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The MuD/PhuD Mind Project

Jul 10, 2021

The beautiful thing about the journey we will take into looking at our mind with curiosity is that it mirrors what we already do in research.

We start with the scientific question. 

  • Why do we want to answer that question?
  • Why is it important to us?

It may help someone

I’m curious (just because I want to)

It sounds interesting or exciting to know the answer

It sounds like fun

  • I want you to ask yourself why you are doing the research you are doing. 

Then ask yourself why you keep doing it. 

Is your ‘big why’ compelling enough to get you through the obstacles that are in the way? 

If your reasons for doing it are convincing enough to you, that is what is going to get you through. 

It is why we do the work. 

Now, think of a time in your life that you started something and you stopped before completing the goal.

I’m not saying that changing our minds about our path or decisions is a bad thing (more about that later), but let’s be curious for a moment and think of that time. 

  • For me it was most recently bench research. 
  • When COVID led to the shut down of my postdoctoral lab, I went through some soul searching and put my BIG WHY with respect to the bench research to the test. I asked myself “WHY” as many times as I needed until I got to the root and most fundamental reason. 
  • Why do I want to continue doing bench research?

Because I want to know the underlying mechanism to explain my clinical observation.

  • Why do you want to know?

Because I believe it could help people and I’m positioned to answer these questions.

  • Why do you want to help people through research?

Because I enjoy the creative process and helping people fulfills my purpose.

Once I established that the reason I wanted to continue bench science was to help people through a creative process, I asked myself how I could still fulfill that purpose in a different way. 

  • I decided that I can still contribute to science through supporting physician-scientists. I wanted to inspire and continue to be present in this amazing world in my own unique way. 
  • I started to get curious and ask myself if there is another way I can stay aligned with my BIG WHY.
  • Is there another way I could still be curious and also help basic science move forward.
  • If you are listening to this podcast and have put one and two together, you may recognize that I decided I could still uphold my values of making a difference in science by helping other physician scientists and researchers with their mental resilience. If I could help you all listening, then I could still be making an impact in science. 
  • If your WHY is compelling enough, you can and will find a way to uphold it. It may just not look the way you anticipated it would. 
  • I may have convinced myself at some point that doing bench science was the way I would make that impact, but learning the tools of mind management allowed for me to get very curious about my assumptions. 
  • Other reasons you may be doing things include: prestige, recognition, what i’ve seen my family do and I don’t know any differently, 
  • Ask yourself this “why” question 5 times. 
  • Each time you answer the WHY, ask yourself again until you get to the root of your motivation. That is the one you will want to defend and fight for.