How to Make an Impact?

"You and Your Research" is an exceptional talk by Richard Hamming you can find on the Internet. The central question of the discussion is,

Why do so few scientists make significant contributions and so many are forgotten in the long run?

Some of his findings apply to many fields, not only science. And the broader question would be,

How to make an impact?

Here is my take on what helps to produce outstanding, impactful work:

  • Consistency. Louis Pasteur said, "Luck favors the prepared mind." If you are prepared and consistently pursue what you believe is impactful, you are ready to catch an opportunity at the right moment.
  • Courage. It makes you unstoppable and keeps you motivated to solve challenging problems, even if they seem impossible to tackle.
  • Drive. Learn as much as possible. Knowledge is like compound interest. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity.
  • Inspiration. Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration." Work smart. That 1% of inspiration is what makes a huge difference.
  • Independency. Thinking out of the box, originality, and a healthy dose of skepticism help pushing forward some of the best ideas.
  • Selling. Learn to write well, present your work, and sell it. Excellent communication opens many doors.