September 14th, 2019 | Navigate



I was always wondering why some people are so lucky in life. They are neither geniuses nor work that hard, yet always find themselves in the right place at the right moment, gather the right people around them, embark on the best projects or get the best jobs. Now I think I know.

Yesterday I talked to a friend who is now busy with his new project, just preparing for a market launch. If you are a budding entrepreneur, a market launch of a new product means that you have to play very many roles at a time – manage a team of people, monitor their progress, motivate them, look for investors at the same time, take care of the public appearance of the project, and present, present, and then present again.

It is easy to break under stress or work yourself to death. Indeed, even though this friend of mine was smiling, as usual, it was quite clear to me that he was physically exhausted. And, it also felt that the project was a bit stuck at this point. He also asked me how I was ever since we met last time in June and this is the point when I realized how many different things have happened in the meantime. 

I first went to a conference in Rome, where I realized that there is a huge market gap which I should fill so I immediately started a company after coming back to the Netherlands. I also started developing the next company, plus I got engaged in one more very promising entrepreneurial project with three other people on board only because I was lucky to meet someone who liked my experience in science and my business ideas enough to give me a shot.

I also got engaged in some promising scientific projects here and there only because I was invited. And, the foundation I started in November last year, all of a sudden got the ANBI status. 

Altogether, it was quite a journey even though I felt that I also spent quite a substantial amount of time partying, chilling and making new friends this summer. And then it came to my mind: when did it happen that I, all of a sudden, started appearing in the right places at the right times?

It used to be the other way around: I always considered myself rather unlucky, even doomed at times, and I always had that itchy feeling that I needed to work double hard to get the same results as other people around me. 

And now, I slowly start feeling that I am learning how to navigate between people. Of course, this is not rocket science and there will always be hiccups and misunderstandings – yet, still, I made major progress in this area. I was thinking about why this is so and came up with the idea: I think I improved because I have finally let my intuition speak. 

Everyone has some general intuition. Some people naturally have more intuition than others but it is an integral part of human nature. The problem is, when you are worried, stressed, and chronically overworked, you no longer hear this weak voice of intuition speaking somewhere in the back of your head.

You stop seeing opportunities and overlook the fact that you simply do not click with certain people and it would simply be better to go separate ways. 80% of life success depends on making the right decisions about how and with whom to spend your time, and only the remaining 20% depends on how well you execute these decisions.

When I was an undergrad, and then a graduate student, I had a habit to sleep less than necessary, filling my stomach with coffee fifteen times a day, and keeping myself busy will a lot of unproductive and unnecessary meetings, and with the accompaniment of some toxic people. Now I just have my boundaries.

When tired, I just go to sleep. When I feel bad around someone, I leave. When I feel out of energy, I go to a spa. I am trying not to put any unnecessary pressure and not to work myself to the limits. And, I started seeing all these little opportunities and life hacks I used to notoriously overlook before. I started recognizing these little signs that the project might or might not work, and just following that voice of intuition. 

Sometimes the clues you get, are as small as some key phrase being said in the other corner of the room – which is something your ear will pick up on only when you are perfectly rested. The bottom line is: that keeping the right mental hygiene is the key, as this is the only way to have good communication with your intuition. This is such a simple truth that I cannot believe it took me 33 years to realize this – but better now than never!

Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2019, September 14th). Navigate? Retrieved from

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If you would like to read more about careers (for PhDs and other white-collar professionals) and effective strategies to self-navigate in the job market, please also take a look at the blog of my company, Ontology of Value where I write posts dedicated to these topics.

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