was never at ease. He married twice, to Mileva Maric from 1903 until 1919 and to his cousin Elsa from 1919 until her death in 1936. Both her marriages were miserable. In fact, in order to avoid the divorce with his first wife, he put few conditions before her like, he expected her to serve him three meals a day in his room but not expect any intimacy in return. In one of his letter, Einstein wrote- ‘I treat my wife as an employee whom I cannot fire. I have my own bedroom and avoid being alone with her.’ As a father also he was never able to give his attention to his children. The man who showed the world how gravity works by his ‘theory of relativity’ (which further helped to understand blackhole, gravitational waves and many more) once said to her second wife- ‘ Soon I’ll be fed up with the relativity. Even such a thing fades away when one is too involved with it …’.
So, what’s wrong with the constant pursuit of success- ‘ Probably when you try to pursue things continuously, it creates an illusion that happiness is just a few steps away just like a mirage in the desert.’
Then what to do instead?
Setting a goal is Ok but a better option would be to find out first what kind of experiences you want to have in life. Goals can change with time but when you decide what kind of experience you are looking for, you will find out ways to have that. If you want to have experience of a great teacher you know for that you have understood human psychology, you need to have good communication skill and love for your teaching. If you want to wake up every morning feeling blessed and with the person you truly in love you need be with the person you love. Set your experiences first, you will then find out the way to achieve it.
When you neglect other aspects of life in order to focus on one, you are going to disbalance your life. One dimensional success is not the lasting one ( Read one of my previous blog ). You will be fed up one day with One-dimensional success (Even Einstein fed up with Relativity!). Every aspect of life has it’s own importance. As Einstein said don’t run behind things unnecessarily. The best way to be happy is by knowing yourself, what kind of experiences you want from life. When your priorities are right you will be in the ease with life.
So, does pursue of success or being ambitious is wrong?
I don’t think, but at the same time, it’s better to just focus and enjoy the job at hand rather than setting goals after goals. Having an ambition is what inspires us some time but constantly running behind one after another ambition by neglecting different aspects of life will bring instability to life. Chanakya, one of the wisest person ever lived once said
There are so many meanings lies in those two lines of Einstein. After all when the ‘man of the century’ put forward his ‘Theory of happiness’, the world is bound to think. What are your thoughts on this? Comment below.
Have a balanced week. Until next week -Joy
Source: 1. Einstein’s Letters
Originally published at joyexcel.com on October 7, 2018.