"You miss 100% of the shots you never take." -- Attributed to Wayne Gretzky

I was reminded of this quote this week after I had a grant submission rejected. Although it stung, the criticisms were legitimate and, as one of my advisors told me, "rejection is part of the process." It was this comment that reminded me of Gretzksy's quote and realizing that, although it doesn't feel good to be rejected, it does mean that I made an effort -- I can't make a shot that I don't take after all.

This was a lesson that was hard to learn in grad school and I was fortunate that I had people around me -- advisors and more advanced grad students -- advise me that it is important to send things out. In fact, as I became an advanced grad student myself and subsequently took my post-doc, it is now something that I try to advise others about. As academics, we are perfectionists. As academics, it is good to be perfectionists, it is what gives us credibility and without that instinct we would not have gotten to where we are. At the same time, it is important to remember that things will be more perfect if we seek advice and help from others; this, too, is the essence of scientific inquiry.