The scientific mindset is a great way to better understand the world and how to adapt to it. This mindset is not only useful in colleges and laboratories, but also in our everyday life.
By learning to be a more scientific thinker, we respect the facts, question our beliefs, practice our knowledge in the real world, and never stop learning new things.
This mindset can significantly benefit ours lives by teaching us how to adapt effectively to our always changing world.
I believe that anyone can benefit from adopting a more “scientific mindset.” Here are the main principles in how to be a more scientific thinker:
Respect the facts and evidence.
Scientific minds respect the truth. They look for facts and evidence to support their views, because that’s the only knowledge they can reliably use to navigate their world and better their lives.
A mind that seeks truth is better than a mind that is filled with delusion. No matter if the truth is pleasant or painful, the truth – in the long run – is what sets us free from ignorance and suffering.
Despite the power of truth, many people are afraid of it.
They ignore facts and evidence that go against their assumptions, prejudices, and desires. They aren’t willing to admit when they are wrong. And they cling to a worldview that isn’t congruent with the reality around them because they aren’t ready to accept it yet.
A good scientist must be open-minded and willing to accept reality for what it is at all times. They must respect the facts and evidence they encounter on a daily basis.
“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it.”
“We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
Question your beliefs.
As much as we want to know the truth, we must also recognize that the human mind is prone to error.
The most intelligent people are still biased in one way or another. Everyone makes mistakes. So true intelligence requires that we remain skeptical of our beliefs at all times, because you never know when you might be wrong.
Doubt is a healthy and necessary aspect of a learning and growing mind. It causes us to seek more knowledge and information, especially information that goes against our pre-existing beliefs.
Anyone that is completely certain of what they know, or thinks they know everything, is lying to themselves. Being humble and modest about our beliefs keeps us firmly grounded in reality.
“I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything.”
Thomas Henry Huxley
“It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible.”
“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Practice your knowledge in the real world.
The most important knowledge is knowledge that is practical and useful to our lives.
Don’t get trapped in philosophy and theory if the answers you get have no bearing on how to live your life better. Sometimes we put too much focus on information and not enough on putting that information into action.
Results should always be the main goal. And often what works for us is a better gauge of truth than what doesn’t work for us.
Be practical with the knowledge you gain. Test and experiment with your ideas in the real world. Pay attention to what happens. If your ideas aren’t bringing you the results you want, then you may need to try alternatives.
Using our knowledge effectively is often a game of trial-and-error. Keep what works, and discard what doesn’t. This is something a scientific mind does well.
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.”
Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut
“Pragmatism asks its usual question. ‘Grant an idea or belief to be true,’ it says, ‘what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone’s actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth’s value in experiential terms?'”
“Knowledge is treasure, but practice is the key to it.
Never stop learning new things.
A scientific mind tries to learn something new everyday. They realize that there is infinite knowledge in the world and we can never know it all, but we can always discover more.
Some people believe that they stop learning after high school or college. They feel it’s no longer necessary to seek new knowledge, like read books, watch documentaries, experience new things, or do research. This attitude is what keeps people stuck in the same old patterns of their life.
We cannot better our choices and habits unless we are always willing to learn new things. Learning is the foundation of all growth and self-improvement. A mind that never stops learning can potentially overcome any obstacle in life.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.”
Mary Catherine Bateson
Find out all the tools, techniques, and attitudes that help achieve happiness in The Science of Self Improvement.
Steven Handel is a long-time writer on psychology and self-improvement. He blogs frequently at The Emotion Machine and is also the author of the brand new e-book The Science of Self Improvement. He encourages you to follow him on Facebook and Twitter, where he frequently shares new articles, as well as answers people’s questions about the human mind and how it works.