“But the years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alternations of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light- only those who have experienced it can understand that.”
-Albert Einstein 1934
Einstein was reflecting on his path to completing relativity theory. His final hurdle was a struggle with something about differential invariants of the second order. (Nerd!) He lamented about 2 entire years he wasted, committed to the wrong idea and working down the wrong path. Obviously eventual success was achieved, but 2 years?! Imagine getting math homework you worked on for 2 years and couldn’t solve. And this was just the time he spent beating his head against the wall.
I guess nobody said redefining the terms of reality would be easy.
I love how he expressed this experience. Putting massive effort into a goal and succeeding is an ultimate life experience. It truly transcends language, but Einstein was often as good with words as he was with numbers.
I am grateful to know the feeling of achieving a set goal. I am also intimately familiar with failing to achieve them. I have honestly learned more from the failures than the successes. If you achieve all your goals, you are not setting them high enough.
People who habitually pursue goals live fantastic lives.
A saw a Hare Krishna again today. This one was in the traditional orange robe complete with headset microphone and loudspeaker. He was not doing the telltale chant this time. He was going down the road on his bicycle towing a little, whatever you call a trailer pulled behind a bicycle. Announcing “free food if you’re hungry”. I may not understand the performative value of the chants and the costumes, but this is what it’s all about. Wasn’t recruiting. Just going around making sure fellow humans had enough to eat.