This article is about a famous quote by Albert Einstein, and why it’s all wrong for goal setting. The quote is ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. So what’s wrong with it…?
Well, it seems a reasonable message, right? Particularly in the fields of goal setting, self improvement, and personal development, it’s a great motivational quote, summing up key lessons in a short memorable sentence.
I would contend though, that there is another lesson we can learn from this quote, perhaps even more useful than the quote itself, and this leads me to the major flaw in this quote – Einstein never said it!
There is no evidential record of him saying it.
Recently I was doing what I enjoy doing, researching something or myself rather than just accepting things as true, and I thought I’d find out more about the context of Einstein saying this quote.
Although I found lots of sites attributing the quote to him, with no source, it didn’t take me long to find the sites telling me that it was wrong to tie Einstein to this quote.
It seems that the first recorded use of the sentence is in the 1983 book ‘Sudden Death’ by Rita Mae Brown.
Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against Einstein, I have nothing against the quote. I write a lot about both the need to take action and the need to accept change, to make anyone’s life different from how it currently is.
It’s a great lesson, because one of the main causes of people feeling they are not where or what they want to be, is the fact that they are not taking different actions to the ones they currently take.
To believe that a different future will ‘somehow’ materialise without different action does seem very silly on consideration, doesn’t it!
The goal achievement lesson I draw though, is about education. You must not sit back and assume that your last day of school was the last day of learning. Even more than this, you must not rely solely on absorbing knowledge that comes your way, you must go out and seek it to really kick drive any movement in your life.
A further point about education – when you *do* go out and seek knowledge, which will most likely include going online, do not blindly believe the answers you find!
Anyone can publish online, and regulation is thin to say the least.
Even the self regulating ‘encyclopedia’ type sites are filled by users just like you and me. That’s why you can go online and see that quote ‘factually’ stated as by Einstein, with nothing to back it up.
Do your research! Go to lots of places, god forbid even go offline to a real book!
Whatever your goal is, take advice from many angles, but investigate that advice before you rely on it.
How far you examine things is up to you. You may be happy with a cursory level, and if that works for you , then great! Don’t be afraid either to go back and re-examine your knowledge if things don’t out. In fact that’s a crucial element in understanding how not to make the same mistake again!
So to sum up, yes I know I was a bit cheeky to say Einstein got it wrong with his ‘insanity’ quote and how it relates to goal setting, because he never said it in the first place, but *that’s* the point take away – check new knowledge before you accept it!
This is exactly the kind of thing I cover in my free 8 Step Goal Achievement Formula!
I’d love to hear what you think!
‘Til Next Time,
P.S. Don’t forget to connect with me over at facebook – either fb.com/thegreatgordino or my new page at Transform Your Life Now