The PhD journey is tough. Unbelievable tough.
Little by little, it starts to get you down, and the further you travel along it, the more intense the pressure gets.
But if you’re not careful, this pressure and difficulty can start to cloud your vision.
Because there is so much difficulty, uncertainty and doubt associated with each stage of the PhD journey, it’s natural that you start to view the world (and your own abilities, more importantly) in a skewed way.
If you’re not careful, you can start to doubt yourself and your own skills.
I often feel the same, even post-PhD. Building a business has many similarities to writing a PhD (novelty, uncertainty, imposter syndrome, and more), and if I’m not careful the difficulties I encounter on a daily basis can start to define my life and my view of the world.
So what’s the antidote?
Well, there’s no getting around the fact that the PhD is tough. That’s not going to change.
Instead, it’s possible to take a step back and reflect on how far you’ve come and how many hurdles you’ve overcome to get here.
Take the time (as frequently as you can – there is no ‘too often’ with this kind of stuff) to congratulate yourself on overcoming each of the challenges and difficulties you’ve faced thus far, and to reflect on how much you’ve grown and developed in the process.
Remind yourself that, even when things get tough, you’re doing great.
This won’t make the PhD any easier, but it will start to boost your confidence. And that’s the most valuable thing in the world, isn’t it?
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