The great author Stephen Covey wrote one of the most popular books of the 20th century, entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. After reading this book again and again it made me think, that are there some habits that make a scientist highly effective? Therefore, this blog is a tribute to the great Stephen Covey, whose book inspired me to write this blog.
Many young science students aspire to become scientist. However, very few of them convert the dream into reality. Most people with a dream just keep dreaming and never do anything about it. I believe the most common reason is the lack of knowledge and guidance about the research field. Most young students don’t even know the basic habits that the most effective scientists around the world have. Therefore, in this blog I will mention seven habits that make a scientist highly effective and successful in their careers.
THE FIRST HABIT
The first habit of highly effective scientists is the habit of writing. The invest their time in writing something every day. It doesn’t matter what they write, it doesn’t matter if it is related to their fields, they just write something every day.
How do they discipline themselves to write something every day? They have scheduled a particular hour to write. Some scientists have scheduled the very first hour of their day for writing, while some write in the afternoon, or some are like me who write in the evening or the night time. I have my time between 4-6 pm every day or at night 10-11 pm every day to write. How do you think I produce one blog every day? Because of my habit of writing, because I do know that one of the most important habits a scientists have is writing every day.
THE SECOND HABIT:
The second habit that successful scientists have is the habit of reading. They read related to their field and profession every day. Whether it is just a paragraph, or a page, or two to three pages; they don’t waste a single day without reading. To be honest, you cannot write every day if you don’t have a habit of reading every day. Where do you bring the information in your mind to write? It comes because of your reading habit. The reading habit is more important than writing habit in my opinion.
THE THIRD HABIT:
The third habit is the habit of consulting with others. The greatest scientists never consider themselves as the only expert, they consult other scientists and ask for suggestions about their own project. Consulting doesn’t mean lack of confidence, it means they are humble enough to understand that no one is perfect and they have room to be wrong.
THE FOURTH HABIT:
The fourth habit is teaching. Most great scientists have a habit of teaching whatever they learned. The teaching increases their knowledge and it also helps them to share their knowledge with others. They are not selfish to keep the knowledge to themselves but they share their knowledge with the world. Which in turns gives them more knowledge and gives them a good revision of their subject. As Jim Rohn said, “when you teach, people get to hear it once, but you get to hear twice”, because you heard it once before as well. You make your ears hear the message in your own voice.
The greatest and most effective scientists are helpers. They help other scientists grow. They are not jealous and make sure that other scientists also achieve what they have achieved. They don’t hide their habits from others, because they are not insecure and always wish good for others.
THE FIFTH HABIT:
The fifth habit the great scientists have is of thinking. The great scientists think in two ways; the past based thinking; and the future based thinking. They always ask themselves about a how something happened and why it happened (past based thinking), but they also ask themselves how to solve a particular problem (future based thinking).
THE SIXTH HABIT:
The sixth habit that all the great scientists have in common is the habit of working hard. The most effective scientists are never afraid of hard work. They are willing to work in the morning hours, in the afternoon hours, or in the last night hours if needed. They do understand that there is no such thing as smart work only. They know that smart work with hard work produces results.
THE SEVENTH HABIT:
The seventh habit of the most effective and successful scientists is that they are not afraid of anything. They are not scared of writing and publishing their ideas. An ordinary scientist is scared and afraid of writing and publishing his ideas because he is scared of disagreements and criticisms. However, the most effective scientists keep working and producing results, and they keep writing and publishing their findings and beliefs because they are not afraid of what people will say about them or their findings. They are absolutely okay with being wrong. They don’t get offended or feel disrespectful if someone disagrees with their findings and proves their findings wrong. Because they are life long learners and they accept their mistakes and learn from the other scientist who criticizes their findings; because they know that being a human, we all can be wrong. But if the criticism is wrong and unjustified, they forgive the other scientists who criticized them, because they know that we all can make mistakes and we all should be forgiven. This attitude earns them more friends and more helpers who make them more effective and more successful.
Practice these seven habits and enjoy the fruits of these habits. Anyone can develop these habits, it will not be overnight but surely it is possible to learn and develop these habits.
Dr. Hassaan Tohid