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Episode 57 — What You Can do to Improve Yourself and Your Science

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#57 — Remember when you were a wide-eyed child and you dreamed of being the person who would invent some world-changing gizmo? You had lots of ideas back then. But now that you’re all grown up and worse yet, EDUCATED, have you run out of notions? Or have you found you have them but you can’t produce them in a clutch? Don’t worry; that dream machine is still in there. In this episode, we will turn the idea fountain back on.

Also check:

—Episode 31 What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know

—Episode 33 How to Foster Imagination

—The book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

—The publication “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition”

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

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This is an automated transcript and may not be 100% accurate.

Intro/outro (00:04):
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 bioscientist and founder Bitesize Bio.

Nick Oswald (00:35):
So welcome to episode 57 in which we’ll be talking about how to come up with new ideas for the betterment of science and yourself. So Ken, where do new ideas come from or where do ideas come from?

Kenneth Vogt (00:50):
Well, it’s a mystery, isn’t it? Cause you know what ideas just tend to show up. Now we’ve, we’ve talked about this a bit in the past. In fact, I will reference you to the show notes, to take a look for episode 33, we talked about how to foster imagination and you know, the reason for that is that’s where a lot of ideas come from your imagination. So it’s worth, it’s worth looking into that as imagination is part of the process, it’s just part of the process. And you can get very personal about this. Like I have to come up with ideas. You should come up with ideas. It’s good. If you can come up with ideas, but don’t put yourself under too much pressure. It’s a, it’s a collaborative world out there. There’s a lot of, a lot of directions that ideas can come from and they can come from, from places you weren’t expecting.

Kenneth Vogt (01:47):
They can come from other industries, they can come from other aspects of your life. They, and you can get surprised about that. And we’ve all, we’ve all done. This, you, you ever been in a situation when you’re looking at something and goes, you know, that reminds me of when grandma used to make donuts, you know, or that reminds me of when I helped dad change the oil on the car, you know? Or that reminds me of something I did in sixth grade. We will see patterns in the world. And if we, if we step back a little bit, if we, if we take a little bit of pressure off ourselves, take a breath ideas can come from all over the place and in many different directions. And that

Nick Oswald (02:33):
One. So, so you sound like you’re talking about something like stepping in a sort of flow scenario, you know, where, where you’re just allowing them to come to you rather than trying to make them happen almost right.

Kenneth Vogt (02:47):
Yeah. And I mean, there are some settings where, you know, nose to the grindstone and you can make things happen and that’s fine. But you don’t always have to do it that way. And sometimes that way isn’t working. And so you gotta back up now, you, you just comment on this idea of the flow state. If you can get there, that’s great, but it’s not always possible. Sometimes you just, you don’t have access to that flow for whatever reason. So you, you gotta catch yourself some slack and use what’s available to you in the moment. Cause it’s, you know, different, different situations, different circumstances will give you different opportunities. And we’ve all had those moments where we just felt super creative and, and it’s just was pouring out before. Sometimes ideas are coming so fast. We could barely keep track. We were worried in fact that we were gonna forget on good ideas cause we got onto the next one and you know, well, those things happen too.

Kenneth Vogt (03:49):
It’s fine. But it’s, as you get more experienced and more area died at this, you will start to control things a little better. You’ll have you’ll, you’ll start to see patterns of the last time I got a good idea the last few times this was the circumstance. And so it puts, puts the mind in this idea, well, how do you summon ideas? And you know, you’re not the first person in the world. That’s had to have ideas so other people have done it before you and they developed some patterns that worked and, and some of this is in, you know, there, there are books coming out all the time, there are are podcasts and there are YouTube channels that talk about this. But I, I wanna reference a book that we’ve talked about in the past and it’s an old book, you know, it’s, it’s over a hundred years old, it was called ‘Think and Grow Rich’.

Kenneth Vogt (04:48):
And that ‘Grow Rich’ part is not just about ‘Grow Rich’ monetarily it’s about having a rich life. But in that book it was, it was someone who was basically a journalist who interviewed some of the most successful people in the world at the time. And this was, this is the, the time of the industrial age. We’re talking about Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison and you know, people of that caliber. And he had because of what he did, he got access to these people and he got a chance to talk to them about their processes. And he got a chance to talk to people you know, like Henry Ford, you and, and Charles Schwab. And it, so some ways these are storied names in history and some of them were not necessarily nice people however, they did get certain things done. And you know, you don’t have to become what some of them were to use their processes.

