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How to be productive on publishing scientific papers?
I totally agree with the idea of "being moderately good at everything", though, it is exactly what slows down the whole process of "churning out" papers - way too many things to be good at. Those who publish much more than average either participate a tiny bit (the 5th, 10th etc author) or publish utter nonsense. I hope you feel better now :)
Fear of failure
Well, in similar situations I usually ask myself whether my fear is a "real" fear. What does it have to do with really important things, like life/death, health, your kids/parents etc.? Meeting a deadline is important but it won't hurt you if you don't; failing an exam won't kill you either. I think Steve Jobs said something on this account (but in a much better way than I did). youtube.com/watch?v=VHWUCX6osgM