A scientists mind #1

An honest insight.

Epic Steamer Lane (with my dear friend ‘Fleischpeitsche’)

This week, I’ve been struggling a bit: Too many things in the mind and too little time. We all know the situation. When stress catches up with you. When you have one million things in your mind and don’t know what to do first. When work seems more like a burden than fun. Yes, that’s part of it – but it should never take over and be a constant state of mind.

For me, it is always a struggle between excitement, pushing things forward and getting things done while keeping my inner balance. I tend to power through not realizing my batteries are emptying. And often I have those ‘work-thoughts’ in my mind that just won’t disappear. It’s funny, because I love what I’m doing, and I love science, working with people and publishing – but at times, things are just getting too much. But over the years (OK, I’m not that old but still) I’ve learned to not overdo things.

We just need to realize that we must live in accordance to our needs and not somebody else’s needs. In other words: Don’t compare yourself to somebody else. Compare yourself to yourself and try to be the best you, not the best somebody else. Our society is crazy, and the world seems to be turning too fast. Even more important it is to not follow this speed, if we really want to change something. Is it really realistic to publish three papers a year? Can you even remember what you wrote if you publish in this speed? Is it fun? Or is it better to produce one good paper? As long as we’re playing this game, the world will keep spinning faster – and it is up to us to change that. Many people have realized that something is wrong in science – and so do I. Let’s work on changing this! I encourage everybody to not let those external (‘You have to write x papers a year’) or internal (‘I need to publish a lot to get a decent job’) pressures determine your life.

Life is much more than science and work, and there are so many things to learn and explore in the world. Writing your PhD is not about becoming a ‘science vampire’, but also a process where your personality should grow. I found my way to balance somehow with daily meditation, be it with my good friends Leo and Malkin, or in the field with John (D. Marshall). The other thing that keeps me grounded is surfing. And having that said, I want to share this beautiful clip that is so inspiring – not only because it is the best surfer in the world performing – but also because of the lyrics and words about our mind that create this feeling of ‘Yes you can do it!!!’ in me.

Take care of yourselves! Mahalo, Matthias

Matthias Beyer
Matthias Beyer
Research Group Leader at TUBS, Fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation, Boardsports-fanatic