Catalysts for Advancement In Your Scientific Career

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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 slash Happy Scientist.

Your hosts are Kenneth Vo, founder of the Executive Coaching Firm,

Vera Claritas, and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD,

bioscientist and Founder Bite-Size Bio.

Hello, this is Nick Oswald. Welcome you to this bite-size bio webinar,

which today is a live episode of the Happy Scientist Podcast.

If you want to become a happier, healthier, and more productive scientist,

you're in the right place. With me, as always, is the bite-sized bio teams, Mr.

Miyagi, Mr. Kenneth Vo. In these sessions,

we hear from Ken mostly on principles that will help shape you for a happier and

more successful career. And along the way,

I'll pitch in with points from my personal experience as a scientist and from

working with Ken. If you have any questions on the way,

put them into the questions box on the side or below your screen,

and I will put them into, uh, put them to Ken along the way.

And today we are discussing catalysts for advancement of your

scientific career. Ken, what's this all about?

Okay, well, first thing I wanna point out is, the key word there is catalyst.

It's, you know,

we could talk about things you could do to advance your scientific career,

but in this specific instance,

I'm gonna talk about the things that make a rapid change in

your opportunity in your career, just like a catalyst does. Now, I mean,

we could talk about Catalyst from the standpoint of a chemist.

We could talk about Catalyst from the standpoint of a bioscientist.

And, you know, those are specific areas of expertise,

and there's specific, um, specific knowledge.

There's specific opportunity there to, um,

to use Catalyst for certain scientific purposes.

But we're gonna borrow that. Now, we've talked about this before,

about borrowing from, from other areas of expertise,

other areas of industry, and bringing 'em to science. Well,

this time we're gonna talk about borrowing from science to bring to your career

in science. So there,

there's a number of ways that Catalyst can can help you in that regard.

So we're gonna, we're gonna cover them today. Now,

the first point of, you know, what is Catalyst all about?

Now I realize we could go back to, to chemistry 1 0 1 and you know,

even I've had Chemistry 1 0 1, right? But I'm not a scientist like y'all.

And you probably have some,

some very clear notions about what catalyst is, what it's for, what it can do,

what it can't do, what dangers it introduces. Um, you know,

all that is is there for you. Now, I can use a simple,

a very simple definition for Catalyst and say it's when a substance is used to

increase the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing that any

permanent chemical, uh, change. Now,

an example of that is chlorine X as a catalyst to break down ozone.

Now I realize you could hear that and go, well,

that's a very high school version of what Catalyst is about. And yes, it is.

And, and I want it to be that way because, uh,

I wanna show how this can transfer to the idea of career advancement.

'cause all of it's not gonna come along. It's not gonna be quite so, um,

you know, universally applicable. But there are parts of it that are completely,

that completely transfer from one to the other.

And the whole point of this is we're we wanna create a transformation.

And if you think about your career and think about transformation,


there probably aren't that many points in your career that you would describe

that way. You know,

there are things you've done along the way that have moved you along and, and,

and that's all fine. But transformation is a different,

that's a different story. That's a big deal. And the transformation can really,

really up your prospects and really change things for you.

So that being said, then since they're so important,

you really gotta gotta look for 'em. 'cause they don't happen that often.

And just to, to use an example, um, depending on where you are in your career,

you probably have had points where something major changed. Now,

that could be true, even if you're brand new.

The major change was you got that first job in the lab, you know? Um,

and that's a big deal. And that doesn't happen every day.

But other things happen too. You, you have, you know, where you move from.

And Nick, I'll, I'll, uh, lean on you a little bit for this.

When you first enter the lab and you're, you're a junior researcher, I don't,

I don't know what's the label for that?

What do you call somebody who's brand new to it?

Uh, I don't know. J Well, I mean, my experience,

it was you were the PhD student, but that's probably most people's path, but

Okay. Yes, and that's fine. Um,

but at some point you go from that to something else and,

you know, maybe it's, you know, a pi, but probably something,

there's something in interim before that. There are stages like that.

But it takes a transformation to get to each of 'em. And they're different.

