“We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” – Albert Einstein
One of the major lessons and I’m taking away from science is the value of trying. It is clear that the way I was approaching life wasn’t the right way. Or at least not the right way for me, or otherwise I wouldn’t have ended in that messy and dark place that I found myself in.
And when you get lost like that, the most difficult thing is to decide what direction to take, especially when you don’t know where your next destination is. You know you are in the wrong path, and that in order to get to a different place you need to change the direction you’re walking in, but what direction is the correct one? And how was I supposed to know that anyway? I had been doing “this thing” –acting like this, thinking like this, behaving like this– all my life, I didn’t know any other way of doing it!
This brought a lot of frustration, anxiety and desperation. But it was exactly that, desperation, what lead me to make a move.
To be bold and take the risk. To stop doing what was making me miserable to pursue something different. I wasn’t sure what that “something different” was, and I still don’t, but I’ve learned to be OK with that. With not being sure of something and still going for it. Because the only way of knowing what’s right is to try.
Before quitting my PhD I spent a long time trying to figure out what I really wanted. I came up with a few ideas, but I didn’t know whether these ideas were good or bad. However, the certainty of needing to change was stronger than my fear of the unknown. And then there was science.
Trial and error.
The scientific method:
Observe -> hypothesis -> test -> results.
Do these results corroborate my hypothesis or not?
New hypothesis -> new tests -> new results.
And so now I’m testing a few hypothesis. The hypothesis of translation as a potential new career is giving me positive results so far, although it is only early stages. Meditating and writing are becoming really good experiments as well. They are proving to be very powerful tools to change the way I look at things.
But the best thing about trying something different is the new things you discover along the way. The new people you meet. The new lessons you learn. And how much you get to know you when you throw yourself into the unknown.
So I might not know where I’ll end up, but there is one thing I’m sure of: I’m going to keep trying, I’m going to keep learning. Because I might have quit my PhD but I have definitely not quit experimenting.