Staying Resilient in the Face of Challenges
Setbacks are inevitable. While they may feel catastrophic in the moment, with the right outlook, challenges can be the key to learning, improving, and moving forward.
Here, peers and colleagues share ways they adapt in the face of missteps large and small.
Consider how their experiences can help reshape your perspective and navigate your own path onward, even when the bigger picture seems out of reach.
What are your tactics for staying resilient in a demanding, rigorous field? Don’t give failure the last word — join the conversation below.
"Regardless of how things go wrong, just keep working because negative data is still data and it allows us to understand what we didn't before. If something doesn't work, keep trying because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow."
-Catherine Salussolia, Stony Brook University
"I was sitting in the lab one day doing an animal surgery while recording dopamine transients and it wasn't working. The director of my lab came in and said 'I know that you are having a hard time, but I am telling you, it is like digging for oil. You will dig 99 oil holes and then finally find one that makes everything worth it.' He is completely right. Since then, I have had more success, and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel if I work hard enough.”
-Evan Nicolai, Mayo Clinic
"I try to look at long-term implications and realize I need try to attack one little problem at a time."
-Cynthia Delong, University of Michigan
"I am always thinking about my thought process and considering how I can approach different scenarios in a more positive fashion. I am always working toward keeping a positive frame of mind."
-Aiyana Batton, Mayo Clinic
"I try to keep an eye on the bigger picture and remind myself why I am doing what I am doing and why it is beneficial for society. Even a small failure is not a big deal."
-Julia Gottwald, University of Cambridge
"Realize that tomorrow is another day. I’ve often gone back to the lab the next day and thought, ‘That didn't work, or maybe I should try it this way.’ It is all about perspective. It’s a difficult field, but you have to be resilient to bounce back. Every door closed is another door opened."
-Stuart Gibb, Blood Systems Research Institute
"I usually go to my support system — friends and colleagues — or take a little time to recover by staying by myself and then going back to the lab to start again."
-Irena Parvanova, Hunter College
"Don't give up and keep going. Believe in your idea. Keep going forward."
-Eduardo Umeoka, University of São Paulo