They're different jobs.

What you do as a PI is quite a bit different than what you do as a PhD student

that's supporting some research, research project.

So the transformation is necessary, not just in you change roles,

but you change what you do. So, um,

that I'm bringing that up to point out that these are really worth looking for

because you could stay in a very simplistic role.

You could enter a lab and pretty much be the guy that cleans the test tubes for,

for the next 20 years. Unless you make some transformations, right?

And then make those transformations, you're going to,

you're going to need some catalyst. 'cause they're not easy transformations.

You don't go from one thing to the other without there being some,

some effort, maybe even some pain. Um,

and you gotta have opportunities. So we have, we gotta make that happen.

So one of the first things that's important then is recognizing catalyst.

Well, what, what is a catalyst to improve my career? Well,

that's gonna come down to the stories that you tell.

You're gonna label certain things as being important and you're

gonna not label certain things. Some things are just gonna go on by.

But what you grab onto matters when you see, hey,

there's somebody here that is who could really mentor me.

And I can see they're willing if I'm,

if I'm willing to do the part of being the mentee,

if I'm willing to support what, whatever their objectives are. You know,

so you, you, when you see those things, you've gotta, you gotta make hawa,

the sun shines, you know, you have to pick up on those things. You know, if you,

if you never add the chlorine, the, the ozone doesn't break down. You know,

now you can know where the chlorine is and know it's available and know what it

can do. But until you take action on it, nothing will happen.

Alright. Lemme look. Can I just, so Yeah, please. In the scientific context,

and it is applicable to what you're talking about here, it would happen.

It would just happen much more slowly.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, there's that.

It's kind of what you're alluding to here as well, isn't it?

Yeah. Yeah. And this is about u using catalyst as an accelerant. Yeah. So, yeah,

it's not to say that, you know,

you're not gonna automatically move up in your career. I mean,

just by virtue of having, having years on your resume,

something's gonna happen. Mm-hmm. But, uh,

but do you want it to take the longest it possibly can? You know,

probably not. Now there's a, there's another kind of catalyst,

and this may be even more important than, than the standard ones. You know,

that, hey, to reach a certain qualification,

I have to get certain certifications.

I have to take certain classes to get certifications. You know, there's a,

there's a set path that's already known in there. And if you wanted,

if you want to go down that road, or if it's necessary to go down that road,

you'll do what needs to be done.

But often there are catalysts that are unanticipated events,

things you didn't see coming. And they offer you huge opportunities.

And they can be, they, they can really affect the, the,

the timeline of your career advancement. So when something comes up,

you, you may have a chance to be a hero.

You may have a chance to be the person that puts their hands up and says,

I'll take on that task. I'll go to that conference,

I'll prepare the paper. You know, whatever it is.

Those are things that you may not have known in advance.

You may not have known that this,

this particular research was gonna work out so successfully.

And somebody's gotta talk about it. You might've hoped that it'd be the case,

but you didn't know what would happen. Now the unknown has happened,

and sometimes, um, the unknown that happens isn't necessarily,

um, positive, or at least doesn't look positive at first glance.

It might be an emergency that happens. Somebody,

somebody drops outta the lab for whatever reason, you know, they, they quit.

They get sick, and somebody's gotta fill their shoes.

And you recognize that this is an, this is an opportunity for me to,

to speed up the path of my career. You gotta take action on it.

You gotta use that catalyst. 'cause it'll sit there for a minute,

but it maybe that somebody else will pick it up and run with it.

So it's up to you to decide what are you gonna do.

So let's look at the difference between say,

a strong catalyst and a weak catalyst. And I, and I like the,

the metaphor of the strong force and the weak force

from physics. And I, and again, I realize this,

it's such a mixing of metaphors. We're talking chemistry, we're talking physics,

we're talking bioscience.

And the only one I can speak even semi intelligently about is physics.

So sometimes that just what comes to mind for me, but, um,

the notion of the strong force versus the weak force, they both have a function,

and they're very important. In fact,

physical reality would not exist without the strong force in the weak force.

And as you may recall from your physics classes back in the day, um,

the strong force is an attractive force between protons and neutrons that holds

'em together in a nucleus that really matters.

And it's strong because the natural state of things is

things that have a positive charge, we'll try to push away from each other.

So for them to stick together really takes a lot of, lot of power. Now,

the weak forest on the other hand, is, is the force that allows for, you know,

for beta decay. And it allows, it allows neutrons,

uh, um, not neutrons. Um, yeah, it allows the neutrons to release a,

an electron say. So it turns back into a proton. And then, then you've got,

you've got radiation and you've got electrons free and available to be used for,

for molecules. So again, it's not as strong a force as it need to be.

It's very localized. It's, it's, it's right there. Um,

and you're gonna find,

you have catalysts available to you that are just like that.

Some of them are gonna be gigantic, and some of them may be like, you,

you have to fight for even, you know, it's kinda like,

this is the conference to be at, and we're not gonna send everybody.

And you gotta make sure you're on that list. You know, that may be a,

that may be a strong catalyst. And, you know,

there are people there I can meet that are gonna change my career,

that or potentially can't. Um, I,

I wanna know people in my field and I, you know, I want 'em to meet me.

I want 'em to hear me. I want 'em to interact with me.

Other things are gonna be, they're gonna be smaller. They don't,

they don't have to be as strong.

It may just be an opportunity to put your hand up and say, Hey,

don't worry about it. I'll, I'll finish,

I'll wrap up this experiment for tonight. You can go, you know,

you can go work on something else,

or you can go get some sleep or whatever it is they need. And you're,

you're earning some points with,

with somebody that matters that will matter to you and your career. So,

you know, just because it's, it's a weak catalyst,

doesn't mean it's not worth it.

You keep layering in those things and it can really matter. Now, the,

the thing about, um, a strong catalyst is it's,

it could be a make or break kind of thing. Like, well, if I screw this up, man,

I really blew an opportunity or even damaged myself. Um,

whereas with we catalyst, it tends to be a bunch of just a piling on.

And even if you screw it up,

it's not that big a deal because there'll be another opportunity to,

to add something again later and or next time, or with the next person.

Um, so again,

you have to have your eyes open for these things so you see them. 'cause the,

the weak catalysts can just go winging right by without you noticing.

But if you,

if you bother to notice and you bother to make that just part of your normal

operation, you're the, you're the person that can be counted on to,

to, to say yes and to be, to join up.

You're the person that puts their hand up to say, I'm, I'm willing to do the,

the, the documentation, or I'm willing to do the,

the final check on the, on the, on the report. You know, whatever it is,

stuff you don't have to do,

but you do because it's creating a reputation.

You're becoming the person that this is the go-to person.

This is the person we can count on. This is the person that goes the extra mile.

Um, those are all useful things,

and they may not have a lot to do with scientific expertise,

but they're necessary for the operation for what has to happen. Now, the,


the strong catalyst may be the thing where you really gotta step up and sh and,

and show your stuff. As a scientist,

you gotta be the person that can make that presentation and have it be well


You gotta be the person that can communicate what has been learned here or,

or to communicate what has failed here. You know, failures are as important to,

to document as successes. So,

So can I, can I cut across this Ken for a second? And I, I think, yeah.

As scientist, the definition is, is where it's at, right? Mm-hmm.

And so what you're talking about as a catalyst is something in,

in terms of your scientific career,

which is on the title of the webinar is as I,

I'm gleaning it from what you're seeing here,

a catalyst is some event or see,

or are event that are available to you that pop up in your scientific career

that, uh, that depending on what your, the choice you make,

then they can, uh, give you growth or progress or advancement.

And in general,

those are things that you might just not want to do or not want to throw with.

Um, so maybe, uh, you know,

uh, I, I just wrote down, you know, in terms of the weak catalyst,

little things you can do that build you, right? Mm-hmm. Um, the,

one of the, the, the one, one thing that someone said to me way back when I, uh,

was when you go to a lab meeting, so the lab meetings,

everyone's discussing the research, you can just sit there and take it in,

right? That's fine.

