Do you consider yourself, impatient? Unable to wait for more than three minutes for something to happen, and have high chances to get irritated with anything that gets delayed? Then you cannot survive in the research field. One needs to learn to be patient to survive & be successful in the field of scientific research. Patience is a virtue in scientific research.
Successful Researchers keep working without knowing when or where they would get significant breakthroughs, or if they will ever get it. This uncertainty does not diminish their persistence and passion in the long term, although their patience is tested from time to time. It is crucial to have a bit of patience when one is pursuing scientific research to lead a happy life.
What is patience actually?
Patience is often thought of as a mean of two poles of behavior. It is a mean between excess of recklessness and deficiency of sloth. Patience is the quality of waiting calmly without complaining and as the saying goes “Patience is a virtue” because when one is into the scientific research field, one ought to face disappointments be it in a delay of procuring the reagents or getting research article checked by the Project Investigator and so on. So this is why research requires patience.
To inculcate patience, one should not get frustrated. One should have the ability and determination to take challenges in life and be prepared to face failures without losing hope. The one and foremost thing to do is focus on the research work.
Patience is the most important factor in nurturing successful researchers of the new generation. Ambitious people who are impatient are less likely to succeed professionally or personally. Previously only religions and philosophers used to praise the virtue of patience; now, even researchers are starting to do so. Recent studies have come to the conclusion that good things really do come to those who wait and display patience.
Scientific Research-backed benefits of patience are:
- Patient people enjoy better mental health – They tend to experience less depression and negative emotions. Why? Because they can cope better in stressful situations like when one is into research. Patient researchers are less likely to report health problems like headaches, ulcers, diarrhea, and better sleep and hence can become successful researchers. One type of patience is interpersonal patience, which doesn’t include waiting, but it involves facing annoying people with equanimity. So when one is into research, the guide or principal investigator is one of the most annoying people.
- Along with this, there might be some colleagues or seniors who have irritating behavior. When one learns to be patient toward others, then one tends to be more satisfied with their lives. The other type of patience involves waiting for something. Now, who can understand the pain of waiting, better than the researcher, as for receiving one Ph.D. degree, researchers have to wait for a minimum of five years? This waiting can lead to frustration or despair, but if one knows to be patient, it gives hope. One needs to also show patience over daily hassles that one faces in research like malfunctioning or very slow computer system provided for students, weak internet strength, long advance bookings of instruments, which hinders the work of the researcher. The students who have inculcated this type of patients are more satisfied with life and have fewer chances to be depressed.
- Persistence – To have a successful scientific research career, one should be persistent and patient. Persistence comes with patience. During the research, one needs to apply for funds. One crucial fact is, grant funding rarely comes on the first attempt. One has to apply many a time. It’s competitive. Many a time it happens that a researcher submits a half-dozen grant applications before they finally achieve their first grant. The Ph.D. researchers who get a stipend from the government for pursuing research need to have a high level of patience as sometimes it happens that they do not receive their fellowship for more than a year. After enquiring and running to various departments like institute billing department, UGC or CSIR body, which is to release the fellowship, taking many trips many times even after this turmoil, they do not receive their fellowship.
Patience and persistence go hand in hand with—not only does it take patience to be persistent, but the process of writing a proposal, applying and then waiting for a grant to be reviewed requires a good deal of patience
Patient people are better friends and colleagues. Patience allows individuals to tolerate flaws in others, therefore exhibiting more generosity, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.
Now why patience is required in research?
Because research is teamwork. One research article has quite many authors who contribute to a particular portion/ experiment. For one researcher, it is not possible to operate all the instruments required for a specific topic of research, so one needs to have amicable behavior with other researchers, and this is only possible if one exhibits patience with others.
In other words, patience is more of a skill that one needs to practice when in research. Patience can also involve some personal discomfort emphatically to alleviate the suffering of those around us. In our relationships with others, patience reflects an act of kindness.
- Another positive trait of patience is patient people even tend to be less lonely, perhaps because they can make and keep friends. Research can make people go under depression and feel left out, but if one is patient, one will never be left alone.
- Patience also helps students to get things done, which means one can get their Ph.D. degree only if one is patient. During pursuing a Ph.D., many researchers tend to leave it halfway, why? Because they lack patience. To become a successful researcher, it is proven that people with patience exert more effort toward their goals than other people did.
Now everybody may not be born patient, but there are everyday ways to build patience as well.
Here are some strategies that can help inculcate patience into impatient researchers and make them successful researchers.
- Reframe the situation: Becoming impatient is not just an automatic emotional response; it involves a certain amount of thoughts and beliefs too. If a colleague is taking time to finish the cell culture and leave the Laminar airflow, you can fume about them being unpunctual, or see those extra 15 minutes as an opportunity to get some reading done. Patience is linked to self-control, and consciously try to regulate our emotions, helps in training our self-control muscles.
- Practicing mindfulness can also make us more patient. It makes one less impulsive and more willing to wait for a particular task to be completed. Taking a deep breath and noticing your change in feelings of anger can help one to respond with more patience.
- The very fact that we are humans, we have the inborn feelings of frustration and adversity. Practicing patience in everyday situations that one faces in research institutes, like with respect to punctuality, a challenged co-researcher—will not only make life more pleasant in the present but will also pave the way for a more satisfying and prosperous future.
- Patience endows us with the quality of taking a step back instead of aggressively reacting to some situation or to someone who’s frustrating you. One can invest meaningful time in research when it comes to building his relationships with the coworkers. In fact, patience gives the researcher the liberating breath one always longed for.
Here is a quote to conclude,
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life” ~ Chinese Proverb.
So one should be positive in life, be it research or any other field. One needs to observe things and situations in a positive aspect to make one’s life happier. And to attain that positivity, one needs to be patient.
So be patient and play your long game, you will surely win the game!
Author: Dr. Violet & Prathibha HC