Stories of research, nutrition, and nature

How to Become a Doer?

Just read an article which contains good points especially to anyone who does abstract work. “Why can’t we get anything done?” It’s from 2000 but seems to hold true still. Some excerpts:

Measurement has become a tyranny that ensures that nothing gets done.

Studies about the way that meetings actually work demonstrate that negative people are perceived as being smarter than positive people — that is, being critical is interpreted as a sign of intelligence. You see this attitude in business all the time: The fastest way for me to seem smart is to cut you down. So you come up with an idea, and I come up with a thousand different reasons why that idea won’t work. Now everyone sees you as dumb and me as smart — and we’ve created an environment where no one wants to come up with ideas.

Learning from mistakes (and successes) of the past is useful, but there are so many mistakes that have been made that it’s impossible to learn everything. Besides, knowledge is not useful if you don’t do anything with it. (We know that from health education, for instance.)

Many people, myself included, are often paralysed with fear of failing. Doing things in the real world is scary because it inevitably means making mistakes at some point. It’s easier to just think and talk. In research, this equates to countless literature reviews and perhaps small-scale lab experiments. Going into real world means that there are lots of confounding factors, gaps in data, and things won’t always happen as expected. Lots of learning.

But the real world is where the real impact lies. That should be a motivation enough to step out of one’s comfort zone and become a doer.


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