How can I be less emotionally invested in my technical ideas?
August 19, 2013 4:55 AM Subscribe
Why do I get so emotionally invested in "eureka" ideas that them having done before leads to a crash-and-burn for me? How do I avoid this?
posted by gadha to grab bag (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going to phrase this question in the context of my world but I'm sure others will identify whatever their field.
I work in research, specifically in computer systems engineering. Often, I'll have what I consider an idea that can change things/improve things significantly. Doing a ltierature review on the idea will inevitably lead me to realise it's been done (and was published in a top tier conference)!
This is the point at which other researchers would raise an eyebrow and walk away. For me it feels like a breakup or that the idea was "stolen" from me. I get really emotionally attached to these niche ideas. I've noticed the reaction is much stronger if the work was published recently (in the last 5 years), if the idea has a real impact, if it was published in a really good conference or if it's one of those "trick" ideas which is an observation made into a tangible improvement. I've thought long and hard about why I get so invested and the only thing that comes to mind is the loss of a potentially awesome contribution (which I suppose reduces to ego). It inevitably ends up with me beating myself up for never having an "original" idea.
I know this will continue to happen through my life I just need a way to deal with it better and distance myself.
I've talked to my colleagues about this but the reactions I've got lead me to believe they don't suffer similar issues. I'm looking for anything that helps others to cope with this sort of scenario.