“Tortoise was over the line. After that, Hare always reminded himself, ‘Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for slow and steady won the race!‘“ ~The Tortoise and the Hare
When we’re doing our PhDs we can often look at professors or others further along in their studies with a sense of awe and wonder, wishing we too could have the intellect and capabilities they do.
We look at our own progress and see it as abysmally slow, desperately wishing that we could write more, be doing more interesting research or have more esteemed publications.
We look towards our professors and think that they must be geniuses and we must be idiots. But that’s not true. They’ve just got more practice than us and they’ve worked their way slowly from where we are to where they are. They have patiently chipped away, turning up each day and putting in the hours.
To us it looks like genius, but to them its patience, dedication and perseverance.
In life in general but our PhDs in particular we want to cut corners and can sometimes find ourselves wondering if there is a shortcut. Sometimes, we wish we could fast-track the PhD.
But there is no shortcut to success in your PhD or in academia. It just takes time.
Time for you to understand new literature.
Time for you to fail over and over again.
Time for you to ask questions and learn from the answers.
Time for you to write badly often enough that you write well.
Time for you to learn new techniques, methods and ways of thinking.
Time for you to learn how to be a researcher.
None of this happens quickly, so don’t focus on how far away the end of your PhD is. Instead focus on the day-to-day, on the challenges you are dealing with right now. Have faith that this will get you where you need to go.
And remember: slow and steady won the race.