In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

In Others' Words: Succcess

"If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut."~Albert Einstein, German-born physicist

A (Success)
X (Work)
Y (Play)
Z (Keeping your mouth shut)

Success=Work+Play+Keeping your mouth shut

Know what? Einstein was a smart guy.
Yes, I know he was a physicist. But he had common sense too. Look at that equation for success again. Einstein figures in work and play and being wise enough to know when to hold your tongue.
You have to work hard to achieve forward motion. If you're a writer, that means you have to write. And rewrite. And take critique like a professional. And endure waiting and rejections and the reality that not everyone's going to love your writing. (Gasp!)
And you also have to know when to stop working and relax. Play a little. Here's a question: What do you do for fun? If you can't answer that question, you're working to hard. Me? I like to hang with friends. Window-shop with my girls. (Maybe even for-real-shop.) Hike. Read. Browse through a bookstore. 
So: Success = Work + Play + ?
What was the last part of that equation?
Oh, yeah.
Keeping your mouth shut.
I'll call that discernment.
Knowing when to speak up. Knowing when to be quiet. Avoiding the ol' "foot in mouth" misstep. What's that wise saying?
 "Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise ..." (Prov. 17:28)

In Your Words: What do you think of Einstein's equation for success? Would you change it up at all? Are you missing any of his must-haves for success?

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At 8:18 AM, Blogger dtopliff said...

Good post. I prefer Proverbs, but Confucius is also credited as saying something like, "Better to keep mouth closed and be thought a fool then to open it and prove same."

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Wendy Paine Miller said...

Uh oh, now I'm going to dream of us hiking. :D

I love being outdoors. Anything...outside. I refinish furniture, laugh, spend time with friends, eat delicious food and if at all possible get myself on a boat.

(Math scares me.) :D
~ Wendy

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

That's a great equation, Beth. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Einstein quipped it. It makes a lot of sense. The doing of work comes easily for me, but it isn't always applied to writing, sometimes it's work for my family.
Play is not so easy for me, but when I have down time, I enjoy spending it with family or friends, watching movies, reading, hiking..... Keeping my mouth shut--still working on that one.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Dee, I like that quote by Confucius too!
And, Wendy, math scares me too. But Einstein's equation works for me--even though I had to double-check and triple-check it to make certain I got it right. (And I had an error in it that my husband caught. LOL!)
Jeanne--I know you better than you know yourself. You do know how to be silent and wait until the right time to speak. You are wise--no fool at all.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Reba J. Hoffman said...

I was really liking this post- until the keeping-your-mouth-shut part. *sigh*
I tried to but bit my tongue. I pray but I have to open my mouth to do that and- uhh, well, you know.
I guess two outta three ain't bad, right? :-)

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Tamara said...

Physicist quips are fun, but physicists are also infamous for being less-than-talented with people, and there's the huge gap in this equation. It would be a very nice world if you had complete control over your life; if all it took to succeed was hard work, balance, and prudence. But there are hundreds of writers just as hard-working and brilliant as you out in the world, putting the ultimate results in the hands of people.

You need people to like you and your work enough to publish it. You need people to like you and your work enough to buy it, and to get other people to buy it. People are the essence of every story (unless you're writing novels about inanimate objects, but even then they'd probably be anthropomorphized or say something about the human condition). Without feedback from people, you will never grow. Even Einstein needed people to hire him and turn him into a household name.

The "people" variable includes luck, timing, communication skills, marketing, appearance, and all those other things we like to pretend don't exist because we're "artists" in the modern Western world, where we're supposed to be able to do everything from the comfort of our rolly chairs in front of a laptop. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I think the "Z" part trips us all up.
And, Tamara, the "Z" part involves the people. As does the "play" part (Or "Y")--keep having to check the equation.
And yes, people are part of the success equation.


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