You know how motivational speakers and some consultants like to use catchy words to sound cool?
Well, a catchy word is “catalyst” and I hear this thrown around a lot, as in, “I’m a catalyst. I’m a change agent!” etc.
My modus operandi is truly “catalytic.”
I mean this in both positive and negative sense of the word.
Most of the time the people who have no idea what they’re talking about when they throw out the word “catalyst”, they only use for the upside, so they can sell you something or sell you on how awesome they are (so they can sell you something).
We are quick studies,
people who know how to act when we’re maybe 60-80% ready.
Some of us impulsive ones will act with lower % certainty.
Some of us (me for example) may not be as academically gifted as our peers. We are under no delusion we’d ever be awarded for a genius prize, although we may occasionally fantasize about being recognized for our unique brand of genius.
We are drawn to stagnant situations where we see a potential for accelerating to results. We make this happen, by becoming or providing that transitional stability needed to break status quo and stagnation. We’re often outsiders coming into an incumbent system and we feel almost invincible by the political forces that have jaded the insiders.
We propel ahead by the force of our actions, to exact change.
We get high on this.
We love it when people ask, “do you ever sleep? How are you doing all this stuff?“
Being a catalyst has brought me incredible satisfaction, and at the same time, deep existential angst.
Because at some point, often quicker than I’d like, the reaction is over. My use as a catalyst is done, my purpose in this specific situation or niche has expired.
Nothing sucks like feeling, “I’m no longer useful, if I truly want to be honest about what I’m seeing here.”
I begin to grow aware of the reality that my presence is no longer being needed (regardless of what others may say, “oh there is still so much work for you to do! we need you!” I know when it’s time for me to move on… even if temporarily).
If I keep staying, I’ll end up mucking up the situation.
Because unlike a true biochemical catalyst, I am human:
I will probably behave out of spec.
It doesn’t mean I can’t be useful again because (human) nature has a way of forgetting and needing to relearn the same lessons. This is something I recently realized: “hey… that field/industry I exited, I wonder if I should make a comeback, because the same questions are erupting again.”
This isn’t some continual bliss I feel, but I’d be lying if I didn’t wish this to be the state I feel.
Rather, this is a feeling of “responsibility”, occasionally I feel solemn about it, but that’s to counter my feelings of personal angst when the passion wanes.
those of you physical chemists & biochemists will recognize that I’m using the free energy state description of how enzymes work.
by ready… shoot!shoot!shoot!…aim.