Inspirational Quotes for Knowledge Workers’ Personal Development

Here are some thought-provoking and inspirational quotes that are relevant to personal development.

  • In late years Einstein often told me about the problems on which he was working at the time. There was never a blind step. When he dropped any direction, it was only because he realized that it would introduce ununderstandable, arbitrary factors. Sometimes it happened that Einstein was faced with the difficulty that the mathematical tools were not far enough developed to allow a real clarification; nonetheless he would not lose sight of his problem and would often succeed in finding a way eventually, in which the seemingly insuperable difficulties could be surmounted. (Max Wertheimer (1959). Productive Thinking. (Michael Wertheimer, Ed.), p. 233)
  • You will not know your way around in tomorrow’s world unless you know your way around knowledge. (Carl Bereiter (2002). Liberal Education in a Knowledge Society, p. 26)
  • I have always advised my children and students not to worry so much about saving money or about climbing up the next run on the ladder of their career, an attitude which seems to be an obsession with highly motivated people, concerned about economic security. It is much more important to work at perfecting yourself and thereby ensure your usefulness no matter what fate does to you. (Hans Seyle (1978), The Stress of Life, p. 125)
  • Both good and poor students tended to spontaneously utter assessments of their understanding. However, poor students tended to utter uniformly positive self-assessments (e.g. “Yep. That makes sense”) even though their subsequent performance indicated that they really did not understand the material. On the other hand, good students tended to monitor their understanding more accurately and frequently noted failures to understand (e.g. “Wait. I don’t see how they got that”). Accuracy in self-monitoring appears to be correlated with learning. (Kurt VanLehn (1996). Annual Review of Psychology47(1), 513-539.)
  • Paradoxically, it is smart to realize that one is confused—as opposed to being confused without knowing it. For that stimulates us to apply our intellect to altering or repairing the defective process. Yet we dislike and disparage the sense of confusion, not appreciating the quality of this recognition. (Marvin Minsky (1986). The Society of Mind, p. 69).
  • There are no subject matters; no branches of learning—or, rather, of inquiry: there are only problems, and the urge to solve them. (Karl Popper (1983). Realism and the Aim of Science, p. 5)
  • The mere formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skills. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science. (Aaron Sloman (2009). Understanding causation in robots, animals and children: Hume’ s way and Kant’™s way.)
  • According to some, our most successful theories are extensions of our senses (Adapted from Imre Lakatos (1978). The methodology of scientific research programmes: Philosophical papers (Vol. 1, p. 37).)
  • The deepest advances in science are those that extend our ontology substantively. (Aaron Sloman (2011)  What’s information, for an organism or intelligent machine? How can a machine or organism mean? In G. Dodig-Crnkovic & M. Burgin (Eds.), Information and Computation (pp. 1-32).)
  • E = mc2.  (Albert Einstein. This relates to the previous bullet.)
  • The opposite of play is not work—the opposite of play is depression. (Stuart Brown & Christopher Vaughan (2009). Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul (240 p.))
  • Practice can lead to mental processes and structures that are vastly different [from] those that we might develop after only a little experience in a domain. And yet, the power of practice is often overlooked. (Craig P. Speelman & Kim Kirsner (2005). Beyond the learning curve: The construction of mind, p. 238.)
  • [Motivation to be effective] is moderate but persistent, and in this, too, we can discern a feature that is favorable for adaptation. Strong motivation reinforces learning in a narrow sphere, whereas moderate motivation is more conducive to an exploratory and experimental attitude which leads to competent interactions in general, without reference to an immediate pressing need. (Robert W. White (1959). Motivation reconsidered: the concept of competencePsychological review, 66, 297-333.)
  • Le talent, ça n’existe pas. Le talent, c’est d’avoir envie de faire quelque chose. [Talent does not exist. Talent is wanting to accomplish something.] (Jacques Brel, exercising his poetic license to make an important point.)
  • It was amazing how much extracurricular work [Winston S. Churchill] had been able to get through even during his Chancellorship [November 1924 – June 1929]. [He finished several volumes of The World Crisis: 1911-1918 (and wrote a 450-pager from scratch). He started to write his autobiography, My Early Life, artistic painting and to build a small cottage and walls around his huge garden.] (Roy Jenkins (2001), Churchill: A biography, p. 420.)
  • This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repair’d in some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended for me. Reading was the only amusement I allow’d myself. I spent no time in taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind; and my industry in my business continu’d as indefatigable as it was necessary (Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.)
  • The primary gauge of expertise is transfer performance. […] How to train to promote transfer is  the most fundamental challenge of education (Mark A. McDaniel (2007). Transfer: Rediscovering a central concept. In H. L. Roediger, Y. Dudai, & S. M. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Science of memory: Concepts.)
  • If intellect is divine, then, in comparison with man, the life according to it is divine in comparison with human life. But we must not follow those who advise us, being men, to think of human things, and, being mortal, of mortal things, but must, so far as we can, make ourselves immortal, and strain every nerve to live in accordance with the best thing in us; for even if it be small in bulk, much more does it in power and worth surpass everything. (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Book X).

CogZest helps you make practical use of potent ideas, such as the ones quoted in this document, for your professional development.

Like the cognitive scientist, Max Wertheimer, quoted above, Luc P. Beaudoin interviews, studies and aims to help beautiful minds.

We help you apply cognitive science and information technology to improve your cognitive productivity—in plain English or French.

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Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

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