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Episode 28 — Going Your Own Way

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About this episode

There’s the right way, the wrong way, and {pick one: your government’s way, your industry’s way, your university’s way, your company’s way, your PI’s way}. What about your way? Before you give up on that notion, have a listen to this episode.

Hosted by Bitesize Bio’s own Dr. Nick Oswald featuring Kenneth Vogt of Vera Claritas.

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INTRO (00:08):
This is The Happy Scientist podcast. Each episode is designed to make you more focused, more productive, and more satisfied in the lab. You can find us online at bitesizebio.com/happyscientist. Your hosts are Kenneth Vogt, founder of the executive coaching firm Vera Claritas and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD bio-scientist and founder of Bitesize Bio.

Nick Oswald (00:38):
Hello and welcome to The Happy Scientist podcast from Bitesize Bio. If you want to become a happier, healthier, and more productive scientist, you are in the right place. I’m Nick Oswald. The founder of bitesizebio.com and with me is the driving force of this podcast, Kenneth Vogt, my friend, mentor, and founder of the coaching company Vera Claritas. Today, Ken will be discussing not the Fleetwood Mac song, but something of the same title, how you can go your own way. So let’s bring in the man himself. How are you today?

Kenneth Vogt (01:11):
I’m good. How are you?

Nick Oswald (01:12):
I’m good.

Kenneth Vogt (01:13):
Cool. This, this notion of going your own way is is an interesting one. And for some people it will actually rub them the wrong way they’ve been. They’ve been taught that to be a good little boy, good little girl. They follow the rules and they should do, as they’re told.

Kenneth Vogt (01:32):
And, and part of this is good. You know, following protocols is, is useful, solves a lot of problems. There’s, there’s, there’s a lot of benefit to rules, but the fact is that innovation and, and new discovery almost never come from just following the protocol. It come from breaking out in some way. And sometimes it’s breaking out in a very rebellious way. Sometimes it’s, it’s, it’s ignoring the standards and, and it’s, it’s, you know, thumbing your nose at the rules. So the question is then how can you go your own way as a scientist and still be happy, still keep your job and still get along with other people. Because, you know, the fact is we need to work together with other people too, but you probably know some people that kind of march to their own drummer and you like them, and you find them interesting and you want to work with them, and they stimulate you to think about new things and, and to look at things in new ways, that could be you. It doesn’t always have to be somebody else. And if you’ve you’ve come up in a very structured fashion and it’s hard not to, you do to get all the way to a PhD. Boy, you, you endured a lot of structure. Tell me I’m wrong, Nick, is that true?

Nick Oswald (03:06):
You’re definitely, you’re definitely right there with there is. And that, that is one of the biggest steps to make. I think when you when you step out from the educational side of things into your own playing field, if you like is how do you switch from that process driven mentality into a, sort of a more creative, free mentality?

Kenneth Vogt (03:32):
I suspect that many people who are scientists are also musicians, because again, they got put into, they got put into music classes and, you know, they had to learn piano or violin or, or whatever it is. They had to learn anybody who’s played music for a while. There is a point when you start to realize that I can just do what I’m told to do here, or I can, I can do something more interesting or I can have more fun with it. Some people are afraid to do that.

Nick Oswald (04:02):
I think that’s a superb analogy with music as well. And it’s underappreciated. How that, how that maps on to science. Because as you know, at some point you have to have the training wheels on or it’s OK to have the training wheels on and to just follow the course in music and in science, in music, if you just follow the rules, then you’re not, you’re not you’re not going to be very creative. You may be good. You know, even, even if you’re playing back someone else’s music, your own style is, is you need to break the rules to make your own style. And and it’s the same in science. But I think that, yeah, it’s a bit underappreciated. How much of an art form scientists in terms of the creative side of it, there’s obviously a process out there, but as I said, but there’s the creative side to, is you do need to be rebellious. You do need to make your own path and that’s how you might have to make a conscious step out of that. I think some people do

Kenneth Vogt (05:02):
Right. Well, I think one of the problems that we have is the way we typically use the word science, we juxtaposition it against art. There’s either the art of something or the science or something. That is how we use the language, but that’s not exactly encompassing all that is science. There’s plenty of art in science. And so that’s, that’s, that’s what we’re talking about today is how to embrace the artful side of science. Now, part of, go ahead,

