Editor’s Preamble to the Profile of Robert Lefkowitz
What makes an investigator successful? This is a fascinating question that should interest virtually all of our readers. One of our motivations to publish Profiles in Cardiovascular Science is to offer insights into this enormously important issue from the perspective of people who are in a very good position to teach us about it because they themselves have attained the pinnacle of success. In the interview featured below,1 Bob Lefkowitz offers his perspective. His analysis of the qualities that are important for success will be a treasure trove of valuable information for our readers, particularly for early career investigators and for those contemplating a life in research. He is right that being smart (cognitive intelligence) and having ambition, drive, and focus are all very important.
However, if I had to pick just one factor that I consider crucial for success, I would pick hard work. This is, by far, the main determinant of an investigator’s career. Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. One can be a genius, but if one does not work hard, the genius will be wasted. Nothing can replace hard work. Intelligence cannot. Intelligence is actually less important than hard work. The world is full of very smart people who never made it because they did not work hard. Conversely, there are many hard-working people who are successful even though their intelligence is only average, or just above the average.
I may be wrong, but I do not believe the irreplaceable role of hard work as the key determinant of career outcome is being adequately stressed upon young investigators. I believe this should be made clear to all aspiring scientists, as a life of hard work clearly is a choice that requires a specific personality, a specific set of values, and a strong commitment.
This Editor’s Preamble was originally published as part of the interview with Robert Lefkowitz for the Circulation Research series Profiles in Cardiovascular Science. The original article is available online at http://circres.ahajournals.org/content/106/5/812.full
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.