…people get the mind and quality of brain that they deserve through their actions in life.
[Leonardo da Vinci’s] mind, he decided, worked best when he had several different projects at hand, allowing him to build all kinds of connections between them
Do not envy those who seem to be naturally gifted; it is often a curse, as such types rarely learn the value of diligence and focus, and they pay for this later in life.
Practical knowledge is the ultimate commodity, and is what will pay you dividends for decades to come—far more than the paltry increase in pay you might receive at some seemingly lucrative position that offers fewer learning opportunities. This means that you move toward challenges that will toughen and improve you, where you will get the most objective feedback on your performance and progress. You do not choose apprenticeships that seem easy and comfortable.
Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life, which makes them constantly search for distractions and short-circuits the learning process.
People who do not practice and learn new skills never gain a proper sense of proportion or self-criticism. They think they can achieve anything without effort and have little contact with reality.
…concentrated practice over time cannot fail but produce results.
Mistakes and failures are precisely your means of education. They tell you about your own inadequacies.
Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on cliches and stay there, until the spirit dies as well.
We tend to laugh at people prior to the twentieth century who did not yet believe in evolution and who saw the world as only 6,000 years old, but imagine how people will be laughing at us for the naive beliefs we hold in the twenty-first century!
The feeling that we have endless time to complete our work has an insidious and debilitating effect on our minds. Our attention and thoughts become diffused. Our lack of intensity makes it hard for the brain to jolt into a higher gear. The connections do not occur. For this purpose you must always try to work with deadlines, whether real or manufactured.
The real thinker sees the connections, grasps the essence of the life force operating in every individual instance. Why should any individual stop at poetry, or find art unrelated to science, or narrow his or her intellectual interests? The mind was designed to connect things, like a loom that knits together all the threads of a fabric.
…the Ideal of the Universal Man—a person so steeped in all forms of knowledge that his mind grows closer to the reality of nature itself and sees secrets that are invisible to most people.
You cannot ultimately understand why you are drawn to certain activities or forms of knowledge. This cannot really be verbalized or explained. It is simply a fact of nature.