Dr. Isaiah Hankel received his doctorate in Anatomy & Cell Biology and is an expert on mental focus, behavioral psychology, and career development. He is the founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist®, a career training company that specializes in helping PhDs transition into corporate careers. He is also the director of Hankel Leadership®. Isaiah is the author of several books, including “Black Hole Focus” and “The Science of Intelligent Achievement.”
In this interview, Isaiah begins by discussing his background in academia and the various projects that he’s working on. He explains what Cheeky Scientist® does, and talks about his motivation for creating it. Isaiah then reveals the biggest gaps between formal education and industry jobs. He talks about the importance of confidence and changing our perspective to open up new opportunities. He also expands on the curse of knowledge and how uncertainty is tough to deal with.
Chris talks about how we craft narrative for ourselves, and Isaiah explains how we create an indentity through our narratives. Isaiah shares his personal journey, and offers some strategies for breaking away from our identity and carving a new path. He also talks about the power of resolve and commitment. Isaiah then goes into detail on breaking patterns by feeling our needs consistently, being gentle with ourselves, and using data and feedback. He describes the three most important psychological needs: growth, autonomy, and connection. He talks about how to recognize if our needs are not being met.
Next, Isaiah provides a number of examples on using data and feedback to measure progress and foster growth. We ask him to discuss his motivation for writing “Black Hole Focus.” Isaiah talks about deconstructing purpose into who, what, how, and why, and elaborates on each. He also walks us through how to map out our perfect day, and align our desired goals and outcomes with our perfect day. Chris then talks about how we often repeat patterns that no longer serve us. Isaiah elaborates on the idea of choosing our own adversity. He explains how to do this by asking ourselves better questions.
Chris discusses the importance of asking for help and using data to solve specific problems. Isaiah talks about getting outside perspectives from trusted advisors. He also explains why the more agreeable we are, the worse we fare in life and career. He discusses how to get more clarity and recenter our focus by stepping away and going on a relationship fast. Chris then talks about how he has cultivated more clarity and purpose by disconnecting from social media and news, going on retreats, and meditating everyday.
Isaiah explains how he uses apps to track how he spends his time. He also reveals where he sometimes falls into time traps. He emphasizes the importance of aligning monetary goals with the amount of time and energy spent on achieving them. Finally, Isaiah leaves us with some parting advice and words of wisdom. He reiterates listening to ourselves, going on a relationship fast if necessary, and looking at the data. He also reminds us to ask better questions to help us expand outside our current algorithm.
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