If You Bump Into An Important Problem…

If you bump into an important problem, would you recognize it? Or will you say “Pardon me” and just move on? I am afraid that I might have been doing the latter.

This old essay is a fascinating read. It is from a Scientist, but I doubt that it applies to Science alone.

Here are a few things I want to remember and hence this post. Hopefully this will tickle your interest to go and read the article.

  • Once you get your courage up and believe that you can do important problems, then you can. If you think you can’t, almost surely you are not going to.
  • The misapplication of effort is a very serious matter. Just hard work is not enough – it must be applied sensibly.
  • Darwin writes in his autobiography that he found it necessary to write down every piece of evidence which appeared to contradict his beliefs because otherwise they would disappear from his mind.
  • It took me a while to discover its importance of ambiguity. Most people like to believe something is or is not true. Great scientists tolerate ambiguity very well.
  • If you are deeply immersed and committed to a topic, day after day after day, your subconscious has nothing to do but work on your problem. And so you wake up one morning, or on some afternoon, and there’s the answer.So the way to manage yourself is that when you have a real important problem you don’t let anything else get the center of your attention – you keep your thoughts on the problem. Keep your subconscious starved so it has to work on your problem, so you can sleep peacefully and get the answer in the morning, free.
  • Most great scientists know many important problems. They have something between 10 and 20 important problems for which they are looking for an attack.
  • He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.
  • The business of abstraction frequently makes things simple.
  •  By altering the problem, by looking at the thing differently, you can make a great deal of difference in your final productivity
  • There are three things you have to do in selling. You have to learn to write clearly and well so that people will read it, you must learn to give reasonably formal talks, and you also must learn to give informal talks.
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