“…when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.”
– Albert Einstein
In 1915, two days after the completion of his general theory of relativity while living in Berlin, Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879–April 18 1955) told his son that the path to happiness lay in losing yourself in creativity and learning through doing.
Einstein’s advice, written in a letter to his 11-year-old son Hans Albert in Zurich, where he was living with his mother Mileva and brother Eduard ‘Tete’ Einstein, was plain. Whatever you do, do it utterly and feelings of joy and fulfilment will flow through you.
My dear Albert,
Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.
I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. Also play ringtoss with Tete. That teaches you agility. Also go to my friend Zangger sometimes. He is a dear man.
Be with Tete kissed by your
Regards to Mama.
Encouraged by his father to pursue scientific study, Einstein’s son, Hans (May 14, 1904 – July 26, 1973) would become an engineer and a long-time professor of Hydraulic Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
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