Nick Oswald (05:32):
One, you know, just to, if people aren’t grasping that, I mean, some people will grasp, some people might not. If you look at Kary Mullis, the guy who invented PCR, which underpin so much of what was going on in in bio-science today, if you’d look at how he describes how he came up with the idea, it’s, it’s very artistic. And he has only got to you come up with the idea for PCR by by allowing his mind to be in a creative mode. And not by following the rules, there’s a article I’ve written on bitesize about that. It’s called the invention of PCR. I think you can have a look at that. And, you know, under, obviously from his artistic burst, there, there was a lot of, a lot of diligent process layered on top of that, but also a lot of creative it on top of that as well, to make the amazing tool and tools and derivative tools that have come from PCR.

Kenneth Vogt (06:34):
Cool. Well, there, there you go. There’s an actual application of something that is world changing and, and it’s industry changing and you know, it didn’t, it, it can’t happen if we just stay in the box. Now, one of the things that is a potential potential problem here is personality styles. That is if we’re somebody that are going to use the word natural personality, but I’m going to shoot that down in a second. But if our natural personality is to be subservient is to be a follower, is to, you know, to just, to listen to authority, breaking up. That can be hard. And by the way, I’m not telling you any of that is wrong. If, if that is a natural style for you, if it’s it’s a style that’s comfortable for you today, you, you probably learned that style. Isn’t when I say natural, that’s really not fair.

Kenneth Vogt (07:31):
It’s it didn’t come from nature. It came from nurture. It, it came out of, out of, out of training and out of, out of progressive progressive input that did it seem like this is a good way to go for you. And that’s fine. You can use that, but you still can break out sometimes you don’t have to, you don’t have to always be that Renegade. You don’t have to always be a rebel. On the other hand, for some of you, the idea of being Renegade and a rebel doesn’t bother you at all. That sounds like, yeah, that’s, that’s, that feels natural to me. You also learned that, but you know, there are styles who you can use. So one of the things that that will be required, if you’re going to go your own way is that every once in a while, then you’re going to have to stand up for yourself.

Kenneth Vogt (08:20):
You’re going to have to stand up to opposition. And if there’s a term that gets used for that office, it’s to be an alpha personality. And you’ve probably heard that before that some people are alphas and some people are betas and beta is a very pejorative term. You’ll hear comedians talk about being betas and, and especially guys talking about being alpha. And we often think of it’s, it’s an alpha male. Well, let’s, what’s funny about that is this notion of alpha, where did it come from? Well, it came from a scientist that was studying pack of wolves. And so now we think, Oh yeah, well, alpha Wolf. I mean, that’s the ultimate, the ultimate pack leader, but here’s the thing that’s funny about it. The alpha Wolf wasn’t male, the alpha Wolf was female. It was, it was the senior female in the pack.

Kenneth Vogt (09:20):
And, and so, so this notion that alpha is a masculine thing, it’s a male thing. Her often it’s a, you know, a pejoratively male thing. It’s it’s, it’s a toxic male thing. No, it’s not. It’s a female thing and it’s not toxic. And yeah, now that doesn’t mean that everybody can’t do it. Cause obviously there’s a lot of alpha nature in how, how men often act in society. And sometimes it’s bad, but often it’s not bad. It’s a good thing. When someone takes charge, when somebody says I’m picking the path. So the notion of being alpha is often about being a leader of others. But the first thing you got to do is be a leader of yourself. So when you decide for yourself, you know what I’m getting, I’m going to think of it outside the box here. I’m going to investigate in this direction.

Kenneth Vogt (10:17):
I’m going to, I’m going to take a certain path. I’m going to make the commitment to, to, to go down that road. Well, that, that is kind of an alpha notion. So I I’m, I’m encouraging you to, to, to consider the idea of being alpha, especially if you’re female, but even if you’re male, because if you’ve been in a, in a space where you’ve been treated like your beta, you know that you’re, you’re just a follower. You’re, you’re just a cog in the wheel. This is an opportunity for you to take charge of something about yourself personally, and be more alpha with yourself. Now, we we’ve talked about the difference between being controlling and taking charge in a past episode. So this is, this is kind of an application of that. So now, if you’re going to go your own way, it is going to require you to take some charge for yourself and to choose for yourself.

