We all know the common narrative of ‘you shouldn’t care about what people think of you’. Its a lot easier said than done and it’s really only something you can learn from experience. I personally am going through this now, I’m beginning to become more confident in myself and what I’m doing which is allowing me to go through my day without worrying about what others think. But I find it very difficult all the same.
I started reading Einstein by Walter Isaacson, last night, and it has put this concept in perspective for me. Einstein’s family maid, called him ‘the dopey one’ when he was a young boy, as he was a bit of a late bloomer and couldn’t form proper speech for the first few years of his life. His teachers also said he wouldn’t amount to much, needless to say, they couldn’t have been more wrong. But why did they look at him in such degrading ways? Because he was outside the social norm.
He was an outsider. He took longer to learn how to speak than most others, he was rebellious and had no respect for authority. His school teachers and parents scolded him for not obeying commands, while they gave gold stars to the kids who did everything they told them to and got good grades. But when you look at all these kids who would have been in Einstein’s class, how many made any sort of impact on the world? And not just that but which one of those kids would change the world even after his death. Einstein is now a brand for genius. You hear the name and you think of greatness, you think of a legacy.
That dopey little kid would go on to think up impossible concepts such as relativity, which was proved only two years ago by the way. That dopey little one was one hundred years ahead of his time. And no one saw it coming. The opinions of others are based on their own experience. If someone can’t do something, and you try to do that exact same thing, they will form a distasteful opinion of your ambition to do the thing they couldn’t.
Einstein had a famous thought experiment that he did for gravity. He would imagine placing a bowling ball on a two-dimensional plane, much like a trampoline, and then he would imagine throwing smaller balls onto the plain and watch them swirl around towards the bowling ball in the centre. He would then imagine that motion happening in the third dimension. Although he couldn’t speak for a long time, he sure as hell had quite the imagination.
But from our perspective, all we would see is a dopey little kid who couldn’t speak and had a major ADHD problem. If Einstein was alive today, he’d be put on Adderall, and probably a whole other host of pharmaceuticals, that would have hindered his imagination. Because when we look at people all we see is the outside product. There is no way that anyone could have seen the genius inside that dopey kid. Our bodies are merely vessels to protect and feed the brain. And the brain is merely a vessel for the consciousness to live and thrive. People will judge you at first for your outside product, but no one can see the passion, the fire and the potential that you have within yourself.
A good friend of mine would always tell me the same Einstein quote;
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing it is stupid.