How many times in your life have you made excuses for not doing something? And how many of those were really, really good reasons for your behavior? I’ve become more honest with myself, and I have found that I often had an excuse and sometimes- well most of the time- it seemed valid. I have heard people say “excuses are expensive” and I really thought that only concerned money, until I had chicks to raise. I was busy mixing feed in the wee hours of the morning when I found myself thinking “there really is no room for excuses where research is concerned”. Even being tired does not count. If only it were possible to write in my thesis that I missed a day of data collection because the previous day was hectic!
In all my interactions with researchers that inspire me, I have realized that none of them is comfortable with making excuses for themselves, particularly where their work is concerned. So then I decided to drop them like hot potatoes. The question I was left to answer was “what do I substitute them with?” The answer was quite simple really: COURAGE. I mean is it not courage that led to where I am? There were a million reasons why I shouldn’t be a researcher. The funniest I have heard so far is that no one will want to marry me…
Anyway, having to write and defend a proposal takes guts! I could have quit even before I begun or run for the hills when I discovered that I had to change my project proposal more than once (apparently that is normal).
I’m of the view that researchers are courageous not because they are just stubborn and never give up on their projects. I think they are courageous because they usually don’t know if their expectations will be met; they are exploring new, unknown territories — yet they persist, and complete their projects despite opposition. At this stage of my research I think the most vital work I have to do is working on myself, ensuring that I don’t compromise my work because of excuses, no matter how valid they sound. Now I know it is definitely not the absence of challenges and very nasty surprises that drives researchers onwards. But rather, it is the conviction that their chosen purpose in life must prevail.
Time to move mountains!!!