Have you ever said the words, “I would love to be a…[insert career choice here]” but always thought that it is something other people do, not you? Perhaps you don’t have the skills, are not ‘clever’ enough, didn’t get the grade at school or just don’t fit the usual stereotype for a job like that.
You are certainly not alone in this feeling. Did you know that Albert Einstein faced the very same barriers in his early career?
Despite what we all think we know about Einstein, “he was a genius”, “he was just born awesome”, “he was destined to succeed”, believe it or not this could not be further from the truth.
The young, school-aged Einstein was not a very good student at all. He hated mathematics, despised learning facts and openly rebelled against authority and conventional teaching. The one thing he was good at was puzzles. He could figure out puzzles and riddles by picturing them and breaking them down, then building them back up in his mind’s eye
To his peers, Einstein was an unremarkable student his grades were nothing to write home about and he didn’t show any real flair for academics and even when he reached college and university age nothing had changed, he still didn’t fit the usual criteria for a scientific genius.
Einstein while he may have been a little different to the other students, was no fool. He knew that he didn’t fit the usual bill and that he would no doubt struggle to compete with the others more academically suited to this field, but that did not deter him. He knew his weaknesses just as well as he knew his skills and with that knowledge, he could turn the tables in his favour.
Einstein accepted that academia would never going to be his strong suit and decided that he would stop trying to be something he was not. He knew he would never be the best at everything and that he didn’t need to be. He could be a mediocre scientist and still follow the path he chose by using his innate problem-solving skills to challenge the perspectives of his peers and solve complicated theories in his own way.
By accepting his natural inclinations and limitations he was free to operate outside of the academic constrictions placed upon others. He was not bogged down by one approach, he was free to blaze his own path, unburdened by the rigidity of the status quo.
There is no doubt that this approach works, Einstein reached unfathomable heights in his career so why can’t we take a leaf from his book. Stop trying to be someone we are not and most definitely stop letting other people tell us what we can and cannot achieve.
If we can stop trying to overcome our weaknesses and instead find ways to work with what we have, we can utilise our strengths and find new innovative ways to fulfil our dreams.
Why can’t you do the job you always wanted to do? Why do grades have to matter? You can always go back to education if results are a real barrier to success. Why does your past have to inform your future?
So what if you are not the same as everyone else. Great things are usually born from an alternative approach and a different perspective, you are in a strong, unique position because no other human thinks the way that you do. Don’t underestimate your ability to bring your own strengths to the table.
More than anything it’s having the guts to try something anyway. Refuse to be kept out, propel yourself in your chosen direction and do whatever it takes to make it work.