What are the most Important Characteristics for Success in Academic Research?

What are the most Important Characteristics for Success in Academic Research?

What are the most Important Characteristics for Success in Academic Research?

We have asked several proofreaders with multiple years of experience about the main characteristics for succeeding in the world of academia. This is what they had to say.  


There are numerous characteristics that contribute to your success. While ranking them is nearly difficult, I will attempt to select a handful that I believe are truly significant.


1. The absence of fear.

Although I rarely see this response, I credit it with a large portion of my personal success. While my colleagues worried about all the possible reasons for a specific research challenge to fail, from A to Z, I was already doing it. Often, I find students paralyzed by the possibilities before them, rather than jumping headfirst into the most likely road to success.

This is also closely tied to the capacity for failure and the ability to deal with failure. We all fail, yet it is difficult to recognize failure for what it is and go on. I have witnessed colleagues who have been harmed by huge personal and professional setbacks, and they are never the same again.

I have been fortunate in both regards, as I experienced several personal catastrophes early in my research career, which resulted in much sorrow. After overcoming those obstacles, research failures seemed trivial in comparison. That fundamentally altered my perspective on study, and taking risks and dealing with setbacks became much easier.

While I would never wish my personal adversity on anyone, I would say that in order to be brave, you should fail frequently, fail early, and fail severely. Once you have overcome it and risen again, you will be much more prepared to succeed.


2. Originality.

This is frequently noted. True creativity, I believe, is a gift, but it can also be learned. When working on any research, it is the originality stemming from your work that is highly taken into account by readers. In a specific discipline, it is the contribution you add to the existing literature that counts. The uniqueness. The originality of the ideas and methodology you undertake.


3. A spirit of humility.

Academic research is a perpetual source of humility. Regardless of the awards you receive, the papers you produce, or the plaudits you earn, there will always be people who are better, faster, or smarter than you. Attending conferences, reading papers, and conversing with people serve as continual reminders of how restricted you are and how far you still have to go. It is exceedingly difficult to overcome the twisted feeling in your belly, the anxiety that you are not good enough, that you will never measure up to the caliber of your coworkers, friends, and advisors. If you are not careful, this can consume you internally and render you paralyzed.

Even those with an abundance of humility will struggle at times, since we are continuously compared to several people in our area. One solution is to learn to give an F#@* what others say, whether positive or negative, and to gauge your metric for success exclusively on how you feel about your own work. This is a much easier said than done proposition. I believe it took me almost two years to get this “under control.” However, even now, there are times when I wish I were as intelligent, industrious, or creative as some of my friends/colleagues. At the very least, I can use them as motivation to work harder. At the very least, I will divert my attention by burying my head in my present project or some investments.


4. Patience.

To deal with ideas that just will not come, studies that just will not work, people who just will not respond, skills that take an eternity to develop (and appear to never do), mastery that just will not happen, and all the other many issues that come with study. Indeed, you require it in order to deal with yourself when you make a mistake or simply reach rock bottom.

I lack patience. I was constantly rushing… Rushing into ideas, skimming over papers, and scribbling notes. As a result, I never established the necessary strong foundation of knowledge. My work was not meticulous. I committed errors. I blew stuff away. Without patience, it is difficult to persevere through anything. Certain tasks simply require time, and the faster I wanted to complete them, the worse they seemed.

Allow yourself the time necessary to complete tasks. Take an hour if you require it to prepare materials. Take your time. The amount of redoing and error correction simply consumes more time.


5. A clear mind.

Without a clear mind, there is no logic, and thus no good job.
No clear thinking equals tension, which equals no excellent job.
Without a clear mind, a person’s mental state deteriorates, resulting in ineffective labor.
Are you getting the picture? We are frequently so distracted by difficulties such as job searching, failed experiments, and a lack of publications that we lack the mental clarity necessary to focus on the task we have. Our profession is extremely taxing and necessitates a clear mind in order to work through issues and maximize our thinking time. When things go wrong, our minds are frequently clouded by negative affect and cognition. Occasionally, people spiral out of control as a result of it and never recover. That is why some assert that we require guts and fortitude to conquer these obstacles. Additionally, we require a clean, healthy mind in order to perform fully and efficiently while we push forward.


5. Self-compassion.

Numerous people become gloomy and demotivated when things go wrong. As great students, we are not accustomed to things failing. We see these studies published on a daily basis. We observe academic superstars thinking and functioning as though there are no constraints. We feel foolish, insignificant, worthless, and futile. What good is joining a field if you can not even do a single experiment correctly?

You must have self-compassion. This allows you to exercise patience and maintain a clear mind. Self compassion teaches you that mistakes and failures are inevitable – they are a part of being human. We simply need to forgive ourselves, learn from our mistakes, and go forward. Having that mentality will provide you with the patience necessary to study and master, the clarity of mind necessary to perform, and the fortitude necessary to win the marathon, not the sprint.

In the long run, I believe that these will provide you with the equanimity and clarity necessary for conducting study. When you are focused on the task at hand rather than on your shortcomings, and when you take the time to complete tasks properly rather than rushing to complete sloppy work, you are functioning calmly, efficiently, and effectively.


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