Kenneth Vogt (11:12):
And it doesn’t even necessarily mean you have to communicate that out into the world, although it’s, it can be useful. You can get more help that way you can get more people on your side, but you can also get people, you know, aren’t on your side and, and it might be just they’re intellectually, not on your side, but they can also become enemies. You know? So, you know, this is something that when you step into you, you step into a full knowledge that, okay, I may ruffle some feathers if I start going my own way. And so you’re gonna, you’re going to have to take that into consideration. Something to think about then is, is what I’ll call risk management. That is okay. If I start going my own way, what’s it going to cost me, what’s going to happen? Am I gonna miss out on certain opportunities?

Kenneth Vogt (12:03):
And that might be true. You might, you might actually retard certain career advancement. And I know that sounds like it might go against the happy scientist notion, but understand short term impact on your career. Isn’t necessarily bad. You may be you’re, you may be sowing seeds for something that will fruit in the future. So it’s, it’s something you, but it’s something that you want to do by choice, and you want to do it, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re making, making a bet as it were. And, and hopefully one that’s where your, where, you know what you’ve got, you know, this is, this is poker, this isn’t, this isn’t a sum game. That’s, you know, coin flipping w who knows how it’s going to come out. This is, I know I’ve got a decent hand here and I’m going to bet big on it. I’m going to risk because I think it’s a good risk to take.

Kenneth Vogt (12:57):
So, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s how you can look at this. One of the things that, that you may have to look at in yourself when you’re considering risk, because some folks are so risk averse, they’re so afraid of taking any chances that, that, that they might ever lose anything. If you are not willing to lose every once in a while, I promise you’re not going to gain much. The big, the big winners took risks. So this comes down then to managing how you feel. So you look at the difference between what your circumstances are and how you feel about them. And cause they’re not the same thing. And on some folks are gonna go, well, of course they’re the same thing. I wouldn’t describe anything inaccurately like, Oh yes, you would. We’re humans. We describe things inaccurately all the time and we watch other people do it all the time.

Kenneth Vogt (13:54):
And we watch almost everybody. We know, do it all the time. So we’d have to be an immensely arrogant to think that we’ll, we’re, we’re special among this entire breed of 7 billion people or that, that we never tell a story about what’s going on. We’re all telling stories about what’s going on all the time and we’ve got to separate, well, what is actually happening here from how I feel about it? So you see, you see an opportunity for something go, you know, we’ve been investigating in this direction and I think there’s a path here that we could take. And you know, we’re going to have to commit some resources to it. We’re going to have to commit some funds through it. Some, some hours through it, some equipment to it. And I don’t, I can’t guarantee that we’re gonna, that it’s gonna work, that we’re going to get a positive outcome, but I, I feel strongly that if we don’t investigate this, we’re going to regret it, that we wanna, we want to take that chance.

Kenneth Vogt (14:53):
We want to go that way. When you describe it, that way you’re talking about, you’re talking about what is, you’re not talking about the story about what is, you’re not, you’re not lamenting, you know, on the other side, so I’m gonna be, well, we can’t afford to waste resources. You know, budget’s already so tight and, and you know, we could lose our funding. And now, now we’re starting to get a story going here. Does it? Well, Hey, you haven’t lost your funding. That’s that hasn’t happened. So it’s not, that’s not really yet. Or, you know, we could really, really, you know, anger the PI here, you know, and, and then we’re going to all be in trouble, you know? I mean, you start using words like trouble and, you know, and, and then you, then, you know, you’re starting to tell a story now, th there’s there’s more than just the specifics here, too, that sometimes the things we’re worried about have to do with societal norms.

