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Opportunity Is Knocking. Just ask Albert Einstein…

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is primarily remembered as the Nobel laureate Father of Modern Physics. But he was a prolific commentator on philosophy and politics. This is a man to be admired, as well as a man who opened the door many times when opportunity knocked.

Let’s start with some Einstein quotations…

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (on a sign in his Princeton office)

Opportunity knocked in the middle of difficulty throughout Albert Einstein’s life. And he became a brilliant man and a wonderful human being because he answered the door. As a child he endured speech issues. And as he began his secondary education, his battles with authority, regimen, and convention led to his dismissal.

And when it was time to begin college he failed his first entrance exam.

Einstein and his first wife finally divorced after living apart for five years. His second wife was his maternal first cousin – who also happened to be his paternal second cousin.

Einstein’s first job consisted of evaluating patent applications for electromagnetic devices. Interestingly enough, he was passed over for promotion until he “fully mastered machine technology.”

But along came 1905, which has been referred to as Einstein’s miracle year (annus mirabilis).  Einstein published four papers in 1905 that rocked the scientific and academic world, taking him to the very top of both.

16 years later he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

In the early 1930s, Adolf Hitler presented yet another opportunity-knocking set of circumstances for Albert Einstein. And he answered the door by emigrating to the United States. Shortly after arriving he learned his name had been placed on a list of assassination targets, and he had a $5000 bounty on his head.

One German magazine included Einstein on a list of enemies of the German regime. Next to his name was noted  “not yet hanged.”

Well, Einstein went on to have a brilliant career as a scientist, philosopher, and professor at Princeton University. In April of 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by a rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It had been previously treated surgically.

Einstein refused another surgical procedure, saying…

“I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”

He died the following morning in Princeton Hospital at the age of 76.

Albert Einstein was a great human being who sensed when opportunity was knocking, and answered the door. And along the way he ignored authority, regimen, and convention in the pursuit of his life’s purpose.

What a great example and lesson for all of us! Especially when our distress is so intense any semblance of opportunity seems an impossibility.

But as Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

And it introduces itself with a rap on our door. Are we listening, and are we ready to answer?

So Albert Einstein – an amazing human being, don’t you think? And how do you feel about his take on opportunity? Please share a comment with us.

  • Deeannw

    This is a great article. I didn’t know certain things about Einstein and love the quotes. Very inspirational.

    • Well Hi Dee Ann! Thank you for your comment. No doubt, Einstein was a wonderful and extraordinary human being. Certainly he was a genius, but most aren’t aware of his philosophical prowess. Many of his published articles addressed social issues. He’s definitely one of my answers for who I’d like to be stuck on a desert island with! Keep coming back – and commenting…

  • Patricia Miller

    I’ve always loved that quote from Einstein. Thank you so much for this article.

    • Absolutely great human being. Such a character. Another one of those people with whom I’d love to be stranded on a far away island. Thanks for your comment, Patricia! Bill