There’s a few areas of science that I recommend people get into that might at first seem unrelated to self-development but have proven to help me time and again:
Cosmology (astronomy) and quantum physics/mechanics.
You don’t need to be a mathematician or brainy-ass scientist to understand the basic principles (or otherwise I wouldn’t have a chance of getting it). I’m currently reading Brief answers to the big questions by Stephen Hawking and it’s mostly comprehensible; like quantum physics for dummies.
And it’s this book that’s helped me clarify an idea that I preach on about at some length: that it’s impossible to accurately predict the future so there’s no point in living life in such a way as to need your goals/plans to work out the way you hope. That you’re doomed if your quality of life depends on the future going the way you predict it to.
This book introduced me to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. In a nutshell, it describes how it’s not possible to measure something (e.g. a particle) completely accurately, ever! You can either measure its location or its speed, but not both at the same time.
If you try to measure it’s location – a single point in time, like a photograph – you’ll have no idea how fast it’s moving (or where to). And if you measure it’s speed/direction – a moving wavelength, like looking at the speedometer in your car – you’ll have no idea where it is currently located.
To be able to predict the future, you’d need to be able to measure where every single particle in the Universe is going to end up later on. Even if you had a computer smart enough to do this (which would never happen – the computer itself would need to be the size of a planet at least), it could never be accurate because it couldn’t simultaneously measure the speed and location of the particles.
So it’s absolutely ludicrous to think that your puny human brain is capable of achieving the impossible. Yet people do this all the time.
The predict how their date is going to end up; how the job application will be viewed; how likely it is that their business will be successful; how long it will take to lose weight… and on and on and on.
Some people live in a constant state of prediction; the anxiety of nearly always worrying about the future and guessing how it will turn out. And worst of all, they believe their predictions!
Put it this way: given the number of variables involved, it’s easier to predict next week’s lottery numbers than it is to predict exactly how a conversation with someone will play out.
So instead of constantly kidding yourself into thinking you can calculate something that all the world’s computers working together would not be able to do, just take the far more simple approach: get into it and see what happens.
Start that business. Ask that girl on a date. Drop and do a few push ups. Fly to another country.
You are a problem-solving machine: one of the most intelligent and adaptable animals to ever exist in this world. You’ll probably figure it out once you get in there, or you’ll at least learn valuable skills for a better attempt next time.
Fuck long-term goals, hopes and dreams. Just get stuck into taking valued actions now, and let all the trillions of variables involved play out the way they’re going to.
Enjoy the unpredictable show!