Friday, February 22, 2008

new perspectives

So, I kind of want to write about advising.
In general I'd say that you can give best advice on things you've experienced youself, but of course, there's more to that: more than just giving an opinion, but engaging in a matter and figuring out different solutions or at least ways of proceeding.

Today I had a 2 hour phonecall from someone who I don't really know that much. I have been told before that I give the impression to know what I'm doing and also being approachable and willing to help, but there's not too many people that would call me on this (maybe mainly because most of my surrounding tends to be male), except for some really close friends... So today I felt like an adviser of some kind.

The issue is probably some mixture of the Imposter Syndrome and having failed before which I can absolutely relate to (sadly enough). Some time ago after reading this post by sciencemama, I found some other things on the web, and decided for myself that I would stop this pathological mal-thinking. What really helped me in the end was that I discovered that I am not the only one. I still have these feelings but they're put in perspective, I finally feel like I belong - at least to my specific "scientific age group".

But back to topic - It took us quite a while to figure out what the real problem was, especially because this person mistrusts people in general and second guesses every word or action, and while discussing we figured out how that person could work on the issue in general in a hopefully less selfdestructive way.
Honestly, I never had that before concerning personal matters: The same feeling I sometimes have when discussing a scientific problem. It was not about finding a solution or 5, but more about understanding the matter itself - nail the problem.
I wouldn't go as far as one of my professors who used to say that nontriviality is always in the problem, that's a definition issue, I guess every mathematician and physicist would protest (since the most intuitive theorem often is the hardest to prove), but in PsychoCrapLand the solution is often in finding the underlying cause.

Uh, this is a really horrible post. Not very insightful - as I said before, I don't really like PsychoCrap, but whatever.

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