A scientist is an individual who uses scientific methods to achieve a given objective. Scientists try to figure out how things happen, are very curious and like to solve problems, and they observe, measure and communicate their findings. Great scientists have vision, a passion for results, are risk takers, resilient, curious, open minded and free of bias, seek solutions, are patient and persistent, have strong observational skills, are purposeful, resourceful, good communicators, persistent, creative, critical thinkers, courageous, and objective.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Emerson
In order to build your life, you must have a vision for your life. What do you want in life? Have you clearly identified these wants? Have you developed a personal vision statement for your life to guide and direct your steps? Without a vision you will continue to drift like a ship without a rudder. A personal vision statement captures what you would like to be, have and do. It defines where you want to be in the future and reflects your values, goals, and purpose. Your vision statement will answer the questions – where you want to be, your optimal desired future state, the movie of your life, i.e. a mental picture of what you want to achieve within a specific time frame, and provide direction and inspiration for the journey. Take the time to write down your personal vision statement. Building your life like a scientist requires you to have passion for results because results are the name of the dream.
A great scientist is a risk taker. Risk takers know that they will win sometimes and fail sometimes. Risk takers are willing to learn from their mistakes and fail forward. Risk takers take the chance of investing in themselves with the hope of reaping the fruits in the future. Take the necessary risks in starting that business, in writing that book, in building that school, hospital or clinic, and so on. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Google said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Winston Churchill repeated a grade during elementary school and, when he entered Harrow, was placed in the lowest division of the lowest class. Later, he twice failed the entrance exam to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He was defeated in his first effort to serve in Parliament. He became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up."
Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, received a "C" on his college paper detailing his idea for a reliable overnight delivery service. His professor at Yale told him, "Well, Fred, the concept is interesting and well formed, but in order to earn better than a "C" grade, your ideas also have to be feasible.”
Thomas Edison's teachers said he was, "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was seven. His parents thought he was "sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math!
Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded. R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on. You can see from the various stories that success does not happen overnight, and you don’t have to discount yourself or talk yourself out of the great opportunities that lie ahead of you.
When you don’t give up and keep pursuing your goals and dreams, there is a greater chance of succeeding when you keep on keeping on. Building your life as a scientist requires you to be resourceful by looking for ways to explore various possibilities; being purposeful in all you do with the belief that you can contribute to changing your part the world; being persistent in the midst of challenges and adversity; not giving up when things are not going the way you want; being creative in using your imagination to resolve challenges and problems; and maintaining an open mind to explore different avenues and possibilities.