“It’s the views, it’s those little things. You know, the wonders of life.”
Imagine waking up with the goal of discovering a new piece of knowledge to share with the world. That’s exactly how our featured guest starts each day.
We are pleased to introduce Dr. Brian Caplin for today’s Something Significant interview. Brian is the Founder and Chief Science Officer of Fluoresentric, a molecular diagnostic company located in Park City, Utah. He has dedicated his life to advancing the identification of infectious diseases.
Dr. Caplin and his team are at the leading edge of innovation of infectious disease diagnostics. Fluoresentric’s breakthrough technology delivers superior results in minutes (instead of hours) and closer to the point of care (rather than waiting for lab results). One day soon, they plan to bring the ability to test for disease into the consumer’s home.
At Happy Living, we believe that the daily pursuit of significance is what brings meaning to life. Dr. Brian Caplin understands significance and is an excellent role model for living a life of meaning. We think you will find his interview interesting and inspiring…
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got where you are today?
As a young man at Wabash College, I had my sights set on becoming a physician. I was studying all of the essential pre-med classes and thought that a little extra experience with laboratory work might just be the thing to set me apart from all those other students applying for medical school.
During my junior year I worked with my academic advisor in his laboratory, to study the inheritance genetics of a particular species of algae. What surprised me most was that I was thrilled doing basic research and creating new scientific knowledge. I was hooked. Medical school dropped off my radar, and graduate school was my new objective. Since that time, I haven’t thought twice about not becoming a physician and wake every day with the goal of discovering some new piece of knowledge that I can share with the world.
How has significance played a role in your journey?
Significance, a strange concept indeed. What was significant to me as a young man and what is significant to me now are fundamentally different.
When I first headed off to graduate school I felt that any research was worthwhile and was excited to begin my research education. I rapidly discovered that the focus of the graduate program that I entered was dedicated to knowledge for knowledge’s sake without much regard for the impact that such knowledge could have. This distressed me because I thought that I was going to learn and do something that would impact society, not just researchers. In my mind, I wasn’t doing anything significant. I left that graduate program to pursue another program where I could do basic research on the underlying mechanisms of cancer. This, I thought, was significant.
The information that I took away from both graduate programs has proven to me that it is impossible to know what is significant while you are in the moment. As it turns out, the knowledge that I gained in the first graduate program has proven more useful to me in my current endeavors than the knowledge I gleaned from the second graduate program. Ironic!
Was there a specific moment or situation when you became aware of those things that are most significant to you?
A moment? Hmm… how about two?
The birth of my first and second child. Beyond those, everything else pales in comparison.
What obstacles have you faced in your pursuit of significance? How did you overcome them?
Obstacles in the pursuit of significance are present everywhere and interject themselves into my life on a daily basis: things to do, places to be, people to meet. As I mentioned previously, one cannot know “in the moment” what will help further the pursuit of significance.
I overcome these daily obstacles by ensuring that my vision, or rather our corporate vision, is not clouded by someone else’s pursuit of their own significance. While no man or woman can be an island, one should not bolster another’s pursuits to the detriment of their own.
What is one thing you wish you knew 10 years ago?
I wish I had known that failure is not a death sentence. It is a learning experience to build skills for the next endeavor.
What is one hope you have for the next 10 years?
I hope and plan that each member of the Fluoresentric team commits themselves and their pursuit of significance to our company. I hope they make the right “in the moment” decisions and are rewarded for their efforts.
Are there any books or resources you would like to recommend to our readers?
Generally, I would recommend any book that expands one’s horizons beyond what they already know. My favorite topic for the past several years has been quantum physics and futurist ideas. If I were to recommend a few authors they would be Brian Greene and Brian Clegg. Both are fun to read.
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