Kenneth Vogt (05:47):
So I think about in that book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ that you talked about Thomas Edison and how he came up with ideas and Thomas Edison was, was, is still renowned as an inventor. You know, he invented the light bulb. The invention of the light bulb is like the it’s. It is the story we use for coming up with new ideas, literally a light bulb for someone’s head is what we think of as a new idea popping up. But he had a very, he had a very specific method and I and I’m not gonna go into it. Y’all read the book and it’s kind of fun to read cause I mean, a book that’s written now long ago, I mean it’s still written in English and I, my apologies is to those of you who are English is in your first language, but it’s, it’s a little different than today’s England still very understandable. I mean, this is not Shakespeare, it’s not Chaucer, you know, but it’s, but it’s, it’s charming in its own way. And so that helps make it entertaining besides, and you know, it’s a little more up to date than say Charles Dickens, but but it’s not like reading, reading the newspaper today. It’s not like it’s not like watching CNN or Fox News, you know,

Nick Oswald (06:58):
Thank goodness. Definitely worth a read.

Kenneth Vogt (07:02):
There you go. But so you had a specific method for summoning ideas. We were literally when he had, he had a problem with no idea what to do about it was that then he did a certain set of things to get ideas and it really worked for him and he wasn’t the only one like that. There, there, there account there in, in that book and other books by the same author, there are, are other accounts of of other people like that in their method. So the, the author’s name is a Napoleon Hill, by the way. And again, you know, am Amazon’s gonna have all this stuff.

Nick Oswald (07:39):
I remember from that book, there’s one, I can’t remember who it was, but someone had the, I had the method of that of having a council of people that he thought in his own, in his imagination. So he would have like, I don’t know, Abraham Lincoln and you know, Einstein, whoever he thought would be, you know the, the people he would want to have in his council to think about that you know, to, to, to bounce an idea or bounce the problem around. And, and he would, you know, just allow his imagination to, to tell him what each of these people would say. And of course the function of that is to, to just give you, to make you think through different lenses, cause Einstein will come at it one way, Abraham Lincoln will come at it another way. And, and you know, if your mother is in there or whatever, she’ll come another way or something like that, then that, so, but that’s just one method. But yeah, there’s quite a few methods mentioned in that book. As far as I remember, it’s been a while since I read

Kenneth Vogt (08:40):
It, but yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s not a long book, you know, it’s, it’s less than 200 pages, you know, so it’s worth looking at, and, and by the way, go on YouTube and put in ‘Think and Grow Rich’. And you’re gonna hear all kinds of stories from people talking about applications of this book and this method that have been used now for, you know, decades and decades, very successfully.

Nick Oswald (09:02):
However, if you look on YouTube, it’s mostly about people thinking that it means that you go on that and you’re gonna be, this is how to become a millionaire, which, that is one possible outcome, but it’s not the it’s it’s as you said, it’s not the, it’s not the,

Kenneth Vogt (09:15):
It wasn’t the main point of the book at

Nick Oswald (09:16):
All. No, it wasn’t the point of the but that’s what everyone latches onto. So don’t be put off by that if you find what, what you see on YouTube is 99% about that

Kenneth Vogt (09:24):
Yeah. And by the way, if you also wanna get rich as a scientist, go ahead.

Nick Oswald (09:27):
That’s fine. But it’s just, it’s not the only thing. Yeah, yeah,

Kenneth Vogt (09:30):
Yeah. For sure. Now that’s just one set of things you can look at for summoning ideas, but part of it is your environment. And so there’s some things to think about. One of the, one of the things that that popped up for me was the, the issue of ambient noise. I, I think I can’t get anything. I can’t get any ideas cause I can’t think cause it’s too loud around here. There’s too much commotion. And there’s something to that. There is a sweet spot for ambient noise. Some people actually don’t do all the silence and there. And I’ll have a note to a, to a a study that was done on this, about, about noise. And it was entitled ‘Is Noise Always Bad?’ Exploring the effects of ambient noise on creating creative cognition from Oxford University press. And it’s a, it’s an interesting read and what the, the conclusion that they came to was that a certain amount of background noise, not overwhelming noise, but a, a certain amount causes you to have to pay attention.

Kenneth Vogt (10:39):
Cause now, now you have to make an effort. If everything is silent, you, you know, you can you can float off in all kinds of directions, but if there’s a little bit of noise where you have to pay attention that’s helpful. And so, I mean, it goes both ways. There’s, there’s the amount of noise that’ll allow you to focus. And then there’s the amount of noise that’ll allow you to be creative. And there’re, they’re somewhat different, but we, but they’re both useful when it comes to ideas. Sometimes focus is the answer. Sometimes creativity is the answer. So you can use that and people do this where there’s some people they can’t work unless there’s, unless there’s a radio on music playing some people always have a television on in the background. Now I personally, I find that terribly distracting. In fact in that study, they found that if you’re constantly around human conversation in the background, it’s distracting and the worst kind of human conversation is somebody else on the phone where you can only hear one side of it. Cause now you’re now you’re theorizing about what the other person is saying instead of hearing it.

Kenneth Vogt (11:54):
But you know, so it’s something to look at now, if you have some control over that, that is the answer. Now maybe if you can go to, you can go and close a door in a room. If you can get away from, from certain sounds that you find are distracting you, well, take note of that, look, look at what you can and cannot do. And I realize this might not be totally in your charge. Maybe you’re in a noisy environment. That’s just how it is. But you, you may find that there’s certain things you can do. You can put on, you can put on noise, canceling headphones, you can put in ear plugs. You can, you can do certain things. You can turn up a little sound close to you. You can get a white noise generator in, in your cubicle, you know, kind of thing. There, if you, if you decide to solve this problem, you’ll come up with stuff and you know, here, I’m just, I’m just riffing right now, listing things off that you can do. I didn’t even plan any of that. Where did those ideas come from? You know, well, it’s because I was open to them, you know?

Nick Oswald (13:01):
Yeah. Okay. So being open to Anna idea is, you know it feels like that’s the way to, you know, you just kind of allow them to come. Yeah. But what if you want to have, you know, what, if you need to come up with an idea how, you know, when you have that kind of imperative of sure. You know, you need to come up with an idea for a specific thing, like what to use for the light bulb, then what would, how would, how does that work?

Kenneth Vogt (13:36):
Well, I, I think the, the that’s an ambient noise or one of the answers is like, look at your physical environment and make it as conducive as possible. Sound is part of it. Other things could be temperature. Is it too cold where you are? Or is it too warm? And that, that comes down to, to what you find is working for you personally. Now, I remember I went looking for this and I could not find it. I read a study way back in the day and you know, it might have been about 30 years ago about how, if you increase the temperature of your brain, by one degree, you become far more creative and people were, you know, I’ve tried to do this in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it’s just take a hot shower and put your head into the shower and oh boy, the ideas will flow and try it out sometime, you know,

Nick Oswald (14:27):
That’s what works for me. That’s what works for me.

Kenneth Vogt (14:30):
Yeah. Some people realizes interesting if they go run, you know, or some, you know, some kind they get on a treadmill, something where they don’t have to think about it, but they’re something you do physically. They don’t have to think about. And that helps. And cause I’ve noticed like something, if I can’t go, I can’t go walk the woods. It’s too distracting for me. There’s too much to see that doesn’t work for me, but I know other people that, that is the zone for them. Some people they can, you know, they can go on a bike ride, but for me I have to pay attention. So I don’t fall down but, but getting outta a treadmill. Yeah, I could that, that could do that for hours without-

Nick Oswald (15:16):
Seriously, treadmills. You really have to pay attention.

Kenneth Vogt (15:18):
Yeah. Well, yeah, well, but you know, well you can be a stationary by so where you’re sitting down, you’re not gonna have to worry about falling off, but you know, my point is you, you, you gotta figure out what is the, the environment for you.

Kenneth Vogt (15:33):
Another thing that matters, it really matters is lighting. Now we are very light driven. I mean, if you think about how the, how the eye develops, it’s one of the first things that develops inan embryo. And in fact, it, it develops as a part of the brain and in it separates from the brain very early on, you stays connected obviously, but it becomes a separate entity, but we are very, very light oriented. You know, as, as biological creatures, you know, it’s not just a human thing. And so it, it matters the quality of light that you have. And you know, if you’re, if it’s too dark where you are, you’re gonna find your ideas are suppressed. Now I’m not talking about being glaring light, but natural light is the best. Something that mimics natural light is the next best. Being under harsh, fluorescent lights is not great.

Kenneth Vogt (16:26):
Being in shadows and is not great. So again, start to control that environment to the degree you can. And I realize for some of you, you, you may look at this and go, man, I’m not in charge of this lab. I’m just, I just work here. You know I, I can’t do a lot about that. Yeah. But you know what? You can bring a lamp in, you can, you can do something like that. You if you, maybe you can’t, you’re not in charge of the thermostat in the lab, but you can put on a sweater, you know, you know, you, there’s things you can do about that noise. You, like I mentioned earlier, you can, there are certain things you can do to control the noise in your local local environment. When I say local, I mean, you’re really close to you.

Kenneth Vogt (17:13):
Take charge of your own space and, and start to, to foster that as a social idea, talk about it, talk to other people say, Hey, you know what you can do. You can get these white noise machines. I got one for, for 10 bucks on, on Amazon. And it’s really great. You know, and now I don’t, I don’t hear people chatter on the phone in the next cubicle over. And it makes all the difference for me, you know, start to present it as a positive thing, not like, oh, we have this terrible environment, no wonder nobody can cover any good ideas around here. You know, don’t, don’t be there be the person who is looking to solve that problem. And you know, when you start talking about it and people are gonna tell you what they’re doing and they’re gonna go, well, I do this and I do that, you know, or I avoid this or I avoid that. And that might set some triggers off for you, of things you can do. And that’s part of the whole idea process too, is look for those. Look for things that trigger ideas, you know, that’s a, that’s a means of accelerating the process.

Nick Oswald (18:17):
Yeah. Trigger. I, yeah, I guess that’s the, that’s the key is once you see, once you notice that pattern for yourself, of things that trigger ideas, then, then you can repeat, you can run some, right. I guess that’s for me, it’s well run some repeat literally because the shower is the one that works for me, so

Kenneth Vogt (18:34):
Right.

Nick Oswald (18:36):
OK. So, so, so can the, can what you want, can that accelerate the process of idea generation?

Kenneth Vogt (18:50):
Oh my yeah. Wants and needs really do really do impact it. Now you can, you can get yourself in a negative loop of where you just want something to happen. And what, what you do to yourself is you put yourself in, want, you create, you create being in want, and you’re gonna naturally wanna stay there. It’s gonna, it’s gonna be self propagating, but a better way to look at it is to say, well, what, what are my deepest desires here? And, and I understand you have a problem to solve. And you’re like, well, I’d hardly call this my deepest desire. This is just something I have to do at work. Yeah. But for this moment, it’s something that matters to you. You care about the outcome. And so apply that, apply that as it greases the wheel, let’s put it that way instead of like, oh, I have to come up with an idea.

Kenneth Vogt (19:53):
I have got nothing. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, you know? Oh, that kind of, that kinda outlook is not gonna feed creativity. It’s not gonna, it’s not gonna allow you to see ideas because if your attitude is, I can’t come up with an idea when an idea shows up, you’ll dismiss it before you even examine it. You know? Whereas like, you know, I really want, I really wanna come up with solution here and then something comes to you and maybe it’s not the perfect solution. Maybe it doesn’t even get you there, but it gets, you started. So allow that start, start engaging with ideas. Like, man, I have to solve this problem. Well, I could do this well, that sure wouldn’t work. However, you know, you know, okay, this that’s a thought, oh, that’s wonder, well, how can I expand on that?

Kenneth Vogt (20:43):
How can I, how can I add to that? What does that remind me of? What, what could it take me to next? Because sometimes the, the thing that is the solution doesn’t involve your first idea at all. It’s just your first idea led to your second idea, which led to your third idea, which led to your solution. So don’t denigrate the, those days of small beginnings as as some prophet once said, you know, the, the days of small beginnings are, are the first seedling ideas and don’t dismiss them, you know, show some respect for the ideas that come to you and don’t denigrate yourself like, oh, that was stupid. You know, like, no, it wasn’t stupid. It was better than no idea. So, and you know, that takes you to the next one to the next one to the next one. The other thing about it is if, if you have an idea and you think about it from a quality standpoint and you think, well, that’s not a very high idea.

