Could you walk away from your work?

In The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail — but some don’t, Nate Silver states that “one sign you have made a good forecast is that you are equally at peace with however things turn out — not all of which is in your immediate control.” [130]

I think this concept applies to far more than just predicting weather forecasts, stocks, or how well particular baseball players will perform over the course of their careers. This applies to decisions that we make and how well we do our work.

I know that I’ve done a good job with my research, or really, my work in general, when I am comfortable presenting it and leaving it there to speak for itself after I present the work. When I have truly done my best, I am comfortable walking away from the work. It can exist independently, without me.

The ideal for any organizer is that your program will continue running without you, even if you quietly disappeared. The ideal for any researcher is that the work has merit and value, even when you are not there to carefully re-explain it.

So that is what I strive for. When I complete work, am I at peace with it? Does it have the legs it needs to stand on its own. Am I able to grant the work its independence?