Are you curious?

Albert Einstein once said ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
He was curious….passionately curious.
In 1951, the Nobel prizewinning physicist was teaching at Princeton University. He had set an examination for an advanced class of physics students. On his way back to his office his teaching assistant was walking with him, carrying the completed exam papers.

The assistant, a little shy in the presence of the greatest physicist of the twentieth century, asked him. “Dr. Einstein, wasn’t the exam you gave this class of physics students the same exam you gave to this same class last year?”

Dr. Einstein thought for a moment and then said, “Yes, it was the same exam.”

“But Dr. Einstein, how could you give the same exam to the same class, two years in a row?”

Einstein’s answer was “Well, the answers have changed.”

And it’s true. The questions you and I need to ask ourselves on a consistent basis remain the same. But, the answers, through the passage of time and experience, will change!

Just think… how much money would you have to have to make you feel rich 20 years ago? Or, what are your goals for the next 12 months?

If he were still around today, Einstein would be a fan of Ted Lasso (from the Apple TV series). It’s not what you think you know – how judgmental you are – that matters it’s about finding out what you don’t know – how curious you are.

To be successful you need to be curious not judgmental. Let Ted explain (with thanks to Nigel Botterill of the Entrepreneurs Circle who introduced me to Ted).

Noel Guilford, Principal at Guilford Accounting
Noel Guilford is the principal of Guilford Accounting a small business accountancy practice specialising in advising owner-managed businesses on current accounting, finance, and tax matters. You can reach him via email at or by phone at 01244 660866. He is the author of the 'Figure it out - an entrepreneurs guide to understanding your business numbers' which you can obtain by visiting​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ His latest book, How to Build a Successful Business' will be published in 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *