The workaday high points of bioscience careers are fairly obvious. Getting that publishable result finalized, analyzed and figure-ified. Getting a paper accepted. Getting a fabulous score on that grant proposal. But these moments are as much celebrational as motivational. Perhaps even more so.
Sometimes it is the little moments that are the best motivators.
Galvanizing moments of my day to day science are pretty small potatoes. Celebrating events such as paper acceptances or good grant scores are a big deal, yes, but are more likely to motivate "let's knock off and go to the pub". They are not really motivational for the work itself. What really gets me going are the little moments that are pregnant with unfulfilled yet attainable success. These little moments are not about petty victories over a balky piece of equipment or programming bug, they are something a little more.
Little motivating moments come when you get that result that lets you know that you will be getting useful and informative data in short order, or at least by buckling down and just collecting it. Perhaps the point where the major technical hurdles are solved and you obtain that N=1 of totally clean data that you are sure will go into the end figure. If lucky, it is the N=1 that agrees fabutabulously with your hypothesis but anything that is a "good" observation will do.
It is especially delicious when you are starting a series of studies that will either beat back your usual critics with a big hammer or else tell you your last year's worth of experiments are complete crap!
I'm having a little moment in one of my projects...