I was watching one of Feyman’s archived lectures that was screened during the exhibition – While explaining some sort of quantum concept, he sensed that the audience weren’t able to really grasp his explanation (neither did I) and remarked jokingly that they needn’t worry, he had many undergraduates who have spent four years with him and still did not understand Quantum Physics! He went on to share that not understanding doesn’t mean that learning hasn’t taken place, and what matters is that you are curious to want to find out more…
“An unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates
Feynman’s life and philosophy reminded me of Socrates famous dictum. Like the Greek Philosopher, the American physicist believed that curiosity – the love of wisdom – was the most important pursuit above all else. Although renowned for his work in quantum mechanics, his curious nature drove him to explore different facets of life including art and music.
There were many takeaways for me from this exhibition, but the biggest one was about how Feynman lived life as if it were a series of adventures. Meanwhile, most of us are contented to play it safe and simply explore within our own box, reluctant to “waste time” learning anything that’s outside our profession, or things that we aren’t “passionate” about.
I often cringe at the mention of “passion”, I find it to be overrated and actually a limiting belief – that I will only do things that I am passionate about. It’s probably more sensible to be guided by purpose and curiosity rather than passion.
My own experience has also taught me that we can develop an interest and passion about anything if we pay attention to it enough – I didn’t start out being passionate about coaching Goalball, I coached the sport because nobody else wanted to coach the athletes with visual impairment. However, as I begin to pay attention to this “game of details”, the more interested and passionate I got about the sport.
I’ve also “wasted time” thinking, reading and learning skills which may not be related to coaching or business, but they all end up helping me be more effective in what I do anyway. For example, many years back, I went for a forum on “existentialism” just for fun. I ended up developing a keen interest in philosophy especially Stoicism and Nihilism. Not only has this shaped my perspectives, it had also helped me become better at what I do! Speaking of which, it’s really been a while since I learnt something new or different!
p.s. For those of you who might be concerned that being curious and exploring different interest might affect your career, have a read about what Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert comics) has to say about how “ordinary people find extraordinary success by combining ordinary talents in a unique way”
Some other Random Pics and Reflections by Random Couple….