Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

You may feel productive, but are you creative?

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I heard a simple story about the famous pianist Arthur Rubinstein. If he didn’t practice for one day, “he” would know. If he failed to practice for two days, the “orchestra” would know. But if he didn’t practice for three days, the “world” would know. What would happen if we replaced “practice” with “learning”?

Photo by Kevin Jarrett
Photo by Kevin Jarrett

If we forget to learn something new for one day, will we care?

What if we forget to learn for two days in a row? Who cares?

And what if we begin to learn occasionally, only when it is necessary, do we still know what “caring for learning” even means?

Learning becomes hard, your curiosity diminishes, and your learning mind becomes increasingly dependent on what others know and do, not on you.

Day after day we are capable of filling our agenda with tasks upon tasks which gives us the impression of being highly productive. However, what led us, as a species, to where we are now doesn’t depend on our productivity as much as it depended on our creativity.

Being highly productive doesn’t mean being highly creative.

But if you invest in daily learning, and cultivate boring moments of mind-wandering, the creative spark will hit you and you begin to care more about learning.

”Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.” (Jim Rohn)

In my case, I will develop a specific learning habit.

As a knowledge worker, learning is part of the job. But academic responsibilities can fulfill my time with meetings, responding to emails, preparing reports, reviewing papers, thus, becoming a never-ending cycle of tasks dominating my creative life and I run the risk of gradually losing my learning mind. I want to avoid this by creating a habit of learning new material for one hour every day. And it starts today.

What will you do about your daily learning?

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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