The scene is just 2 minutes and you can see it on YouTube right on this spot:
This is the text of the scene:
- Walk with me, John. I've been meaning to talk with you. The faculty is completing mid-year reviews. We're deciding which placement applications to support.
- Wheeler, sir. That would be my first choice. Actually, I don't really have a second choice, sir.
- John. Your fellows have attended classes. They've written papers. They've published.
- I'm still searching, sir, for my...
- Your original idea.
- Governing dynamics, sir.
- It's very clever, John, but I'm afraid it's just not nearly good enough.
- I'm working on manifold embedding. My bargaining stratagems show some promise. If you could just arrange another meeting with Professor Einstein. I've repeatedly asked you for that. I'd be able to show him my revisions on his...
- John. Do you see what they're doing there? It's the pens. Reserved for a member of the department that makes the achievement of a lifetime. Now what do you see, John?
- Well, try seeing accomplishment. John, You haven't focused. I'm sorry, but up to this point, your record doesn't warrant any placement at all. Good day.
The important message of the scene is the accomplishment thing, but that is not the words that impressed me. What impressed me was the excuse he put when he was not focusing on his idea or research paper:
" If you could just arrange another meeting with Professor Einstein. I've repeatedly asked you for that. I'd be able to show him my revisions on his..."
Maybe the scene is to obvious but I had seen something similar on real life (not with Einstein of course). I knew people that were not able to accomplish something and thinking that a little talk with someone "awesome" will inspire them to their breakthrough. Or maybe they have on their mind the crazy idea that if a genius approves or agree with your idea, they will became a respectful genius too.
Sometimes maybe it can be counterproductive to talk to a genius about an specific thing that you are working on. I knew professors that are at the level of geniality but just don't care of all the subjects that students may came out with. You don't present a business case to "high energy research physic", he would not understand it or care about it, just like you don't show a "clock potato" to a business management guru.
So maybe instead of getting approval for your idea by "notorious people", it will be better if you start producing something first and see if goes in good track. Oh, that's the "accomplishment thing" that this scene talks about.