Does doomsday news mean you should give up on your science dreams? Don’t let bad news dictate your success.

Many of you already hear the news features by popular media, like NPR, about the dire economic status of research in the US.

It is true, but we, who work at the bench, have known this for more than a decade already. We have been experiencing the direct effects first hand.

So what’s the point of this post?

Well, I’ll tell you for sure that there’s always going to be a doomsday event. However, our science doesn’t necessarily have to cease because of the news media’s doom and gloom reports.

Our attention to negative news should only be taken as feedback. The only purpose of these types of news is to highlight what pitfalls to avoid, or what alternative paths to pursue in order to reach our originally set goals.

Today’s popular news outlets compete to get audience attention. Therefore, their headlines are designed to excite or to engage the emotional fear factor. This is their revenue stream.

However, the psychological effects can be catastrophic to those who absorb the onslaught of these negative news content. Research has shown that these emotionally charged news can exacerbate already self induced anxious feelings.

The solutions is to focus on core scientific objectives. This helps to filter out the negative noises, that would otherwise, cloud judgement and careful planning. This is why having a clear outline or budget, before looking for faculty positions, can help to understand how to manage career obstacles.

Many of the successful scientists have developed a clear research goal or vision. They use outside informal (peer opinions) and formal (media news) information as reference points to help them to achieve their goals.

All too often, early career scientists allow outside influences to dictate their science, rather than the science itself. My former mentor used to say, “plan to succeed.” I find that this has been the most useful advice ever given to young investigators.

What are some recent news that have been plaguing you? What are your thoughts and concerns about the future of scientific careers?

We’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.

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