"Standing on the shoulders of giants" was said by Newton. It means one who discovers by building on previous discoveries.
Here is my story. From the second year of my graduate study, I started searching topics for dissertation. I knew the general ideas of previous students' work in my lab, but I did not read or carefully read their papers. For the reason that I could possibly find something more interesting/significant, I started searching topics in totally new areas. More than one year passed, I was still searching. Even I worked very hard and gave a lot of time for thinking, the new idea was just not coming.
Looking back, I think ignoring previous people's work is a huge mistake. For the options I'm not sure about and if time is an issue, it is a good idea to do something safe. This is a big lesson I learned from that.
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