Black Hole Focus is a book that helps give a wake up call if you’re feel like you are stuck in a life that you no longer want, or are somehow distracted and bouncing around trying to figure out what it is you want to do.

I’ve had this book for a couple of years (bought it during my first “go” at reading personal and professional development books). It was bought at a time, when I thought that I might still want to do academic research, or at least try to find some type of lab manager position that would let me do the research but not have to deal with all the headaches of finding the funding to run the lab. I’ve also realized that I bought it at the right time, and I read it at the right time as well. Because to be honest, when I bought the book–I didn’t want to put in the amount of effort that it demands in trying tp figure out what my real purpose in life is (I might complain about it now, but I’ve acknowledge that I’m not happy where I’m currently at, and that is one of the first steps to finding your purpose).

This is a book that you can continually go back to for refreshers, so much information is covered that it’s hard to say I’ve got it all under control after reading it the first time. The book is broken up into three parts, where the first part is basically telling you that everyone needs a purpose in life, and why its important.

Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel. Image (c)

The second and third parts of the book are where (as far as I’m concerned) the meat of the book is located. These are the sections that should resonant with you, and have you coming back every so often going “Did I manage to accomplish everything the chapter talked about?”

The middle part of the book talks about how one should go about trying to find their purpose (though from the first part, you should already have a little idea of what your purpose is). Though I’ve finished the book—I can honestly say that I’m still working on the second part, trying to find my purpose.

Trying to find one’s purpose in today’s society is difficult when so much of society has turned its back on science. Being a scientist is really the only thing I ever wanted to be when I was younger (not counting the really outlandish thoughts of a five-year old [I had stated at one point I was either going to be a baby elephant or a small race car when I grew up]). But now, its hard to find the drive and energy to follow the staircase in the academia world.

Is my purpose still in science? I think so, I hope so—but what area of science I don’t know. That is where I’m currently at—trying to name both my future position and determine my current core priorities and then define the new core priorities that will get me to my future position.

The final part of the book covers the subject of how one should go about in fulfilling their purpose. Remember—you can’t fulfill it until you’ve found and defined it. I have ideas (some of which have come from this book) on how to fulfill that purpose, but at the same time I’m not one hundred percent certain on what that purpose is yet.

One thing I’ve realized though from both this book and others is that I’m going to have to work at getting out of my comfort zone in terms of talking with new people. I can converse with people after getting to know them, but striking up the initial conversations are difficult, and is something that I’m slowly working on (one conversation at a time).

Highly recommended book not just for those wanting to leave academic research, but for anyone who is questioning what they are doing with their lives.