The importance of an open mind

Every now and then we have inspiring conversations and Saturday was just one of those days. Saturday I went to a day school for my degree (being part time we are predominantly evening based) and got to speak at reasonable length with one of the tutors. He himself had previously worked in a number of research posts in universities around the country but now holds a seat on the Commons Select Committee for science as well as tutoring at the Open University – with a particular specialism in Physics – so naturally someone that I was curious to take as much as I could from.

I think there is a boyish impatience inside of me when it comes to making progress in science; which stems from the fact that I arrived at the conclusion to study later than I would of liked so as a result feel compelled to play catch up. Anyhow when I made some enquiries into the best ways you can prepare yourself for scientific study at much higher levels than the one I currently operate on, the resulting answer was of some surprise to me.

Today I discovered that one very useful thing you can do to prepare yourself to be a highly successful physicist is to study things that are entirely unrelated to Physics. That is, some of the best practices are to make sure that you are fully literate in science. But don’t stop there. Take in the arts, read novels, attend lectures and talks around other areas that have no relation at all to your discipline. And why is this? Well the reason is quite simple – you will be drilled in the way of thinking that your discipline requires because you are indeed working within it that it will be unlikely that outside of your study time further depth into the same techniques will be of much use. When you eventually get to solve some on the big problems which are facing the world – the problems for which there is currently no answer, one of the most important factors is going to be thinking in different ways because lets face it everyone currently inside the box hasn’t got the answers. You can’t get to a stage where you need to think outside the box either and then try to do it, as will all things it is a skill grooved over time. Of course you are going to need the skills related to your discipline at the very core of it, but if you have given due care and attention to your degree they will be there.

I went into the conversation, I have to say expecting to come out with the advice that the best thing to further my academic potential was to bury my head in endless pages of textbooks. The result makes a lot more sense; and when you think of it what would you rather write on a job application? I have done my degree and achieved  1st and read 35 textbooks…. Or I have done my degree achieved a 1st, attended many scientific events, open lectures, participated in conferences and have a keen interest in literature, travel and writing. The latter sounds like the person I would want to hire, which does beg the question as to why I didn’t come to that conclusion, since really all I am saying is the age old be a rounded person. But I think being fully literate in science is very important. Some of the greatest discoveries in science, take for example the discovery of DNA was at the hands of a physicist.

The plan? To learn language. To attend a variety of lectures, to read generalist science books. For the next few years I commit to being a better rounded individual. When the time comes later in my course I will break rank and start to up the intensity but for now, let’s hammer out another distinction and get some variety in my brain. Final note of course is that if you are looking to take a similar path it is riddled with competition and incorrect decisions. Finding mentors and people you can get advice from is essential, just as I have recently.



38 responses to “The importance of an open mind

  1. A brilliant post and some great observations. It’s very easy to get tunnel vision when you are working towards a dream, and reminding yourself to live a life beyond that dream can be hard work at times. What language are you planning on picking up? I, myself, have just picked up French lessons!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am picking up German! I have a post on that soon actually. Hows the French? It is very true though, sometimes the only reason we cannot see the answer is because it lies in a part of our brain we have not used in a very long time.


  2. That is some very good advice. I myself believe that no matter how important a subject you are working on, after a certain period of time your mind starts operating below par due to the repetition. Something completely different but interesting nevertheless is just the right motivation!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I totally agree, it is widely accepted in sports that training plateaus are reached and that variety is a great way to break through them to I apply the same logic to the brain!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I saw in your gravatar description that you’re a chartered accountant :DDD i got my bachelor’s in public accounting, but have been working in IT for the past few years. 🙂

    You are right, mentors and variety are essential for a chance for moar fulfilling life! ^_^ Especially when you’re coming from a place that’s hard for most to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You remind me of something I read in a “Steven Pressfield” book. He spoke about a great gulfer who’s impeccable talent is brilliant, his name, “Tiger Woods.” He is only the greatest because he is a good student, he is patient, he is modest, and works in silence… Later letting success do the talking. Hang in there, your hunger to become the greatest will guide you, be patient, go with the flow, and not ahead of it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much your comments are so so kind. I hope that one day I can achieve something that I want to… I have no interest in fame and fortune, just to be able to look back at the things I wanted to achieve and say I did it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes in deed, and you will… I mean you’re going to school aren’t ya? 😀 after you get your degree everything else will fall into place my friend. You got this!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh look at you all degreed up lol very nice!!!! And if you already doing this other degree, it will go according to plan since its already being taken place. “Don’t think you are, know you are!” The Matrix.
        You already got a degree in your pocket and already reaching for the second one hun, iyou almost there. You will get to hold the second one 😉😉😉


      • The matrix is quite amazing! Well I took a three year break from academia where I did my chartered accountancy but now it is back to the science and the future. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like anything that has to do with the way people think, the human mind/psychology and spirit science. But due to my legal status, in the U.S. I was unable to attend collage. I still help people here and there by counseling and advising them. I’m not licensed to do so, and I let them know, to take myrd as advice… I don’t charge money. I just like to see positive changes in another human being. 😆😃. . . it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out some people. Lol I am a thinker, fan of logic and common sense. The matrix is indeed very interesting. Watched with an open mind, really makes you see life in a whole new level. Intelligent people get it. 👍👌❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh what is that? You have legal status to go to college!? That’s nuts what are you guys like! Which state are you from? I can never get my head around just how big america really is

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m originally from mexico I haven’t obtained my citizenship yet but it finally in progress. Yes people must obtain a social security number in able to attend a college. Lol I’m in Texas. USA is big! Where are you from? What time is it there now?

        And I don’t understand your question about “what are you guys like?” What do you refer to? If I understand correctly the answer would be that the majority of people in America, do not trust anybody, are not so friendly, and are walking sexual zombies. Its rare when someone commits to a long term relationship. Most just want to sample around.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oh I see that kind of makes sense, that is a bit like our national insurance numbers… I think. When you wrote that it was like 11pm now it is 8:15am….. wow that is an interesting run down of America! I am not sure I am brave enough to share that with my more patriotic American friends!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The importance of an open mind — Rationalising The Universe – PHILOSOPHY CORNER·

  6. I cannot agree more. We truly underestimate the profundity of what a variety of activities and people add to our lives. Not only does it help us think differently and solve problems, but it also opens doors to new ideas and opportunities. We shy away from new/unknown fields because we are scared of not knowing, but if we accept our limitation and enter with an open mind, the possibilities are endless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your comment and I totally agree with you! Getting used to saying yes to things is such a powerful way to live I think far too often we say no to things before we have even given it thought we are just so used to rejecting ideas

      Liked by 2 people

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