Hey, I'm Sylvie

Welcome to my blog, I teach entrepreneurs, engineers and artists how to develop their soft skills to build a happier life and a more successful career or business.

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Einstein's Dreams

Einstein's Dreams

Before he died, the father of Albert Einstein received a letter his son wrote stating that he would have preferred to never have been born. At this point in his life, Albert had become discouraged by his failures. Sometimes in life, we are faced with difficulties that cause us to despair, but — in the end — without these experiences, we would never have been so creative. Adversity is demanding but often positive. Trials help us to remain determined to learn until we reach our goal no matter the difficulties.

How could a man so young have such incredible revelations? Revelations which were so different from the thought of his time. How a student expelled from school, denied admission from Polytechnique School of Zurich, a not even friend with renowned physicists, had been able to imagine theories that transformed the way we think the universe?

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
— Einstein

This famous quote by Einstein suits him so well! It's by imagining a different-time scenario that he could write his Theory of Relativity. If you have not read the bestseller written by physicist, MIT professor and writer-poet Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams, I strongly recommend it. The book is a fictional collage of stories dreamed (as imagined by the author) by Albert Einstein in 1905 while working in a patent office in Switzerland.

When the young rebel and sensitive genius created his theory, a new conception of time, he imagined many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are condemned to repeat their triumphs and failures repeatedly. In another, it is a place where time stops, visited by people who cling to their loved ones, etc.

Einstein's Dreams have inspired many playwrights, dancers, musicians and painters worldwide. In these poetic fragments, Alan Lightman explores the connections between science and art, the creative process, and the fragility of existence.

It is amusing to read Einstein's Dreams, as they illustrate the limitless possibilities of the imagination. This reading encourages awareness of all the issues that can arise on a given topic. Throughout their careers, a scientist must be imaginative. They must constantly ask new questions to identify problems and challenges. A scientist should never be satisfied with the first equation or scenario.

For example, Einstein realized, after he wrote his theory, that he had made a miscalculation that could have discredited him if the clouds had not prevented the American astrophysicist from photographing the eclipse to prove his theory. The incident earned him time to correct his mistake before the official pictures of the eclipse proved that he was right.

The dance between the contingencies of life and our constant quest to find solutions is the best process to develop creativity. Front, back, side... a beautiful dance is not linear. This is a way of thinking that connects astonishment and harmony. We can observe this dance in Einstein's life and in the life of many other scientists. Every one of us sails between daydreams, dreaming, reality and fiction. For example, writers imagine characters, but at some point, the characters take the lead in the story. It is in these magical intervals, what we can also call intuition, that creativity explodes in all its glory. 

Since the second half of the twentieth century, researchers have begun to look more seriously into brain activity during sleep. The discoveries of Aserinsky and Kleitman in their laboratories at the University of Chicago have opened a whole new perspective. Since then, research in this area has exploded. We now know that lucid dreamers have access to very specific details in their dreams. Who knows, maybe Einstein was a lucid dreamer. He dreamed of a sled going down a steep mountain so quickly that it came close to the speed of light, it is at this moment that he saw the stars change appearance. He would have awakened and pondered this idea to make what would become one of the most famous scientific theories in the history of mankind. 

Get inspired
by Albert Einstein and Alan Lightman

Be attentive to your dreams.
Meditate to understand the meaning of your dreams.
Encourage moments of reverie.
Be an acute observer.
Combine artistic fancy, poetic precision and scientific rigour.
On a given topic, ask a thousand questions.
For each answer, prepare a short script.
Seek simplicity (at the end of the year, the story must include a title and a few paragraphs).


Do as Einstein and many great inventors, use your dreams to think better. Download your interactive dreams notes.


Sylvie's Best Books

Moorcroft William H. Understanding Sleep and Dreaming, Springer, New York, 2005, 2013

Lightman Alan,  Einstein's Dreams

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Play it as a living lab

Play it as a living lab

Can you see what is not yet written?

Can you see what is not yet written?