The scientist's eight surefire steps to self sabotagePosted on June 24, 2022
I saw an interesting video recently talking about Self Sabotage. It was talking about creative work generally,
but I see a lot of scientists with these habits. They even tell me these are good habits! Without realizing
that they are following the guidebook for "How to Self Sabotage".
The video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKM2jE2PygY
And I wound up drafting a version for scientists.
The scientist's eight surefire steps to self sabotage
- For all you do: be original, start from scratch, never read the literature or talk to anyone. You might get scooped before you begin!. You cant plagiarize if you never read anything.
- Feel guilty; Set the expectations so high with a time frame so impossible that you can feel guilty forever. That's how aspiration works!
- Perfection in Everything you do! Things are only done when it's perfect. Not before. Even if it cripples your young collaborator's career (because they get no outputs).
- Do ALL the literature research first, and then do more. If you don't know everything in the literature, How Dare you even attempt to write the introduction.
- Go big! Forget that science is iterative and derivative. You have to work on the biggest challenge that is well outside your wheelhouse. This is the only way you can impress anyone. People only care how big your dreams are, and not on what you can deliver.
- Work in secret, do things completely by yourself, and don't get feedback early on! Don't want to get scooped, right? Asking for help is a sign of weakness. Maintain creative control. You have to be an expert in everything to be successful.
- Compare yourself to the very best and successful. Survival of the "fittest" right? If you're not number one, you're number none.
- Postpone gratification, never celebrate the little things. Got to stay hungry. And whatever you achieved could have been better or done faster anyway, right?
Questions or comments? @ me on Twitter @happy_khan
The banner image is an AI generated picture (Midjourney) with prompt; 'self sabotage'. You can share and adapt this image following a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence