My mode of operation as I was growing up was to focus on the things I knew I was good at, and avoid those things I thought I had a high probability of failing. Part of this was to avoid ridicule. And part of it was to avoid hell. I firmly believed that if I tried something new out and it ended up being a bad thing, or a sinful thing, then I was destined for eternal punishment.
I met a friend during the week who described himself as an entrepreneurial scientist. He has been stuck in a lab for a long time and is about to make the change into business. But even in the lab he knew he was a bit different because of the free spirited / agile way he successfully went about his lab work.
This is how I am starting to now live. Being prepared to experiment and have a go, absorbing the fear of hell and ridicule, knowing that what I learn in the process far outweighs living in the safe shadows. The lean scientist.