Neil deGrasse Tyson is arguably the world’s most successful and the most talked about astrophysicist ever. Thousands of students around the globe look up to him as a role model. Neil recently featured in Tim Ferris’ podcast, ‘The Tim Ferris Show’ where he talked about some of the things students and their parents must keep in mind if they are to lead a successful and happy life. Here are some of the takeaways from the podcast;
- Don’t led grades distract you from the actual goal.
Tyson says, “After your second job, no one asks you what your grades were. Ask any 30-year old person when the last time was that someone asked them about their GPA. They won’t even remember.”
It is undeniable the grades do play a role in our lives. It is up to us to decide how big of a role they must play. Keep your focus on your passion, your goals and that driving force in you that makes you strive to become better every day rather than running after grades
2. Problem-solving skills are the future.
“As a student, your grades likely aren’t as important as you believe them to be. What matters is: Are you a good problem solver? Are you moral? Are you a hard worker? Are you a good leader? Do you have insights into the field? These are the questions that matter.”
3. Curiosity matters more than theory.
Neil believes that curiosity is the most important quality that must be incorporated into children. He says, when you learn how to be curious, you create an arc of learning that continues for the rest of your life. Instead of focusing on grades, pursue your interests with extracurricular activities.
4. Parents must do their part
Tyson wants parents to help inculcate the art of reasoning and problem-solving in their children. He also believes that parents must encourage students to follow their intuitions.
He says, “Expose your child to a wide variety of fields, and once they develop an interest, do everything in your power to encourage them to pursue it. An easy way to do this is by buying them books on the subject.”
5. Neil on intellectual development.
How did Neil’s parents encourage his intellectual development? They would often take him and his siblings to the Hayden Planetarium and on other educational outings – to the museum, plays, Yankee games, or to the aquarium
The main objective of these outings: observing adults with expertise “They wanted to expose the three of us to as much as they could so that when we figured out what we wanted to be when we grew up, it would have a certain authenticity of origin”
6. Parents must not discourage a kid’s interest.
So many parents force their children to pursue specific paths. Neil believes, “There are so many occasions where kids aren’t really doing what their heart wants them to do; they’re doing what their family wants them to do… That was not going on in our household. We had a free expression of interest.”
7. Schools need to do better.
Neil argues, “There should be a class where you realize how and why science works and what the method and tools of science do. For many, science is just this body of knowledge, but really its a way of querying nature”
8. Three Aspects of the ambition tree.
On an ending note, Neil talks about the three qualities that he tries to introduce in young students that he meets. These are the three aspects of the ‘ambition tree’ . Neil advises students to ask themselves three questions before they decide on anything;
a. Are you confident in your ability?
b. What are you doing to boost your abilities?
c. How far do you want to take this and what is your end goal?
Neil deGrasse Tyson is definitely one of the greatest minds in the world. Surely, when he talks about education, we must listen in, take notes and act on his advice. There is certainly a lot that remains to be done in order to improve our education system. However, we must each and every day, take a step forward, no matter how small.
Ankush is an Indian student, an avid writer, reader and an ambitious coder.