I love reading fantasy and science-fiction books, and from time to time I take a look at some authors’ blogs, specially when a new book is coming. I had just finished reading John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War“, so I went to his blog to check on some news. And there I found a very inspiring post written by Mike Cole, another fantasy writer who also happens to have released a book a few days ago.
If you take the time to read it (and you really should), you will find a story about overcoming problems, about making the best of any possible situation and succeeding. “He dug in and fought. He closed his eyes, grit his teeth and put one foot in front of the other. And when he’d opened them again, he’d won.”, Cole says. During your day-by-day you will find many problems. Research projects have plenty of problems and of very different types. You get stuck with a non-functioning code, your paper gets rejected, funding is cut down, or you just have a bad day and you think your work is worthless. But no matter what, you have to struggle, improving and working hard. “Because. Sometimes, you win“.
But the idea I find most revealing in the post is the one that gives the name to this post: “The sea doesn’t care about you“, meaning that when a problem arises, you can’t expect anybody else to come and solve it for you. Because everyone has his own problems to deal with. You just can’t sit there and say “All the bad stuff happens to me”, whimpering and doing nothing. Living in a world populated by seven billion people, surrounded by at least 176 billion galaxies. You just can’t assume all the bad things happen to you. So the best way to solve them is by just taking action. Action like, for example, start improving the way you code.
And any time you feel like you can’t go on because your research is dumb (which I can tell you, it’s a very common thought), read this post about the importance of stupidity in scientific research. And remember: Shit happens. To everyone. But how you deal with it is what can make the difference between success and failure.