Einstein was once asked,“How many feet are in a mile?”
He said, “I don’t know. Why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in two minutes in any standard reference book?”
He died on April 18, 1955. Now here we are over 60 years later and we could say the same thing except it doesn’t even take us 2 minutes to find answers like that.
You can pull out your phone and ask, “OK Google, how many feet are in a mile?” and within 2 seconds you will have your answer.
Einstein knew there was an opportunity cost to spending his mental resources on trivial matters.
Instead he used his mind to think, imagine and solve problems.
I’m 32 years old so technically I’m a “Millennial.”
And one of the criticisms I hear about my generation is that we’re so steeped in technology and the internet that we don’t know basic facts about history.
You’ve probably seen those funny videos on YouTube where they ask some young kid who the Vice President is or who the First President of the U.S. was and they have no idea.
People laugh and think, “Oh my gosh, what is the world coming too?”
Remember, Einstein was a scientist and he didn’t even know how many feet were in a mile. Did that make him “stupid”? According to some, yes. Mostly the academic types who idolize the memorization of facts.
But since have instant access to all the facts in the world why would we spend time memorizing things when we could be creating, thinking and solving problems?
I don’t know about you but that’s where I would rather devote my mental energy too. Especially in business. I want to figure out how to make my business succeed.
I don’t care if some recent college grad can explain in great detail how to properly prepare a business plan or what the current economic forecast is for small businesses is.
Those are great facts, opinions and ideas.
But I want to figure out how to add value to my clients and build a thriving business. Knowledge can’t do that for me. That takes creative ability and problem solving skills.