What It Means to Understand

A quote that is usually attributed to Albert Einstein goes like this: “If you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

You could pretty easily get caught up in the weeds of enumerating what six-year-olds can and can’t understand, you could debate whether nine or twelve or fifteen is more accurate an age for this quote than six, and you could even insist that this statement was misattributed to Einstein in the first place.

However, in a general life-truth-kind-of-way, these simple words ring true.

Let me explain why.

The Basics:

To begin with, think of something that you understand really well, and let’s forget about the specific audience for the moment. Maybe you excel in your knowledge of a particular musical instrument, a particular technical area, or a particular historical period. If you were asked to describe such a topic in thirty minutes or less, would you be able to? Would you be able to describe it in such a way that the basics, at least, would be made irrevocably clear? All things considered, this seems like a reasonable task.

Consider this, though. What if you only had five minutes?

Or even just one minute?

What if you only had twenty seconds?

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Time Worked ≠ Success

“I worked for 50 hours last week,” said someone.

“Actually, I worked a 60-hour week,” said another.

“Well, I haven’t taken a lunch break in a month and more often than not I am the last one to leave work,” said the last.

There was silence by the someone and the another, and in the end, the last was the self-proclaimed “winner.”

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What is it about some countries’ cultures where long hours are praised, where marathon weeks are seen as a reason to brag?

There is so much more to it than that.

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