Wednesday, 4 September 2013

PhD Wisdom

I urge you to have a look at the link above. Someone out there has written some good, succinct advice.

I cite:

For me, the change happened when I relaxed, and stopped worrying about the end result, and just focused on doing things carefully. I told myself, “I don’t care if this works or not, but I’m going to do it to the best of my ability anyway”. [...]

There was a real possibility I would fail my PhD, but I told myself that if I did fail, I would be OK. It would not be the worst thing that would happen in my life, and although it wouldn’t be nice, I would cope. 
I would find a job somehow. I didn’t know how, and I had no plan, but I trusted in my own ability to cope with whatever happened.
True confidence is not having certainty over exactly how things will work out, because that is impossible. True confidence, whether you quit your PhD or continue, comes from not knowing how things will work out, but doing it anyway.


  1. I've been reading that "I hate my PhD" post today at 6:00 am, so this is a nice coincidence.

    I think it is obvious from posting comments that I'm in a procrastination phase right now :)

    Procrastination phase: is when I start obsessing about completing anything I've ever thought of, every thought becomes a priority, and the last thing I want to do, is to work on my PhD, I work 20 min then waste 10 hours !!!

    I know it will go away, I keep on starting (learnt this from the "Now Habit book" you recommended) , and the phases are getting shorter, so a slight improvement, I know I'll pick up momentum soon, just trying to push for now.

    Getting back to the website, I google "I hate my PhD" whenever I feel low, your blog comes up first :) and it cheers me up (thanks so much), then I noticed the post above so I read it, I've read some stuff on his blog before I find it very helpful, he had a video about writing, and that is where I first came across the quote "Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it".

    So today I watched the painless phd free preview, something that really resonated was in video 4, "why it is inevitable that things will go wrong"
    at 1:18
    he said "Success in a PhD is never about perfect planning, it is about how react practically and PSYCHOLOGICALLY when your plan goes wrong"

    I've learnt that fact the hard way, I am not able to control my reactions that effectively yet. But it is extremely helpful for anyone starting a PhD to know that it boils down to that.

    Another extremely helpful thing I found today, that I believe helps in building psychological resilience for life in general, and specially for a PhD, is this:

    "How to make stress your friend"

    1. loved the stress talk - thanks! you know, i too react in stupid ways whenever things get difficult (as you may have gathered from the blog). even if i know my reaction is silly, I still get carried away... therapists are great for that. thanks for posting. and good luck!