This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting lessons learned from the book Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children. Read the intro post here.
Today’s letter was written from Albert Einstein to his 11-year old son Hans Albert, right after the elder Einsten had completed his theory of relativity. Needless to say, Einstein was beaming with pride at his accomplishment.
But one gets the sense from Einstein’s letter that his pride and excitement stemmed less from the fame and recognition he expected from the theory, and rather was related more to the genuine joy he extracted from the process of producing it.
While praising his son for learning to play the pain, Einstein tells him this:
Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.
He then remarks how he sometimes gets so wrapped up in his work that he forgets to eat lunch.
It is wonderful, practical advice from Einstein. And it was we should all strive for, never really being satisfied until we have it: work that we simply love to do. Not only will we learn the most from it and naturally work hard doing it, which will allow us to reach our potential, but it will also make us happier and more fulfilled in the process.