Kenneth Vogt (21:47):
Well, it’s not, it’s not gonna improve in quality until you give it some attention. Sometimes something that isn’t a high quality idea will become a high quality idea if you give it attention. So a lot of the ideas that come in, even the ones that seem like poor ideas, give them some attention, they bothered to show up show them some respect and see what they might grow into. You know, it’s like the, that old that old fable about the ugly duckling. You look at that ugly duckling and it’s just so it’s so gangly and stupid looking and all well, one day it grows into a, it’s not actually a duckling, it’s a Swan, you know, and a Swan is beautiful and graceful. Well, if you just dismiss every ugly duckling that comes by, you’re never gonna have a swan. And you’re never have a never gonna have a chance.

Kenneth Vogt (22:46):
Well, why not? So check things out, spend some times with things. So what, what that calls to mind then is, well, I’m gonna have to learn how to assess ideas. So how do you, how do you assess an idea? So you get that first hair brain notion. So what do you do with that? Any thoughts on that, Nick?

Nick Oswald (23:07):
Talk to other people about it?

Kenneth Vogt (23:08):
Yeah. There you go. Associated with other things, like, what is this similar to what have, what has this been used successfully for in the past? Has anybody else tried this? What happened when they tried it? What did, what, what was the result? And even if the result was terrible, well, why was it that result? How’s that happen? Yeah. You know, cause sometimes the idea itself wasn’t a problem. The application was a problem. Sometimes the implementation was a problem. Usometimes the results were evident, you know, sometimes it was bad luck and you know, it’s worth of the shot uso when you have an idea, you gotta, you gotta first not judge it, you know that this notion of judgment. When I, I talk about judging, I don’t mean assessing, you know, obviously assessing is very useful, but judgment is when you assess things,uin a moralistic way and in a negative way, you’re like, well that’s stupid.

Nick Oswald (24:13):
Yeah. Criticizing yourself successful. Yeah. Yeah. So easy to be critical of yourself. I notice my kids doing that, you know, and I, I, as in they’ll criticize their younger self, when they see a picture of them doing something when they were younger, oh my God, how can you do that? It’s like, no, that a little guy was having a great time. You know, just that’s right. Leave him, leave him alone. But it’s, it’s just a, it’s almost like a knee jerk as a human to do that. Isn’t it to sure. To criticize whatever comes in front of you and to belitle even yourself.

Kenneth Vogt (24:44):
Right. So maybe, especially, maybe too, that, that people that you love and respect criticized you in the past. And they did it with the best of intentions. But you know, cause I, I remember when I was five years old, I’m in a restaurant with my parents and it was a sit down restaurant. This was not McDonald’s. This was, this was some, you know, it was a steakhouse, not a, not a high end steakhouse, but you know, an entry level steakhouse. And I dripped something on my clothes now obviously, you know, I was dressed in my Sunday best cause that’s why we’re out. You know? And my father come like, oh, I’ll look at you, you messed up your shirt. And, and I remember thinking at the time I have gotta stop this. Now I, he wasn’t saying that to me, like you’re, you know, you’re five years old. You should be better than that. He was just noting, this is what happened. But I took it as like, I have to fix this, you know and I did after that and I became very persnickety, but I lost some enjoyment too. I found, I, I didn’t enjoy a lot of food because I was so focused on not dripping on myself and some food should be dripped on you.

Nick Oswald (25:59):
That’s half the fun

Kenneth Vogt (26:00):
You it’s. Yeah. Well and it’s, I mean, this is true of, of the things that you’re doing in your work too. Sometimes sometimes things need to blow up it has to happen. I’m not talking about burning down the lab, but you know, you can, you can break a few things every once in a while, you know, a beaker could get dropped. It’s not the end of the world. So I wanted to tend to veer kind of into another direction, cause this is a little bit of a worry that people have, especially in a world where you have to publish. And that is how do you differentiate between being inspired by someone and plagiarizing them. So I, in fact, I kind of wanna throw that one to you first, Nick, see what you have to say about

Nick Oswald (26:42):
That? Yeah. I mean, for me the, yeah, if it is plagiar, there’s, there’s two different ways to, to use someone else’s idea and one is to copy it, which is obviously plagiarism and there’s another one to kind of riff off of it and to make it, to take it into another area, another you know, into, into a parallel application, if you like, and you know, it’s in science, it can be, you know, you, you notice you you’re reading some study from a, from a selling a different system, different organism or a different problem or whatever. And they user, they use an approach that you go, I could apply that here, you know, to, to my pro my problem and, you know, and see what happens there. And obviously that’s not plagiarism that that’s, that’s just being, you know, riffing off someone else’s idea, but that’s just one very obvious kind of transplant of a, of a process to another, to use it, to look at another problem.