But you should challenge yourself to ask a question at every lab meeting,

because then it forces you to understand what's going on and to participate and

put yourself out there. And if you do that, that layers on confidence,

but it's not something you could easily avoid that,

or you could choose to use that as a catalyst to, to layer on growth. Yeah,

Sure. Right? And I would even imply you can get better at it. In other words,

maybe you're not asking questions because you feel every time I ask a question,

it's stupid. Well, get better at asking questions and yeah.

Be prepared to ask your questions. You know? Um,

because you, there's one other thing about this that,

that pops up along the lines of definition,

your problems are often catalysts. Mm-hmm. So,

and you may push away from those. You go, well, I don't,

I don't wanna use that kind of catalyst. Well,

you should because one thing's for sure,

you're gonna have problems and you may have to face problems.

We have to deal with problems. They're, they're part of the game. In fact,

that kind of goes to the next slide. You know, these catalyst is inevitable.

Problems are inevitable. So why not get some benefit from it? You know?

And I,

and I I love that the suggestion you were just making about make sure you ask a

question every time you're in a lab meeting. Yeah. And then,

then take it up a notch.

Make sure you ask a good question every time you're mm-hmm. You're there.

And then, then you can look at ways,

can I ask questions that will be beneficial to the other people present

beneficial to the presenter? Is there a way then I, you know,

that I can show myself to be a team player by the questions I'm asking?

And I show myself to be someone with imagination in a, in a,

in a beneficially scientific way. You know,

get something out of it. And, and, and make,

and getting something out of it too may be that somebody else gets something out

of it. Mm-hmm. The, the benefit doesn't have to be directly personal,

but when you're known as the person who benefits others,

ultimately it will benefit you.

So then on the next point on that, now if you,

now that you've recognized you have catalysts and you recognize your problems

are catalysts, you recognize what is available to you,

we'll start curating that.

That is start working with how am I gonna focus on planned catalysts?

You know, the things I know I have to do and certifications,

the conferences I ought attend, the papers I need to write, you know,

how am I gonna work with that catalyst?

And then how am I gonna deal with an unanticipated catalyst? Now,

by its def on the definition right there, it's unanticipated. Well,

how am I supposed to do that?

You actually can anticipate some things that are unanticipated.

What I mean is you may not know when it's gonna happen,

but you know that a certain kind of thing is gonna gonna pop up.

That you can tell,

there are people here in my lab that are gonna enter into conflict at some

point. I, it's already there. So I can be the person to help smooth that over.

So you can plan in advance for the opportunity there

to show that you're a leader and you're a team player,

even though you don't know when it's going to be called on. Um, and then there,

of course, there are gonna be the things you just can't see coming.

But when it happens, are you gonna react with,

with fear and pulling back and hiding? Are you gonna react with that?

I'm gonna be the protector here.

I'm gonna be the person who takes charge in this setting. You know,

those are the,

those are the opportunities to use unanticipated catalyst in

that you just didn't see coming at all. But as you do that, you know,

you get one under your belt, you're gonna be a little more con more confident.

Next time you get two under your belt,

you're gonna be more confident by the time it's happened several times.

It's like, I'm ready for anything. And that feels so great.

And that is so beneficial, uh,

in career advancement because legitimate confidence,

confidence that is based on something other people have observed,

that that will help a great deal when it comes to, to important assignments or,

you know, or cherry opportunities, you know,

you're gonna be the person that is going to be looked to who's like,

this is someone we can give this to 'cause they're gonna succeed with it.

They're gonna take this somewhere. And you wanna be that person, but that you,

that comes from setting it up in advance.

Start with the planned catalyst, move to the unanticipated catalyst,

and then move to the just outta the blue catalyst and,

and make sure you've got that on, on your resume, as it were.

So the next thing you can do then is not just wait for Catalyst to show up.

You can create catalyst. And I,

I like the idea of creating beneficial catalyst.

And when it came to beneficials, I, I had to go to my own love for gardening.

And the first thing I saw in my head was a ladybug. You know,

they call 'em beneficials. Now,

I'm sure we're talking to a bunch of biologists here.

I'm sure you're as up to on this as any gardener is, and probably more so,

and you know it at a deeper level, but you know,

that ladybug is there and it's, it's pretty, it's beautiful.

I love being around something like that. And I mean,

and it'll walk on your hand and it doesn't bite you. And,

and it eats all the aphid, which, which is great. Eat the aphids, please.

You know? And so

if you find there's a deficit somewhere, well,

I could really use some more catalyst in this place. I need,

I need a way to advance something in this particular area.

And maybe it's, I need to be a better communicator.

Whether that's spoken or written. Okay, well,

how are you gonna create some beneficial catalyst there? You know, it could be,

it could be even a language barrier. Well,

there are definitely tools out there to get better at language.

And if it's an not language barrier, maybe it's a matter of,

I need to be more empathetic.

I need to think more about what the other person needs to hear. You know?

'cause communication is a two-way street. It's not just you talking,

but it's about them hearing. And, and there's even a step beyond that.

It's not just you talking, it's what you actually mean to communicate. Um,

and then from the other side, it's not just what they hear,

but it's what they understand. You can dig deeper into that and go,

how can I get better at making sure that they understand?

How can I do better at making sure that what I say actually matches what I'm

trying to communicate? Another thing you think about is, um,

catalyst isn't, and uh, isn't just about you.

Um, it's about your environment and it's about other people. So

the catalyst that you wanna introduce may not even be about you.

You can introduce Catalyst for other people to help them to get them to

move to the point you want them to get to. Now, if you,

if you're actually in charge of some people in the lab,

you might want your people to be certified in certain areas. Well,

what can you do to facilitate that?

How can you make it easier for them to get it done? Can you,

can you recommend, um, you know, recommend some kind of study courses?

Can you point out to 'em a schedule of when, you know,

when you have to apply for things?

How can you engage that process instead of just letting it kind of motor along

all by itself? 'cause you can sit there and go, well,

I sure wish these guys would get certified for this instead of,

well make it worth their while. Is there something you can do for them? Hey,

for, for everyone who gets to this level, this is gonna happen.

You're gonna get this, you know,

and maybe you have to do more than just offer it because you may not be,

you may not be able to offer it. You may not be in charge of it. So now,

now you have to go to bat.

You gotta help create the environment to make that possible.

Maybe you gotta argue it up the chain and, and again,

make it clear to them what, why do they care? Why would they care that,

that your PhD students get certain things done for you within the lab?

Make it, make it valuable to them. And then,

then when you're asking for resources, they're not seeing it as, you know,

you want resources. They're seeing it as we want resources. Um,

ma make it worth their while, and, and they'll take it along.

But this is all about creating beneficial catalysts. You know,

you don't have to create problems like we talked about before. You know,

problems will happen by themselves,

but the beneficial things often need a little nudge.

They need you to push it along a little bit. But, uh,

with all these possibilities for Catalyst,

you have a lot of opportunities to continue moving up in your career.

So that's the catalyst for career advancement and satisfaction.

Okay. I've been furiously writing notes as It's


Go for it. I'm gonna try and translate from, from ease into,

um, into science. Well, not really, just give you my, um,

you give my angle on this and see, see what,

whether you think this rings true. So as I see it,

you're talking about catalysts.

So that's events or actions or habits or things or

outlooks that, um,

that can help you advance as a person and as a, in your career and whatnot.

And there are three types. There are, I, I've brought,

I've put them into three broad categories. Um,

one of those are things that crops, the first category is things that crop up.

Okay? So, um,

you encounter a problem or a challenge in your day to day and how you, how you,

um, uh,

approach that can decide whether it becomes how good a catalyst it becomes.

Okay? So for example, your PhD for example, your whole PhD study,

that's a catalyst because you're putting yourself into a crucible there,

into a situation that challenges you. And, um,

the more you can go with the flow and put into that,

rather than pulling back from it and resisting it and complaining about it,

the more you're gonna get bit more growth, you're gonna get outta it. Um,

and the same as, you know, say, you know, a lot of people,

you hear anecdotal things about, you know, breakdowns being, um,

think when things break down, uh, situations break down.

That's a real catalyst for people. It wasn't a choice, but it just,

it just happened. And, you know, like people who,

they're laid off and then they go and act fourth

of them into a section where we make decisions that are a catalyst for their own

growth. Sure. Um, make sense? Yeah, so far, okay. Um,

the next, the next sort of, um, level of catalysts are, um,

what I've called optional catalysts.

So you can choose whether you take them on or not. And that would be the,

you know, adding things in, like asking, making yourself ask questions,

challenging yourself to ask questions at, uh,

at the lab meeting or accepting the,

the challenge of doing a presentation at a conference, or accepting that, uh,

you will, uh, um, you,

you help people in the lab, you know, you're gonna take on the, the sort of, uh,

outlook of that you want to be helpful in the lab. Uh,

so that would be optional ones. And I suppose there's a optional,

the optional and the third category I've created, which is, um,

ones that you create, there's kind of a, an overlap there.

But the third one is where you deliberately create catalyst for yourself

by going out there and, you know,

setting things up that will be a chance to you that you didn't even, you know,

you didn't have to deal with. Um,

you could go and set up a journal club or something like that and take

responsibility for journal club. That will be a cha that will be a,

um, uh, an extra responsibility.

It'll stretch you in ways that you, you, you would,

your normal day-to-day wouldn't stretch you. Um, and you,

but you know, you've chosen to, to set that up for yourself. And the more,

again, the more you put that into, put into it yourself,

and the more you get outta it, the more growth you get outta it. Um,

I guess when I've heard you talking about this recently,

it's mostly been about the, the things that crop up. You know,

seeing problems as, you know,

problems in quotes or challenges and,

and seeing things seemingly going wrong as being a catalyst.

So I think that's quite an, um,

interesting way to look at it as a scientist, because, you know,

when you're doing experts in the lab, things go wrong all the time. Most things.

Exactly. Um, what, what would you think about that? About maybe it's about a,

a mindset or something, or,

Yeah, well, and, and you know, just like the difference between, I just,

how I presented this all,

and then you recapped it different than I said it,

which is great. Mm-hmm. Um, because you,

that you took something you knew and you applied it, you know,

you know about being in the lab, which I don't, right? Yeah. So,

and as you, as you're describing this, the things going wrong in the lab,

I mean, it,

there's all these historical accounts of things going wrong in the lab that led

to tremendous breakthroughs.

That's kind of the kind of the thing you're looking for, right?

You wish things would go wrong so that you could learn something. You know,

that's the, that's the beauty of it.

And being in an environment where learning things is,

is rewarded and really looked upon highly is great. 'cause trust me,

out in the world, there are plenty of places where that's not the case.

Plenty of jobs,

plenty of industries where you are not rewarded for having a problem.

Not at all. But, but you lucky scientists, you get to be so, it,

it really behooves you to have a good attitude about it and to bring the right

mindset to it. And yeah, I, I've often said that, that

every pessimist describes themself as a realist.

You never hear an optimist describe themself as a realist.

An optimist will tell you they're not a realist. They're an optimist,

but pessimist will never admit to it. Well,

pessimism is, is gotta be a fatal flaw for a scientist. You, you're gonna,

you're gonna have a hard, hard time with that kind of career. And if,

if you instead note that your problems are opportunities and whether you want,

you know, I, I like to use the word problems.

I don't like the word challenges as much because it's, to me,

it's kind of a sugar coating of it. But you know what problems are problems.

Mm-hmm. And it's good to note them as that and to not denigrate them for that,

just a problem isn't, isn't evil because it's a problem. Yeah.

However, I would say that, um, that, you know what some of the main, the,

the things that, that,

that have pushed me to growth are things like saying, yep,

I'm gonna stand up at that conference and I'm gonna do it. Yeah.

Accept the challenge of doing a ch a to there mm-hmm. Presentation. Well, that

Is a challenge. That's not a problem.

That's what c Yeah. I wasn't meaning the sugarcoat personal problem.

I was meaning rising to the challenge.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and you know, of course the first time it might be a problem.

I've never done this before. I don't dunno how, you know,

Well, for me it always becomes, I,

I rise to the challenge and then it becomes a problem that I go, ah,

why I just say, I don't wanna do this and then make myself do it. And then,

and then outside the other end of that crucible,

then you see that you've grown and Right. Um, and that's,

that's one example for me anyway.

Yeah. And if you can get past that notion of, of, oh, why did I,

why did I accept this? And you start to realize, you know what,

that's what I said the last time I accepted things and it worked out fine.

I used to have a pattern of accepting these things and then actually canceling,

you know? Right. The last minute and stuff that just follow through. But, um,

on the, I really like the metaphor of this being a catalyst, right.

For a few reasons. And, but one of them is that,

you know, so,

so the definition is that a catalyst increases the rate of the reaction,

you know, in science.

And the way that it does it is by forcing two things to stay in proximity.

Mm-hmm. Like by the shape of an enzyme, it makes the two, um, reactant,

reactants go together. So you,

and stay together until reaction happens. And, um,

and this is what this is all about. You know,

a lot of this stuff you would just bounce off and you wouldn't, um,

you wouldn't, you know, you wouldn't tackle the,

the fear of standing up in front of people that,

that you think know better than you.

Unless you were forced into yourself into that crucible of, okay,

there's no option now. Right. And the, and the little thing about the, um,

you know, asking a question, every lab meeting, you're in a smaller way,

you're forcing yourself to, to stand up and, and, and take,

you know, acquire the experience. Right? And so I, I do like the, the,

the idea of that, the cata the catalysis for that reason,

you're literally speeding up the, the,

the growth of yourself by forcing yourself into these solutions. And some,

some of it are, are being forced into the solutions,

but your attitude is what defines how much you get out of it.

So you, you know, the, uh, a challenge that comes up, the problem comes up, uh,

the lab doesn't get funding or whatever, and you can,

you can run away from it or you can face it and, and do your very best,

do your best,

and then come out of it with more experience and more growth and more, um, uh,

you know, more savvy at the end of it. That,

that allows you to deal with even more, um, catalyst in the future.

Right. Well, and situation, like the example you've pointed out,

if you're asking a question, you're getting the spotlight on you,

you're taking the microphone. That's the idea. And what's gonna happen then?

Well, you're gonna be seen more clearly. And guess what?

Your flaws and your impurities are going to be more obvious and they are going

to impact things. Mm-hmm. That's how it is folks.

But as you get, as you get more experience with this,

you'll purify and you'll learn how to separate out the impurities in

such a way that they won't cause any harm. And you'll get better at it.

And you'll only get good at things by doing things when you're not yet good at

them. How else do you,

you expect perfection before you can actually put it into practice. That,

that's just not realistic.

And that's not how it is in the rest of your world either. And I use this,

the notion of catalyst specifically because it has a deep,

rich meaning to you already in a scientific context.

Now I'm asking you to take that and figure out how can I apply this in this

other area? What, what part of it works?

And it's okay to also notice there's certain part of it,

parts of it that just don't map, you know, the, I can't bring that over, fine,

but what can you bring over? That's the part that matters.


Alright, that's about all I got for now. You have more.

Thank you, Ken. Nope. That some really great insight. And again,

the more you look at the definition of a catalyst and, and, uh, you know,

in different contexts, you can, and look at these, you know,

what Ken's describing here, these, uh, problems, challenges,

situations that you can put yourself into or that you're gonna be forced into.

And you can just make, allow yourself to be open to, um, you know, so that they,

and allow yourself to acquire the, the growth that comes from them,

then, um, then the better you'll be. But yeah, it's, I,

I find it quite funny 'cause I've heard you saying this quite a lot and I've had

to look at the definition of catalyst and yeah,

it goes a bit more 3D when you do that actually.

Sure. Yeah. I love this. You challenged me on that. Like, hey, wait a minute.

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