The lesson even a smart guy like Einstein had to learn

www.newhistorian.com

www.newhistorian.com

In 1905, Albert Einstein determined the theory of special relativity. It introduced a new framework for all of physics and proposed new concepts of space and time. Then he spent more than a decade years trying to include acceleration in the theory. His General Relativity Theory determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity. He published this in 1915. Science geeks will understand the magnitude better than us, but suffice to say that it literally changed how we understood the world.

However he needed proof of the theory. Proof would not only provide him professional validation, but provide the finances to pay off his wife who had divorced on the promise of paying his (future) Nobel earnings as alimony. So the pressure was on.

The easiest proof was to be provided by astronomers who could measure a gravitational effect on stars specifically during a total eclipse. He had a few hurdles to overcome. Firstly he had to find astronomers who were willing to devote time and resources and reputations to what was mind-bending theory. Then there was the challenge of finding an eclipse to photograph (before someone else proved the theory) and finally, there was the matter of World War 1 that made everything more difficult by an order of magnitude, not made easier by the fact that he was a German Jew, effectively making him an enemy of both sides.

The first attempt to photograph the eclipse was thwarted by bad weather and to make it worse the Russians confiscated some very expensive equipment was .

Einstein was naturally devastated. With w war in full swing, the chances of getting another crack at it seemed nearly impossible.

But he kept working.

And he found a flaw in his calculations.

If the first attempt at photographing the eclipse had succeeded, his theory would have been disproven. He would have been the laughing stock of the scientific community.

He remedied his formulae.

Then  there was another opportunity to photograph another eclipse.

Several simultaneous parties departed for Australia, which offered the best vantage point.

The photos were taken, the calculations made.

Einstein was proven right.

The failure of the first expedition was a blessing in disguise.

Many failures are.

Whilst we are dealing with a fresh, raw failure it may not seem like it. Sometimes it takes years. But how often do we live through bad times, only later to realise that ‘that was the best thing that could have happened to me’.

A retrenchment, a business failure or a lost sale does not mean it is the end, unless you want it to be.

More often than not, a failure is a blessing in disguise, an opportunity to do better and a challenge to keep going.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. (Winston Churchill.)