Albert Einstein wrote his secret in an endearing letter to his son.
Learning can be a complicated journey or, at times, a simple process. This raises the question of why we can learn some things while we simply cannot. The question of whether humans are capable of learning anything may not have an answer, but there is an answer to the secret of the best way to learn.
Einstein and how to learn something new
Albert Einstein wrote a letter to his youngest son in 1915, in which he wrote the secret for a better way to learn and how to realize when learning is being used to its fullest and with the best benefits. The letter reads:
“I am so glad you find joy in the piano. This and carpentry are, in my opinion, the best activities for your age, better even than school. Because they are things that suit a young person like you very well. Play mainly the things you like on the piano, even if the teacher doesn’t assign them to you. That’s how you learn the most then when you’re doing something with so much enjoyment that you don’t realize that time is passing. Sometimes I get so caught up in the work that I forget about lunch at noon...”
The secret to a successful apprenticeship is simple, “when you are doing something with such gusto that you don’t realize that time is passing.”
The power of the “flow state”
Years later, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would describe this as a “flow state,” it is the moment when there is a balance between our abilities and the activity we perform, feeling fully integrated with the task we are carrying out.
In this state, the activity just flows, with a certain degree of tension but it is caused by a deep state of attention. This attention is an effect or consequence of what Einstein mentions, the taste for things, the decisive enthusiasm that creates an interest to the point of ecstasy for a particular aspect. So you know what the secret is, enjoy the things you do or do things you enjoy.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera