Sunday, February 15, 2009

Use Your Mind Well

Rene Descartes once said “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

Someone asked me the other day what is the most important quality someone should possess if they want to get a PhD in science. I can’t really say there is any one in particular but I have seen people who aren’t brilliant get a PhD simply because they have the perseverance to keep looking until they find the answer that they know is right. Perhaps that is the best quality to have. I would never say that I am a brilliant scientist, I love what I do and I love science which is important. What got me through grad school was probably more perseverance than anything else. Anyone who has worked with me as a scientist knows that I will sometimes repeat the same experiment many times if I get an answer I don’t believe—most of the time the answer is just too good to be true which is why I’ll repeat it. Anyone who knows me outside of science knows that I will not stop until I have the full story and completely understand why, how and when and if I can’t get resolution I’ll just keep asking until I find what I need to know. So to answer my friend’s question, to get a PhD in science you must be stubborn, curious, love to solve things, and above all use your mind well.

What does this have to do with my journey, nothing but I did say I was going to sometimes just blog about off the wall stuff. If in the end it starts a discussion about what people think it takes to be successful so be it, if not well….at least I answered my friend’s question. My personality quirks are all my own, but I do not give up until I know the answer which is just me.

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