In Europe, it always comes back to the Ancient Greeks, doesn’t it? The advice to know yourself was carved on the entrance of the temple of Apollo in Delphi some time in the 4th century BC. But in Ancient China in the 5th century BC, the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu already held this knowledge to be of paramount importance.
How hard can it be to know yourself? It is, if you never look.
I am often impressed by some young students’ insight of what they want from their life. But I am also often surprised by the total lack of self-reflection of others. Those set themselves to stumble along the way, big time. There won’t always be a supervisor to pick them up and set them back on track again.
Studying physics teaches you how to think. So apply it, immediately, to yourself.
Why? Because people change. We think we won’t, but we will. We do. And sometimes, a lot! Nowadays, I see us all like rivers: always the same river, never the same water. Our experiences and learning change us and it is imperative that we acknowledge that. For regularly in our lives we will have to act upon that knowledge. What was good at that time isn’t suitable any more. That we’ve out-grown our current job. That we’re not interested in our field any longer.
Best to keep an eye on the water to pick up a change in the current…