Even extremely talented and hard-working students, who have at some point obtained the solution to their problem, will shut their books and look for something else. Studies actually show that more and more graduates are working in different fields than the ones for which they have received education. By doing so they miss out on great opportunities. It usually takes a brilliant teacher to impress them to the degree that they will pursue their dreams, or a great deal of determination so that they will continue along their chosen path. And this is usually what makes the difference between good and greatness.
When we say greatness we are referring to Nobel Prize-material greatness. If you want to achieve greatness in your life, or create something that will become more than a footnote in history, you must try harder than the rest. It is a matter of will-power. For example, after learning all the elements of sculpting, one must master the topic in order to create something truly unique. Also, while text books and teachers can ease our way in a subject, it is up to us to discover new things by using our own style or using a different train of thoughts (also referred to as lateral thinking).
Choose the Right Problem
There are many problems in this world, but very few people that choose to deal with them. Most researchers prefer to waste their time on studies that will never be interesting for the public eye, simply because it is easier. While we can understand that simply drifting along doing what comes to us is easier, brilliant scientists will spend an enormous amount of time examining problems, and looking for solutions. Hard-work and an open-mind are traits that most scientists have, but although Newton stated that if everyone worked as hard as he had, they would have similar results, hard-work alone is not enough. Many people actually work very hard, but they do not work intelligently. In other words, they slog on things which will probably not matter two weeks from now. The key is to work-hard, the right way.
Work on It at the Right Time
If you are prepared to dedicate your life to work, you should not only choose the right problem to work on, but also the right time to do it. In general, it is the first person to invent something who gets all the credit. Therefore, working on a problem, when it is needed is vital. For example, Einstein spent most of his later life researching a unified theory, but died before he could produce any significant results. Some believe that he attacked the problem too early. This is not the only case. One would be inclined to believe that it’s a matter of luck, but as Pasteur pointed out, “Luck favors the prepared mind”. How else could we explain why so many scientific breakthroughs were done by the same people?
Prepare Your Mind for it
Most scientists “were led” to the result of their studies. They have intensely thought about a problem for several years, until it finally materialized in something tangible, due to hard-work. When he was 14, Einstein was already wondering what a light wave would look like if he had the speed of light. He already knew that Maxwell’s theory was wrong, but he required the proof of this. In the end, he managed to develop the theory of relativity. In other words, in order to succeed, a scientist must prepare himself with the necessary background.
Having Vision and Knowing How to Sell it
As you may probably already guess, it is very important to have vision of you want to become, and what you want to do. No vision means no chance of getting brilliant work done. This vision will also enable you to build on top of others. As Newton once said “If I had seen farther than others it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants”. So instead of trying to do all the work himself, he relied on significant steps that others before him had already taken.
The last, and probably most important step (especially in today’s society) is knowing how to sell your ideas. Of course, many scientists will think that this is beneath them, but in the end, nobody can discover your brilliant work if you don’t show it to them. Presentations usually consist of published papers, impromptu situations or prepared talks. A good scientists should master all, because a poor presentation might lead to little success.