Perspective Changes Everything

No matter what it is that you are doing with your life right now, at one point or the other, you may have experienced a moment in which you were not completely engaged with the task at hand, or maybe your mind wandered off to a variety of places. This is normal, my friend. In fact, it’s a part of being human. Not every high school student will be amazed by the immense knowledge their teacher will bestow upon them. Not every Fortune 500 company worker will appreciate the seemingly overwhelming projects their boss will assign them. Let’s be real. Different individuals have distinct interests that are more than likely tend to carve out their realities into the most pragmatic way possible.

Let’s start with a basic and painfully simple question: Have you ever felt like NOT doing your homework and doing what you love instead (if it’s not homework)?

As cheesy as it sounds, what if you loved your homework? No, really. What if you had such intellectual pleasure from reading seven poems by William Blake in British Literature? What is you were truly amazed by all the natural phenomena in the universe that physics could govern? What if you viewed every single thing in life (including homework, tasks, and the things you love) with the same state of awe? This curiosity could take one so far, that he or she may not even be bothered by the simple act of homework. What may first seem like an infinitely long list of tasks to do may eventually become a simple pebble in the grass that one can kick away. The goal of being extremely efficient with one’s time, energy, and resources may as well be accomplished.

Ask yourself: What is your definition of a genius? Is it simply someone who memorizes 1000 SAT flash cards front and back, or is it someone that truly enjoys learning about the human body and actually understands conceptual information? It is clearly the second person, unless you consider a “genius” to be someone with a merely strong neural circuit.

Perhaps the most famous quote to put this into perspective is when Einstein says: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

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Picture adapted by the Imaginary Foundation. 

Imagination is what governs intellectual pleasure and allows for curiosity to grow into one’s natural state of being. It opens up infinite possibilities through which one could probe the “adjacent possible,” as Steven Johnson refers to it. Moreover, imagination and curiosity intermingle with each other to form serendipitous encounters with new ideas, that could potentially be applied to produce more dopamine in the brain, and an overall rewarding experience. It is all about perspective, though. If one were to view their work in such a way that poses an interesting challenge, or captivating puzzle to be solved, then that work would not be considered “work.” To become high-performance individuals, we could transform our realities by simply having a childlike state of wonder for whatever we study or learn. Jason Silva, the futurist and performance philosopher explains this in the most interesting way, referring to the fruit of curiosity as a “mindgasm, or an exhilarating neurostorm of intense intellectual pleasure, fully revelatory understanding of a certain topic, involuntary contractions of brain muscles, usually accompanied by the overwhelming sensation of truth proximity, visionarism, and the state of awe.”

The only challenge that remains is to experience these heightened state of awareness more frequently.

Changing perspective on our work lives may be a daunting task, as it requires a lot of patience, diligence, and more importantly, the willingness of the person to redefine his or her intentions and expectations. However, it is certainly not an impossible task. Through meditative techniques such as Mindfulness, one could achieve this flow state in a reasonable amount of time. Yoga and challenging physical exercises can also produce these results. Regardless of the method chosen by the individual, being curious is really a magical remedy for having the motivation, or drive to achieve something meaningful in life.

Inspiring Videos – The Ecstasy of Curiosity by Jason Silva

 

The Powerful Impact of Arts in our Education

As high school students, a lot of times, we don’t really have the motivation to complete our school work, because we may prioritize other things like social media over our academic requirements. However, this isn’t just a phase that we go through. It’s more of a state of mind that remains for a very long time, if it is not addressed soon enough. The main issue here is with our schools that institutionalize us so much to follow the norms that we just don’t ever get out of our heads. This causes us to lose our creative energy and waste time.

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There is a solution to this, though. Recent studies have shown significant academic improvement linked to participating in the arts, whether that be in painting, drawing, writing poetry, playing and producing music, or even inventing something. According to the Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition published by Harvard University, “an interest in a performing art leads to a high state of motivation that produces the sustained attention necessary to improve performance and the training of attention that leads to improvement in other domains of cognition.” Also, there are links between musical training and the ability to manipulate information in both working and long-term memory. The arts are clearly something we need to invest our time into, so we can gain all that creative energy to apply to our subjects in school.

Nowadays, pop culture and social media has made it really difficult to truly appreciate and delve into the fine arts, although many people still do. Taking a break from the loud, disruptive world to admire a work of art, or practice a musical piece is definitely worth the time. Even on a weekday when there are a bunch of assignments piled up, the brain needs time to unwind and rejuvenate itself for the following days. Aesthetics are definitely the solution to having more creativity, and juxtaposing ideas into a more sensible approach. So, I encourage you to find something you are truly passionate about, besides the academic pursuits, and rekindle it.

Money Isn’t An Excuse

Awhile back, I just realized how lucky high school students are in this country. We have access to so many resources, besides the library. Everything you want to know more about can be read online. I’m not trying to state the obvious, but there is literally no excuse for students to not know information about their area of interest, and I am here to tell you that money, is definitely not an excuse.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has an open courseware webpage where students can take free online courses about various areas of interest. These courses can be taken at the undergraduate and the graduate level. The best part about it, just like the Stanford University Lectures on YouTube is that you don’t have to have much initial knowledge about the subject, unless there’s a prerequisite. Even high school students can take these courses. If your dream was always to go to a prestigious school like MIT, you can get a head start on college by taking these courses,

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I know that a lot of students my age have a lot of work as it is , already because of the advanced placement classes they may be taking. However, you can squeeze in a good 20 minutes each day for researching and acquiring knowledge out of curiosity. Trust me this stuff will pay off!

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/life-sciences/