Knowing and believing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, a dangerous concept I know, about one particular, glaring weakness of mine. And it’s becoming increasingly obvious just how much of a detriment it is to my productivity levels to have this problem.

This week, I started an experiment I’ve been putting off for a while now. I’m the sort of person who likes to know things. I like being an expert, being able to do things on my own. I like understanding what it is I’m going to do before I do it. I have pages and pages of typed notes and laboratory protocols, outlining experiments I haven’t started yet. I prefer to read and re-read papers or text books before I even set foot in a laboratory.

An example of my OCD
An example of my OCD

I’m beginning to realise that this attention to detail, while a very good thing, could probably be easier if I, you know, talked to people.

I mentioned before that I’m a Chemist by training. I can take a screwdriver to a FTIR Spectrometer and do multivariate statistical analysis in my sleep now, but give me a coral and a PAM flourometer and I feel lost.

Now, most reasonable people, when faced with this situation, would probably go and ask for help right? Not me; no my damn pride is laid on too thick and it’s hard to break through it sometimes.

So I thought I’d give you a beginner’s guide to Science-ing for stubborn people:

  1. Suck it up and ask someone who knows more than you for help.
  2. Rinse and repeat.


I’m about halfway through this hugely important experiment (which I’ll tell you about in a separate post later I promise) and I have to say, I would absolutely not have been able to get everything sorted out by myself. It’s just not feasible at all. Even though right now I feel so far out of my comfort zone that I’m floundering, I know I’ve had the help of people who know exactly what they’re doing and who are much, much smarter than I am.

Science-ing. So much easier with help. Trust me.
Science-ing. So much easier with help. Trust me.

I think there’s a very big difference between knowing and believing something. I think I’ve known that asking for help is okay and no one’s going to think I’m an idiot (no matter how much I feel like one). But I’m really just starting to believe it.

It’s kind of nice.


2 thoughts on “Knowing and believing

  1. Debra February 20, 2013 / 9:50 am

    I’m not quite sure how you could possibly feel like an idiot but nonetheless, asking questions and learning from others is essential in life. You want to save re-inventing the wheel, and remember there will be fresheres out there that think you are totally awesome!

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