Kenneth Vogt (15:50):
That is, you know, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a culture that already exists. When I say societal norms, I don’t necessarily mean the entirety of society, although that might be true. You know, there’s a, there’s a societal norm among scientists in your lab, in your, in your field, in your industry, you know, and often what people will look at there. So think, you know, we should just go along to get along. Why create waves, why ruffle feathers. And, and when people ask that question, they ask it often as a rhetorical question when they should be asking it as an actual question, why should we ruffle feathers? Why should we take this risk? Because there’s an answer to that question. And sometimes the answers, there’s very good reasons to take this risk. There’s very good reasons to go your own way on this. Now use that phrase, go your own way, which implies solitude, but doesn’t have to, you know, it could be going our own way.

Kenneth Vogt (16:53):
You could take other people along. You could be, you can be a cheerleader for a path or for an idea. And so then it’s up to you, you know, how far can you, can you go with that? How, how far outside of normal can you be comfortable? Are you willing to say, Hey, we should, we should take a risk here. We should try something new. We should try something that’s been tried before and failed because maybe we can do it better. You know, that, that whatever the norms are and wherever they come from norms should be questioned. And I don’t mean irreverently necessarily, but just every once in a while, it’s good to say, why have we always done it this way? And you know, there may be answers, well, you know, this revered person did it this way, or this, this, this illustrious group did this way. Yes. Okay. And, but did they do it that way more than just more than just resting on? Well, it’s always been that way. You can look outside of that and see, see, what’s possible. So my question then is, is any of this resonating, this idea of breaking out and in fact, either breaking out alone or taking people with you?

Nick Oswald (18:10):
Yeah. I’m just thinking of it from the, from the, you know, there’s two different ways to look at it is when it’s, when it’s time, there’s an obvious opportunity, you know, in, in the scientific career to, to do that, you know, to make your own path, you know, and it’s in the, it’s in the structure of the career where, you know, you would start your own lab and off you go and you have to bring your own ideas and everything like that. But, but even then you can still be kind of, you know, inhibiting your own creativity, your own, own your own vibe by by, you know, state playing it safe, which is another way to look at this, I think. But I think that that, you know, even from the very beginning, even if, when you’re a PhD student or, or whatever, you can still appreciate that you have an opinion and trust that.

Nick Oswald (18:58):
And, you know, obviously you can defer to people who are more experienced than you are or listened to them, but you should always compare that against what you think is right. What, you know, what your style is, what your your approach would be, what your gut feeling is and so on. And then, and then I turn the volume up on that as you go through your career to a point where you are, you know, you’re, you’re a bonafide leader and you’re on your, whether you have a boss or not, you’re playing to your own tune, you’re doing it in your own way. I feel like the other thing that struck me was that you know, that toxicity of the idea of being alpha is I think it comes from the idea that leadership is a zero sum thing where it’s like, you can only win by, by someone else losing. And I think that is a lot of the traditional view of an alpha male or an alpha person. I don’t know why it’s male. Why is it male? That, that

Kenneth Vogt (20:03):
Does, I don’t know how that happened either,

Nick Oswald (20:05):
But anyway, but the but you know, there’s the traditional sort of view of of alpha males winning by making other people lose. That’s not alpha atall. I would see. But at least there are other ways to be alpha or to be a leader where it doesn’t have to be the other people lose. You can just do it by bringing people along with you. And but I think it’s all about having confidence and trust in yourself and and respect in the fact that you have your own tune and you have your own style and, and to let that be expressed.

Kenneth Vogt (20:42):
Right. And I, and that, for some of the people in the audience, some of you are sitting there going, I don’t have that. I don’t, I don’t have any, any convictions about anything in particular. I didn’t, I don’t know. I didn’t know how, what I would apply this to. And so for folks in that, in that situation, I would say, start looking for things to apply it to you. You’re going to find some things and they may be small things. Just, it might be a, you know, I think there’s a way to have a better protocol here. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but just, I think we could do this better, but there’s other people in the crowd. They’ve had a notion forever that they ha there’s a foundational thing that they know that they just know. And it’s different than that than they’ve been taught.

