How do you reconcile performance and curiosity?

In summary, the conversation discusses the speaker's initial interest in physics and how it has evolved over time due to external factors such as grades and getting into a good grad school. The question of whether it is normal to prioritize enjoyment over practicality is raised, with one person suggesting to consider both factors when making decisions. The speaker also shares a favorite quote from Einstein about finding joy in scientific endeavors without the pressure of earning a living from it.
  • #1
Phys12
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Hello everyone!

I originally decided to be a physicist when I took an online course in Astronomy which talked about the greatest unsolved mysteries of the universe. After coming to university and conducting research in Particle Physics, I think I like it better and would pursue it instead.

However, I think I'm noticing a change in my outlook and my goals for the future. I, initially, took courses online just because I wanted to learn more about how our universe worked and pure curiosity. But after going through the process of applying for colleges and being in the university for a couple of years, I think I've deviated from that initial passion and being driven instead by getting good grades, publishing more papers so I can get into a good grad school.

While I don't think that there's anything wrong with wanting to go to a good school or getting good grades, I feel like it would be better, in the long run, to want to continue doing Physics, not to be a professor at a top university or "be a good physicist," but wanting to explore Physics just for the heck of it and because I love it. Does that make sense? Let me know if I need to elaborate further.

My question: is this normal? Did any of y'all feel this way before? How did you respond to it?
 
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  • #2
You are just picking up what your social environment is, part of being Human.
There is an old quote; "Get all the advice you can, then do as you damn please." Something to consider.
 
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  • #3
It is perfectly normal to wish to pursue what you enjoy. However, unless you are independently wealthy like Prince Louis de Broglie, you should consider what course of action will put food on the table and balance one against the other.
 
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  • #4
Tom.G said:
You are just picking up what your social environment is, part of being Human.
There is an old quote; "Get all the advice you can, then do as you damn please." Something to consider.
I like this advice the best, I think I'll go and do as I damn please now.
 
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  • #5
Phys12 said:
My question: is this normal? Did any of y'all feel this way before? How did you respond to it?
I think this kind of conflict is perfectly normal. I too had such period, when reality came knocking on the door. Just take this conflict as fuel instead of trouble.
 
  • #6
I'm a first year undergraduate so I can't really asnwer your question, I'd just share one of my favorite quotes from Einstein:

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn a living at
it. One should earn one’s living by work of which one is sure one is
capable. Only when we do not have to be accountable to anyone can we
find joy in scientific endeavor.
 

Related to How do you reconcile performance and curiosity?

1. How do you define performance and curiosity in the context of scientific research?

Performance refers to the ability to achieve desired outcomes or goals, while curiosity refers to the desire to explore and learn new things. In scientific research, performance can be measured through the quality and quantity of results, while curiosity can be measured through the level of engagement and interest in a particular topic.

2. Is it possible to balance performance and curiosity in scientific research?

Yes, it is possible to balance performance and curiosity in scientific research. While performance is important for producing tangible results, curiosity is crucial for driving innovation and discovery. A balance between the two can lead to both successful outcomes and new insights.

3. How do you encourage curiosity without sacrificing performance?

One way to encourage curiosity without sacrificing performance is to create a supportive and open-minded research environment. This can involve fostering a culture of collaboration, providing resources for exploration and experimentation, and allowing for flexibility in research methods and approaches.

4. Can curiosity hinder performance in scientific research?

In some cases, curiosity can hinder performance in scientific research. This can happen when curiosity leads to distractions or deviations from the research goals, or when there is a lack of balance between curiosity and performance. However, when managed effectively, curiosity can enhance performance by driving creativity and problem-solving.

5. How do you prioritize between performance and curiosity in scientific research?

Prioritizing between performance and curiosity in scientific research depends on the specific goals and objectives of the research project. In some cases, performance may need to take precedence in order to meet deadlines or produce desired results. In other cases, curiosity may be given more weight in order to explore new avenues and generate innovative ideas. Ultimately, finding a balance between the two is key for successful scientific research.

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