Daniel Lemire's blog

, 5 min read

Turn your weaknesses into strengths

6 thoughts on “Turn your weaknesses into strengths”

  1. John says:

    Nice post.

    We often talk about “pushing the boundaries” of knowledge, but your post suggests a young researcher should not do that. Instead of trying to work from the mainstream outward, they should jump outside the mainstream as far as possible, then maybe try to work backward to connect their new area to what was known.

  2. I guess I am saying that, if you are a young researcher, staying on the beaten paths is not safe. It is mostly safe for those ahead of you. They don’t want you pass them. “Stay in rank.”

    But your one weakness (that you have little under your belt) should be turned into a strength!!!

  3. Peter Turney says:

    John, your “stream” metaphor doesn’t feel right to me. Here’s another metaphor: our knowledge is a pool of light in a sea of dark ignorance. The center of the pool is well lit; this is what gets taught in schools and universities. The edges are dimly lit. There are popular edges, where things are slowly brightening, and there are less popular edges, where things are still rather dark. Daniel’s advice is for young researchers is to go to the darker edges. (Maybe you’ll see me there, although I’m not all that young. I just like working in the dimmer light.) If you shine some new light at some dark point on the edge, you don’t necessarily need to work all that hard to connect your new work to the pool of light. Just turn around and you’ll see the light behind you.

  4. I read an article this time last year in the AMS Notices about the passing of a great mathematician…who never had a PhD.

    I think my personal application of this blog post to my life is that one can study, research, master the material at the level of a doctor of philosophy, yet not require the degree to effect change.

    The change I want to see is the evolution of data science applications and processes in flight test.

    We, the flight test community, are merely children playing with dice when it comes to our understanding of probability, statistics, and other data sciences.

    Thanks the for the inspiration.

  5. justin says:

    True in many aspects. Don’t let others tell you how it is. Question everything known and unknown.

  6. M.Waqas says:

    Its a really useful advice for researchers like me who have just put their first foot in the field of research. I think Peter also further elaborated the idea in a very clear way with an excellent example.

    Again, I would like to express my thanks for the advice.