Kenneth Vogt (21:29):
And they might’ve had this since high school, since grade school. They’ve got a different idea of how to look at the world and it might not even be fully fleshed out yet. You’re still, you’re still putting meat on the bones of it, but, you know, you’ve got something and man, we don’t want to lose that stuff. I mean, we, as, as the human race, we need people to follow those, those things down and, and we can all look at people in historically, who’ve done exactly that. And now we look back at them with, with all this respect, or we forget there was some point at the beginning when everybody said, what’s wrong with Bob? You know, what, why is he on this all the time? You know, Bob, because he’s got a vision and he’s going to go his own way until he gets there or, or Sarah, or, or, or Bill or Sam, you know, whoever, whoever it may be

Nick Oswald (22:22):
Other angle on this for, from a scientific perspective, is that in a way, it’s your, your job as a scientist, it’s your responsibility to be alpha because what I see in science a lot is people who tend to the consensus viewpoint and that’s okay, as long as you independently agree with the consensus viewpoint. And not that you’re just not that you’re just going along with the consensus viewpoint, because someone else said it was the correct, you know, the correct conclusion. So I mean, and that, in that sense, every scientist has to be independent in form or form their own, their opinions independently. Yeah. So that, so that kind of, that’s what keeps science, right. And if we go, if we allow ourselves to become, to just join a crowd of other people who, who we agree with, because we respect who they are, then science gets pulled down all sorts of, and we’ve seen it historically, you know in all sorts of cases where the prevailing wind has been wrong and, and, and it’s taken and it’s taken, it’s taken someone who can break the mold to, to realize that, and often they are ridiculed until that happens, they to be quite strong to, to break out of that.

Nick Oswald (23:47):
So that’s, that’s, I mean, to me, that underlines, it’s not just a nice to have. It’s really essential that, that that every scientist is as alpha as possible.

Kenneth Vogt (23:59):
Well, and in fact, this segways into something that I wanted to bring up next and you can do better than alpha. You’re like, what’s better than alpha. There’s only beta and alphas, right? Like, well, somebody come up with an interesting notion of a thing called the Sigma and a Sigma is an alpha with qualities that I’ll bet those of you that don’t want to be alpha are going to like, cause it takes, it, takes it out of that type, a personality, that driving person that has to be in control of everything all the time and allows them to be more free. Somebody is Sigma is not afraid to take charge, but that’s not their, their their objective isn’t to be in charge. They’re willing to be in charge if that’s what it takes to get the job done, but they’re also willing to step back and let somebody else be in charge.

Kenneth Vogt (24:51):
If that’s what it takes to get the job done. Sigma people are a lot more, there, there are a lot more willing to go with the flow. As long as their ultimate objective is being served and they’re more flexible and, and they don’t need as much they don’t need as much praise. They don’t need people to notice how good they are necessarily. And not that they’re against being noticed, but that’s not their main driver there. They’re not doing it. So as to be popular or so has to be liked or, or respected the, those things are come naturally to that person who has more of a Sigma approach. And it gives you, it gives you more opportunities to, to stay focused on your objective, which is scientific discovery, hopefully as opposed to looking good or moving up in your career now, not to take away from those, those sideline things.

Kenneth Vogt (25:51):
But when you we’ve all seen it, we’ve seen people that are good scientists, but then they get so hung up on looking good and advancing in, in the structure that their science starts to suffer. And and then we’ve seen other people that, you know, they, they stick to it. They, they, they stay loyal to the main cause and you know, what they move up to, they do well. And yeah, maybe they don’t have as many patents and maybe they don’t have as many papers written. And maybe they’re not asked to be speakers at quite so many conferences, but that that’s, that is not taking away from their career. And that person that wants to be that wants to be a movie star about it. And they’re going to have a very different kind of career. And I know some folks, some folks are gonna look at that and go, that is the kind of scientific career I want to be.

Kenneth Vogt (26:46):
I, I want to have the movie star kind of career, and I’m not taking away from that, but I am, I am going to submit to you that you could have a better career if you, if you were more focused on, on the meat of it and saw that as a secondary benefit, because there are plenty of people out there that are, that are more than adequately popular and more than adequate really well-known because they have stuck to, to the, to the meat and potatoes of this. And they weren’t pushed into, well, I’ve got to look good, or I, you know, I have to be, I have to be seen at this conference and I have to, I have to be seen in the company of these people because cause they’re popular too. You know, you, you can get away from all of that and not have to fall into that and, and still be able to go your own way and still be able to, to reach into these, these areas where, where you’re really going to get the best part of your career. You know, you’re, you’re not gonna have the highlight of your career come from just following the rules and just, just going along with the protocol, it won’t happen that way.

