If there were ever a prototypical genius, it would undoubtedly be Albert Einstein. He is to thinking and science what Michael Jordan is to basketball. Both are beloved by the masses and always will be. If you want to learn how to shoot a great jump shot, Michael is the one to teach you. If you want to learn how use your imagination to make insightful observations of the world around you, Albert is the supreme authority.
So what does Albert Einstein say about imagination you ask? He said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”1 Wait a minute. I thought that knowledge was the apex of everything. Didn’t someone say once that knowledge is power? While knowledge may be a powerful tool, Einstein is seeing things from a different perspective. When he made his scientific discoveries, he did have a strong foundation in scientific knowledge. Yet these findings were authentic breakthroughs to the scientific community because Einstein used his imagination to see things from a totally different perspective than anyone had before. He was a genius because his mind was not limited simply by what he could know. Rather, he allowed his creativity and imagination to take him into the stratosphere.
And, yes, this has something to do with you. Are you working on a big project or assignment and facing some roadblocks? Take a step back. Go for a walk, do some gardening, go to the driving range or whatever relaxes you. Don’t think about the problem and the difficulty you are having. Take some time to think about your approach to the problem. Is there an angle you haven’t considered yet?
Let’s consider a practical example together. You are writing an essay on how to make wise financial investments for retirement, but thinking up a thesis statement is giving you trouble. You have done all of your research and have the facts before you. You’ve been online, to the library, and even have watched a few episodes of The Dave Ramsey Show. But still you are drawing a blank. Then you have a ray of light shine through. You remember that there is a couple that lives down the street from you who recently retired. You could interview them and discover insights you probably wouldn’t find reading a book. And you may even make some new friends. It always pays to take a step back and get a bird’s-eye view.
Effectively using your imagination to unravel previously bewildering and unconquerable problems may indicate that you are emerging genius. Watch out Albert Einstein…here we come! And if you are looking for an exceptional English language teacher to help unravel your hidden genius, contact MET!
1 Jess M. Brallier, Who Was Albert Einstein? (New York: Penguin Workshop, 2002). 6.