Science Isn’t About Hope, It’s About the Truth
“Any words of advice?” I asked my mentor. I was about to sit down and crunch the numbers on my very first research study.
And I’ll never forget what he said: “You get what you get, and you don’t complain.”
I cocked my head. “And what does that mean?”
“All of the work that’s led to this, the hypothesis. The research design. IRB approval. Recruiting participants. It’s done. In the past,” he explained. “Don’t let it influence you. Let the data speak. Even if you don’t like what it has to say. You’re a scientist now. And science isn’t about hope. Or feeling comfortable. It’s about the truth.”
Past a Certain Point, Hope Is Just Denial in Prettier Clothes
I’ve thought back many times on those words. Whenever confronted with an uncomfortable reality. Even uttered them to myself, as an attempt to keep my thoughts grounded: “You get what you get, and you don’t complain.”
Pretending it wasn’t so, that things were different? What good would that do?
Before anything could be fixed, it needed to be accepted.
Now, acceptance doesn’t mean you roll over and just let the universe do whatever it wants to you. But denial? That’s no good either.
And it’s good to come into situations optimistic. But past a certain point? Hope is just denial in prettier clothes.
You Get What You Get and You Don’t Complain (or Do You?)
The first part is the easier of the two: You get what you get.
The killer? Well, it’s the second half: You don’t complain.
Because as much as I’d like to exercise the kind of detachment I strive for as a scientist, I can never quite manage it when it comes to romantic relationships. I love deeply. Get attached. Form expectations. I care.
And yes, sometimes I get hurt.
And when it’s hurt? My heart complains. It throws a full-on tantrum.
My book is out!