Nick Oswald (27:58):
Yeah. I, I th I like the idea of that, of being Sigma because I, you, and you’ve mentioned that to me before actually I’ve not looked into it very much, so I have to look into it further. And I cause I I’m, I’m definitely a person who likes to play to my own tune, but I always bought to the idea of alpha because I don’t, I’m not, to me, the connotation of that is that you’re making other people lose. Right. and I didn’t see the point and, and that I don’t always have to take the lead, but if it needs to, then I will. And I, and so on. So Sigma makes a lot more sense to me. It seems to me like that’s an evolution of over alpha and beta, whereas often be kind of two opposite pools of a dysfunction. It seems like when a Sigma is kind of everyone’s Sigma, then, then it’s fine because you can be in charge or not. And it just depends on what is the best idea, the best thing for the situation.

Kenneth Vogt (28:56):
Exactly. Exactly. That’s the thing about being Sigma and Sigma. You can, you can play the alpha role or the beta role at any given moment without giving yourself up into it. You don’t have to, you don’t have to be alpha or beta. You’re just playing it for right now because it’s cause it’s useful to whatever you’re trying to accomplish in the moment. Yeah.

Nick Oswald (29:16):
Because I mean, if you’re alpha and you can’t come off of that, it is because you’re more interested for me anyway, is because you’re locked up, you’re more interested in, or, or your main thing is to be the alpha passion rather than to get the job done in the best way or to get whatever outcome. Whereas the Sigma is it’s flexible depending on what, what is needed. What’s the best for everybody in this situation.

Kenneth Vogt (29:38):
Yeah. And, and it’s, it’s not just that, you know, your, you can want it for the team when you’re Sigma, when you’re Sigma, you’re still, you’re, you’re doing things because of the, of your own way. You want your own way to work out, but you’re able to see past the sideline issues and not let the sideline issues drive things. And it gives you more freedom. Nick commented that I, I recommend you look into the Sigma earlier. Nick recommended something to me here recently. It was it’s an interesting book. We’ll put, we’ll put some show notes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to lab it’s called Antifragile things that gain from disorder. What an interesting notion. And it’s been a really interesting book to read and it, and it, it I think it plays well into this, this notion of going your own way, but in an address was one of the main problems that people will immediately recognize.

Kenneth Vogt (30:40):
Well, if I start going my own way, certainly I’m going to get pushed back. Right? They’re going to be people that are going to oppose that they’re going to stand in my way. What do I do? Well, the answer is to be antifragile and like, what is antifragile? Well, we know what fragile is. It means that that you’re easy to break, easy to disrupt, very easy to stop. But as a man, I don’t know if it’s Mr Telab points out. We really don’t have a word that is the exact opposite of fragile. And that’s why he coined the term antifragile. The idea of, of when, when things, some folks think of what’s, the opposite of fragile is to be robust and resilient, but fragile means that it’s easily impacted by outside forces and being robust or resilient means you’re not impacted by outside forces, but antifragile means you’re strengthened by outside forces that you need, the stressors that, that, that they’re actually important.

Kenneth Vogt (31:46):
And in fact, for biologists, I think this should be a a philosophy that really makes sense because that’s how life itself is. Life is antifragile life gains from stresses benefited by that. Now, obviously there’s a, there’s a limit to that, but you know, an example is, is your bones get stronger if they’re under stress now, obviously they can only be stressful far they break, but if they never get stressed, they don’t get very strong. That’s something that’s, that’s unique to biological things. We don’t see that very often in, in, in our game panic things. So we want to take full advantage of our organic nature. And, and this gives us, this gives us the strength to deal with pushback because often the way to solve the way to deal with pushback, isn’t so much that you need a set method. It’s just need to be strong enough to face it.

Kenneth Vogt (32:48):
That when, when there is pushback that you’ve got enough resolve and enough creativity to be able to handle it. So, you know, I, I, sometimes I, I look at my own outlines for this stuff and I go, how to deal with pushback. Well, wouldn’t it be nice to have a recipe while just do A, B and C, but that’s not how you deal with pushback. Cause nobody knows for sure how that pushback is going to come. Or even if you do the, the answer will be, how resilient are you going to be and how, how, how firm can you be? How, how antifragile can you be?

