A journalist once asked Albert Einstein to explain his formula for success. The great scientist thought for a second and then replied, “If A is success, I should say the formula is A = X + Y + Z. X being work and Y being play.”
And what is Z? asked the journalist.
“Keeping your mouth shut,” Einstein replied.
Successful people often acknowledge important role that hard work played in their success. In all areas of endeavour high achievement is credited to hard work. It is easy to overlook the work that is put in as we generally only see the moments of glory and victory and not the long hours of preparation that go into both winning and losing. The same is true of academic success which requires work in and out of class for a person to achieve to their potential. I hope that students who are working towards NCEA qualifications this year have been putting in a consistent work effort to date. With only eight school weeks until the seniors go on study leave this work rate needs to be a priority.
Einstein reflected on the value of ‘play’ in his comment to the journalist. Be it work/life balance or taking enjoyment from what we do, we all need to take time out – the challenge when focussing on a goal is to keep the work and play sensibly balanced. Successful people also speak of the importance of following your passions. Perhaps Einstein was thinking of play as the enjoyment we get even from our ‘work’. If you don’t yet know what your passion is keep working hard at whatever you do till you find it.
I think that when Einstein spoke of the importance of “Keeping your mouth shut” he was reflecting on the value of listening. Too often we rush in to give an opinion and tell others what we think. We use the time when others are speaking to formulate the next thing we will say rather than listening to what has been said. Our school motto is wisdom through learning. Some of the wisest comments I have heard spoken have come from those who listen carefully and say little. What little they say however is carefully considered.