My resident theoretical physicist, who I love dearly, is often very distraught. He describes his days of wracking his brains as painful, unproductive, and, at worst, a tedious backtrack through a bunch of stuff that he got wrong and must redo or unthink. Please help me to understand what he is going through. The thousand wrong answers he must slog through seem not to make up for the one right one, and one right answer is of course not much. How do you all do it? Tell me about your lives, your mental state? How hard do you work for small results?