Nick Oswald (27:53):
But there’s plenty of things that like Bitesize Bio itself was a new idea for this space, but it wasn’t the only how-to blog that was ever made. You know, it wasn’t the first that I took an inspiration from some, from other blogs that I saw life hacker and things like that, but I didn’t, I didn’t copy them. I, you know, so I think that inspirations a really great source of ideas and it’s one that I use quite a lot. And I, I think that’s the, it’s quite a an obvious line for me anyway, most of the time about that, you know, you’re just using that. If you’re using that idea as a springboard or the other person’s idea as a springboard to, to another one, then it’s quite obviously not plagiarism. What would you say?

Kenneth Vogt (28:49):
Well, I, I was, I was thinking, you know, there’s, you’re in somewhat of a unique environment in science in this regard, in that it’s not just you do science, but you often report on science also. And so you’re writing papers and you’re, you’re putting up articles. So it, of course there’s a collaborative world out there and, and you’re standing on the shoulders of giants. But there is a, a mechanism for giving attribution, you know, where you call out, this is where this started. I saw this paper by, so and so, or here, we’re drawing on, on the conclusions drawn by, you know, Dr. Mehta about, about noise and, and how to, how to use ambient noise for promoting creativity. You know, I, I comment on that. I, I, and they even put a link to it here. And that’s just for what we’re doing. You know, I comment on Napoleon Hill and put a link to his book, you know? But you can use the opportunity to give attribution, to take you lots of places. And, and I think sometimes people, their reticent to give attribution, cause they’re worried that they’re gonna look like, well, I’m gonna look stupid. I’m gonna, I’m gonna look like, oh, I couldn’t do anything myself. Like, man, don’t be afraid to give people credit. Gee.

Nick Oswald (30:15):
Well obviously, also don’t feel yourself that you’ve you’ve ever done anything yourself because the fact that you, you, that you even have the, the time to sit and think about an idea is because of all the things that other people have done to make it, that you have that free time, you know,

Kenneth Vogt (30:32):
I wondered why you were laughing there for a minute. Yeah. The truth, there is nothing new under the sun, you know and we’re all, we’re all building up things that already were thought of by other people and, and, and well, that’s what we want. And in fact, you know, you’re gonna find, you get attribution. People are gonna start referring to your work because you came up with something that was the next step. Awesome. Be, be part of that chain and understand it is a never ending thing.

Nick Oswald (31:04):
I think that’s a great way to think about it is that that your ideas doesn’t have to be something groundbreaking. It has to be the it’s the next step. It’s the next step in a, in a, in the 3d growth of this idea, you know, the central central idea. And you know, if you think about it songwriting, for example, it’s kind of like an ever growing blob. It’s not, it’s not you know, the, or the, the sort of world library of songs, if you like is kind of like an overgrowing blob, each song is related to another, there’s some overlap. There’s nothing that you could say is, is, you know, is absolutely on its own. You can say there’s some things that were the first that were in the center. But nothing, even those things were connected to things that happened before. I mean, there will be, obviously you go back far enough, there’s gonna be something that was the originator. Some guy plucking one string, some person plucking one string. Well, sure. I

Kenneth Vogt (32:00):
Mean, you know, I mean there was, there was kind of a crisis about that in music. When, when George Harrison got sued for copyright infringement for ‘My Sweet Lord’, because it sounded similar to ‘She’s So Fine’ and it was similar and he lost the case and it was bad. But then the, the music industry developed this system for giving attribution and songwriting credits. And sometimes you’ll see a song that’ll say that it’ll show all these credits, like how did these people ever work together? Well, they didn’t, it was that somebody else had already written a song that had a certain sound and it a certain riff in it that was similar to this. So they get credit and it worked out, you know, because I mean, this is a crisis for the, for that industry at one point, but now it’s like, don’t worry about it.

