Lessons For Posterity: Albert Einstein on Doing What You Love

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.

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Lessons For Posterity: Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Self-Reliance

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.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was championing the cause for women’s rights well before women had many. She spent the better part of 50 years touring the country, organizing meetings, giving speeches, and generally working to inspire women to believe in themselves, stand up for themselves, and understand that they deserved more than they were being given.

In a letter to her daughter Margaret, Elizabeth illuminates the crux of her point when she instructs her daughter thusly:

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Lessons For Posterity … From William H. Seward

A handful of days ago, I had the good fortune of coming across this link from the wonderful website, which discusses a letter than author Sherwood Anderson sent to his son.

(I came across this link via Twitter, because I decided to follow @BrainPicker a couple weeks back, a decision that has proven to be far more educational and illuminating than I’d ever imagined. I urge you to follow that account as well.)

This particular Brain Pickings article was excerpting from the book Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children. I loved the parts of Anderson’s letter shared in the blog post so much that I immediately went and ordered the book. It arrived yesterday, and I’ve decided to use it as inspiration for what should be a fun daily exercise.

Every day when I arrive at the office, I am going to read one of the letters before getting started with my day’s activities. Then I’ll write a short blurb here at Primility highlighting whatever nuggets of knowledge I’ve learned.

What could be a better way to set the tone for a productive day than reading the wise words of some of the most influential Americans who have ever lived? I can’t think of one.

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The Biggest Lesson I Learned Getting Back In Physical Shape … And How I’m Applying It To Get In Better Mental Shape Too

I had a sudden realization today.

I’ve spent the last year deeply focused on improving how I care for my body. And I’ve gotten back in shape my making better choices. I’ve started eating better; I do yoga 6-7 times a week; I do cardio in between; I sleep more. And the results have been incredible. I’ve lost 40-some pounds and I’ve never felt better or had more energy.

So why am I not applying this same principle, with the same dogged determination, to improving my mind?

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What Are You Willing To Lose?

Earlier this week, based on the recommendation of my new colleague and friend Jessica Commins, I joined the website This Is My Jam. I love music and I’m obsessed with finding efficient avenues for finding good new music. Joining was a no-brainer. (So join and let’s connect.)

Her Jam at the time of me joining was “What Are You Willing To Lose” by Lucero, and it remains her Jam currently. I loved the title of the song immediately, and I liked the song as well once I listened.

The video is embedded at the end of this post if you want to listen.

Here is a taste of the lyrics:

So what if all my heroes are the losing kind
Not a chance in hell but still they lay it on the line
Would you give it all away for what you want to do
Would you keep on going if you couldn’t make it through now
What are you willing to lose
O what are you willing to lose

Jessica posted about this on G+, asking her friends there what they were willing to lose. I responded thusly:

“I am willing to lose lamentations on the past and unproductive thoughts about the future in exchange for more focus and presence in the NOW.”

It’s one of my mental goals moving forward: leave the past behind and think about the future only in ways that move me forward productively and positively. There is simply too much to do and experience in the present to not be fully engaged in it.

But that’s also some pretty general, abstract stuff. It’s damn near mumbo-jumbo (even if it’s true).

So I decided to get a little bit more specific. What else am I willing to lose in pursuit of happiness? Here are a few things right off the top of my head:

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You Just Never Know

My favorite link that I have come across today is this article – Curatives for judgement. (Please read before you interact with other humans.) – by Danielle LaPorte.

The basic premise of the article is that we should all stop to consider what might be going on in someone else’s life before we judge them and, especially, before we interact with them:

Here’s a curative for the sharp judgement that often accompanies our disappointment in others — just a single, surprising expansive phrase: You just never know. Use it before you jump to conclusions that someone’s a jerk, or that they need an attitude adjustment, or that they could be doing better than they are.

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I have an awesome girlfriend.

I could spend a whole post listing out the multitudes of qualities that make her awesome, but I think one quality in particular – which manifested itself when we exchanged Christmas gifts – speaks particular volumes.

And this particular quality that I admire so much is that she gets me.

This was strongly reinforced when I unwrapped one of my Christmas gifts from her to find a white coffee mug that had been customized like only she can.

On the mug, in bold, black, handwritten lettering is this phrase: “WAKE UP AND BE AWESOME!”

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Here Is My One Simple Resolution For 2013

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately.

First I reflected on the gargantuan difference that a single year can make.

Then yesterday I whittled all that I learned in 2012 down into 12 easily digestible lessons, most of which should be fairly easy for anyone to relate to. (And even if not, each lesson is accompanied by an excellent song or two, thus guaranteeing, at a minimum, some pleasant audible entertainment.)

Reflecting is certainly not an abnormal activity to engage in this time of year. Something tells me that you probably have been doing a bit of it yourself.

But now that we have all stepped firmly into day #2 of 2013, the time for reflecting has ended, and the time for looking forward is nigh.

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12 Indispensable Lessons About Life, Love, and Letting Go That I Learned in 2012

2012 was a special year for me personally.

It was a year that taught me just how much positive change can be packed into twelve months.

And like all memorable and impactful experiences, I learned (or in some cases relearned) a number of valuable lessons along the way.

Some of these lessons I learned from first-hand experience. Some of these lessons I learned from reading. Some of these lessons I learned from watching and talking to other people. Regardless of where I learned them, I know I’ll be better for carrying them forward into 2013.

The goal of this post is to take a look back at 2012 and reflect on some of these lessons before diving headfirst into 2013.

And since one of the lessons I relearned this year was how much value finding great new music adds to my daily life, I decided to match up each lesson with a complementary song or two.

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What A Difference A Year Can Make

As I sit down to write this post – one I’ve been greatly anticipating writing for several weeks now – I can officially report that I am as happy, as balanced, as fulfilled, and generally as satisfied with my life as I’ve ever been.

It’s a great feeling.

It’s also one that sits in pretty stark contrast to how I was feeling just one year ago.

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