My girlfriend Julia is a research neuroscientist. She recently had her research published in a science journal called Frontiers. Her research shows that our bodies unconsciously predict seemingly unpredictable future events.
Getting published is a big deal for a scientist. But she began fretting about the publicity the article is bringing her because she is currently applying for professor jobs at colleges around the USA and she felt the colleges would look unfavorably at the work, as it is very controversial. She was stuck and suffering. I offered my clutter busting services so she could get some relief.
Julia said, "I'm applying for jobs as an assistant professor. I'm afraid that the schools I'm applying to will get wind of this and think it's flaky, but it's not. My concern is the paper suggests that our bodies are anticipating future events and we don't have any external clues about how our bodies do this. In the paper we say it can't be supernatural because nothing is beyond the laws of nature, but again we don't know the explanation. So a lot of scientists will be skeptical of that. In my mind I anticipate resistance. Although I haven't experienced it. Some of the scientists I've talked to said, 'Well, that's interesting.' So, but, however..."
I said as a clutter buster, I wanted to point out that as she talked she was turning red, holding her head, and fidgeting around like she was sitting in an uncomfortable chair. The way she was thinking about the situation was causing her to worry. She was anticipating negative reactions from places she applied to for her jobs, even though that's not what was happening to her. Some scientists were actually open to her work. So the fear seemed to be inside of her, not a reaction to something that was happening outside of her. I asked, "Has it been serving you to be in fear of what these universities might be thinking about?"
Julia said, "Part of me thinks it does serve me to hide that. But then I went public with it. It's out there in Frontiers and the Wall Street Journal. Do I pretend it's not out there and it doesn't exist? It feels like I'm trying to get rid of a part of myself. I mean that's research I really love. I'm very passionate about it. It doesn't feel okay to just say, 'Well, I'm going to apply for your job, but I won't mention that I was in the Wall Street Journal.'"
I said, "So you like having your research out there?"
Julia said, "Yeah, I do."
I said, "And you like that people are reading it?"
She said, "I feel great about it."
I said it appears what she was doing supports her. She liked the work she did. She liked the press that she and the paper were receiving. She hasn't received any negative feedback. She'd actually gotten positive reviews. So that's all she knew. She didn't know anything else. I pointed out that she looked really strong in the moment. Like a solid rock. I said, "You're looking very Juliaish."
Julia smiled and said, "It feels powerful to say I'm going to take all of what I'm interested in, whether other people think it's controversial, or boring, or whatever people think about it. But I'm going to put it under one tent which is 'things I'm interested in.' And I'm going to celebrate it all! I'm excited because I get to have all of myself with me."
Julia's research paper in Frontiers.
The Wall Street Journal's article about Julia's research.