A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
-Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
The name of this heading is a bit of a double entendre. It's about the rest of me - that is, me besides my research. It's also about rest, as in, recovery.
I'm naturally curious about many things, and come up with possibly silly ideas (such as, dinner plates and toilets were made out of china to keep them as frictionless as possible, so now we have teflon why don't we move to non-stick plates all around?) And I read. And talk.
Which is a bit odd, seeing as this is also a pretty good description of my job! But more seriously, I have what is called a "barbell" strategy: I either do work, or I read or talk about something quite off my main track. Doing something that's not work, but close, is wasting time I should probably spend on work anyway; on the other hand, learning something completely new could give me new ideas. Also, I believe that "...the tired parts of the mind can be rested and strengthened, not merely by rest, but by using other parts."
I think the main challenge in contributing solidly - in career, relationships, and life in general - is in striking a balance between being tactful and being candid. It's important to have integrity, to be able to get things done; it's also important to have empathy, to be able to work with people and to keep going. I believe in building up trust with people, whether they are mentors, collaborators, or students, so I can talk to them freely.
I believe in old-school grit and patience, and that it's important to pay one's dues, and learn. "And it's that process that is the magic."