“Time makes more converts than reason” – Thomas Paine
Have you ever received a rude email or a negative comment on your work? I’m sure your first reaction is one of anger and the desire to strike back, and it is a normal emotion to have. It is your lizard brain at work, as Seth Godin would put it. But we have evolved higher cognitive functions, and we can use them to censor our inner lizard. If you weren’t born yesterday, you know that lashing out back in anger is totally counter-productive. Let some time go by, so your desire for revenge lessens. In the end you will calm down and realise it wasn’t such a big deal in the first place.
When my PhD supervisor and I published a paper about 20 years ago that went against the current common wisdom in the field, all hell broke lose and he was the subject of very strong criticism. Luckily, as the junior partner of the collaboration, I flew under the radar. Many years later, a review article in the scientific journal Nature described the theory once so unpopular as having “the most support in the community”.
Last week, as I set my tripod on Silverknowes beach to take the picture above, the wind was blowing, creating many ripples on the water. The landscape looked quite agitated. But by using a long exposure time of about 90 seconds, the motion of the water ripples averaged out, and the overall landscape acquired a peaceful appearance. Time has a calming effect indeed.