Kenneth Vogt (32:49):
We’re, you’re gonna write whatever you write. And then the people that investigate this stuff will look around and see if there’s any other songs out there that should get credited. They will. And, and that’s that. So, you know, and, and the same thing is happening in science now, too. You, the, obviously there’s, sometimes there is an arms raise when it comes to coming with a solution for a certain thing, but and often ideas are, are are, are discovered about the same time, weird times yeah. In different parts of the world, people that aren’t talking to each other, sometimes they’re out, they’re actually researching in different languages, but, and you know, that’s not uncommon phenomenon. That’s been, that’s actually been looked at pretty extensively now. So, but at any rate, and one of the things I wanted to, to, to finish up with here is you, the, the title is ‘How to Come Up with New Ideas for the Betterment of Science and Yourself’.

Kenneth Vogt (33:51):
So I’m not just talking about the betterment of yourself and your career opportunities and your opportunity to, to get credit, but how to make your personal life better. Now, if you get good at getting ideas in the lab, you’re gonna get good at getting ideas outside of the lab, and it’s gonna influence everything. And it’s all, you know, there are no compartments here. If, if you can come up with an idea in the lab, you can come up with an idea to help your kids. You can come up with an idea to help your community, to, to help your family, you know, or to help your own health or your own happiness. So this is, this is a great skill to have. And so you wanna foster, you wanna get good at it. You want to talk to other people about it, learn what they are doing, what’s working for them and also to help them mentor other people and in, and support other people and what they do.

Nick Oswald (34:44):
So I think

Kenneth Vogt (34:46):
Anything else you wanna add?

Nick Oswald (34:47):
Yeah. What strikes me is it’s looking at, you know, the overview of what you’re, you’re saying there is, it’s, it’s in, in a lot of ways, it’s more about getting out of your own way. You know, you, ideas come to you, you create the conditions, you, you, you sort of set the, the mindset you set the direction and the ideas just come to you. Your brain is an idea machine. And and a lot, a lot of the times it’s about getting out of the way and just letting them come. And, you know, rather than getting frustrated and writer’s block is trying to force that, or, you know, songwriter’s block is trying to force that idea to come and getting frustrated and then, and sort of disrupting it. And so that’s one way I would look at it is, is look at what kinda said there to, you know, to figure out the parameters that you can use to allow those ideas to come to you.

Nick Oswald (35:39):
Again, as I said, for me, it’s the shower or whatever, but it’s it’s the same for everyone that everyone it’s different for everyone respect those ideas when they come and discuss them with people, cause then that helps to flesh them out and make them real for you, depending on what, you know, it could be a small idea or a big idea. You know, if it’s a big idea, you need more to give yourself more confidence in it maybe, or, or, or give it more investigation, but also allow the environment to help shape you. You know, that’s where, you know, riffing off things that you see, you know, parallels that you see other songs that you hear, if you’re writing songs and stuff like that, but be fair about it, you know, when it’s plagiarism and so, or, or when it, you know, when it’s when you need to attribute someone else, you, you need to give someone credit. And so don’t, don’t take it for yourself

Kenneth Vogt (36:31):
And don’t be afraid to have the conversation with yourself. There’s bad jokes about people that talk to themselves, go ahead and talk to yourself. Maybe don’t do it out loud. Don’t call yourself Napoleon. But you know, cause that is one of the ways you can flush things out.

Nick Oswald (36:48):
Yeah. Great. Okay. This is a really good idea. This, this episode. Yeah.

Kenneth Vogt (36:53):
Love it.

Nick Oswald (36:55):
So thanks to everyone for listening in just as you know, you can get the notes for this episode, which is number 57. And there, you would talk about the main, you know, there’s the headlines of the main things that we talked about today, plus links out to the books and studies that Ken mentioned in this episode. So thank you all for joining us and we’ll see you all again, next time.

Kenneth Vogt (37:27):
All right. Thanks.

Nick Oswald (37:29):
Thank you for listening to The Happy Scientist podcast, helping you to become a happier, healthier, and more productive scientist to get more Happy Scientist podcast episodes, and all of our downloadables. Please go to bitesizebio.com/thehappyscientist, all one word. And in particular, you might want to spend some time on episodes. One to nine, where we talk about the foundational principles of human needs, core mindsets and charisma factors, which we refer to in many episodes. You can also hook up with us on Facebook, facebook.com/thehappyscientistpodcast, all one word to get latest episodes and additional material. We hope to see you there.

Intro/outro (38:17):
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