Nick Oswald (33:25):
Yeah. I think that that’s a really interesting way to look at it. And one, one thing that strikes me as if you’re, if you are afraid or feel repelled from the idea of taking the lead or, or expressing yourself and you just want to follow other people, it’s probably because you’re, you’re worried about things going wrong, but the whole, the whole idea, the anti-fragile idea is that things go wrong and things have to go wrong. And, and actually that it’s that whole notion of, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger sort of thing. If you just stay in the box and you don’t and you don’t try other things, you don’t do things that might fail then, then you’re not going to grow and you’re good and you’ll have less good things happen. I would say. Sure. But it’s like, if I look at how, for example, I took my own path in bitesizebio, in bitesizebio. And I thought, of course in the beginning, I thought it was going to be a smooth path. And if I look back, it’s like, my God, there’s so many things went wrong and I had to fix them and dah, dah, dah, but it’s all the fixing. That is the experience. No, and that’s what that’s, what’s valuable. And in a way that’s, what’s made it most interesting as well.

Kenneth Vogt (34:41):
Exactly. Now, one of the things that we can do, like how do you handle pushback? One of the answers to that is get in front of it and sell your vision as it were, you know, if you can see, well, where are people likely to have a problem with this path that I want to take? And you put some, some thought into that in advance and you prepare your case. And I mean, this is just like, you’ve done many a time. If you’ve written a paper, if you do your dissertation, you had to make a case for something. Well, you sold your vision that’s and maybe you look back at that now and go, well, it wasn’t much of a vision. And Nick loves to most to poke fun at himself because you know, his dissertation was on slime mold. Well, you know, I first off, I’d never heard of slime mold before, so I didn’t have any, I didn’t have an opinion on it, but I didn’t know what the word slime meant.

Kenneth Vogt (35:37):
And I didn’t know what the word mold meant. And neither one of them was very enticing. But then I actually looked into slime mold. Like this stuff is fascinating. So, you know, you can, you can make a case for just about anything, but so the issue then is to make the case, make sure that you do make sure that you do that make that part of the process of going your own way, where you, where you’ve internalized, that it just becomes a normal part of how you do things is that you’re always, you’re always taking it to that next level. And you’re always thinking about how do I make this clear to other people? And you can think of it as selling the idea and, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you can also think of it as how do I excite other people about this? How do I get, how do I engage them? So they’re going to see the same possibilities that I see that they’re going to get excited about the things I’ve gotten excited about. And so now you’re not just going your own way. You’re encouraging people to make it our way, not just, not just my way.

Kenneth Vogt (36:47):
So that’s, that’s the idea of going your own way? Anything else you want to add to that, Nick?

Nick Oswald (36:55):
Mm, no. I, I just think that again, I think it’s just so important to, for people to realize that, you know, although that, that our career in science begins by following a leader, it’s just so important that you, that, that at some point we you know, regardless of what path you take in science, that at some point you come out and start expressing yourself and not just following because that’s for the better of everyone the more we do it, the more people we can get that Sigma the better that’s the way I’m seeing it these days, I think. And I think you mentioned that there are a bunch of videos on YouTube about what Sigma means. Yeah.

Kenneth Vogt (37:41):
Yup. Yeah. I’ll, I’ll I’ll, I’ll put it in the shownotes.

Nick Oswald (37:46):
Okay. So you can get those show notes at bitesizebio.com/thehappyscientist and go to episode 28. And I got it right this time. And and in there you’ll find the link to the anti-fragile book, which is well with the read and and the video that Ken is going to put in about being Sigma or the, or the concept of being Sigma. So what else does that leave me to say? You can also get more from us on facebook at facebook.com/thehappyscientistclub and check out episodes one to nine of this podcast, if you haven’t done. So in there, Ken talks about some foundational principles, which I think you’ll find really useful. So Ken, thank you for taking us your own way and helping us to go out on we. Excellent. Okay. And thanks everyone for joining us and we’ll see you again next time. Thanks. Bye.

OUTRO (38:55):
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