How did Albert Einstein come up with his ideas?

Albert Einstein made some significant contributions to science throughout his career. He is hailed for having one of the most brilliant minds in the (somewhat) recent past. But how did Albert Einstein come up with his ideas? It may surprise you to know that his loafing around doing nothing was a large part of his process for coming up with ideas for his greatest inventions.

Boredom, a necessary evil?

When we mentioned above that loafing around doing nothing was part of Einstein’s process, we’re not talking about sitting on a bean bag playing video games. No, we mean doing absolutely nothing. You could sit in a bean bag, I guess, but not the video games bit. Albert Einstein took a year off from high school to just think, wonder, and ponder about the universe, without the pressure of having to be graded on it. He also learned to sail at an early age, which he would do in his adult life just to be alone with his thoughts. Granted, he wasn’t at all good at sailing and would frequently end up lost, but the sailing wasn’t exactly the point now, was it?

Many neuroscientists, psychologists and other doctors agree that boredom is healthy for the mind. It is a much needed down time for your brain to be able to process thoughts, look for solutions to problems, and entertain ideas. Boredom is a time when creativity can skyrocket. Not to mention the health benefits that come from letting your dopamine levels just calm down for a time.

When all else fails, take breaks

Albert Einstein would often take a little time to play the violin. Again, let’s not dwell on whether or not he was any good at it. If he didn’t have the time or for whatever reason just could not get away to float around at sea like a plank of driftwood, he would do the next best thing: work until he hit a block, then spend some time sawing at his violin. You’d be surprised how many creative thinkers have hit their “eureka” moments while droning at some menial task. The brain continues to be in alert for ideas in the back end while you're doing something else. Shower thoughts anyone?

Oh yeah and intelligence, don’t forget intelligence

It may come as no surprise that Einstein’s intelligence, of course, had a lot to do with how he came up with ideas. His brain just seemed to be the type to not let something go until he could find a solution to it. Much like some of the best detectives (at least the ones we’ve seen on Netflix) can be likened to a dog with a bone, Einstein’s mind would always revisit that problem he was working on. He was just a very smart man that would give his brain time to work without trying to forcibly squeeze an idea out of it as if it was the last glob of toothpaste in the tube.

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