Dr. Phil and Dissertations

September 1st is Philip Calvin McGraw’s birthday. Dr. Phil has something to say about…everything! Here are some words of wisdom for your dissertation…

Do you realize that you can’t play the game of life with sweaty palms?
—Dr. Phil McGraw

You elected to enroll in a doctoral program. It was a bold decision. A decision that maybe 2-3% of the population would make. Now’s not the time to waffle. Continue being bold and decisive.

The most you get is what you ask for.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

Awesome quote!

What do you want in life? Naming it won’t make it happen, but it certainly won’t happen if you don’t decide what you want and resolve to get it!

As we’ve discussed before, you should visualize what you want your life to look like after you graduate. What will you be doing? Who will you help? What impact will you make?

In order to get there, you have to choose where there is!

I don’t care how pumped up or psyched you are to start a new [endeavor] – that emotion will fade.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

Although it’s important to have a clear picture of why you’re pursuing your doctorate, that motivation creates persistence, not progress. Progress is sustainable; persistence usually runs out.

Awareness without action is worthless.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

OK, you’re aware that motivation alone isn’t enough. So, what’re ya gonna do about it?

People are used to being coddled.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

When you took classes, your professors told you what do. They told you what to read. They told you what papers to write. They told you when to do it. They set deadlines for you.

Now that you’re working on your dissertation, you can forget about all that. All that is up to you now.

A lot of people do have tragic childhoods. But you know what? Get over it.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

Never one to mince words, Dr. Phil’s also not one to tolerate complaining. It amazes me how often accomplished adults cede their confidence and abilities when they begin their dissertation journeys.

The process is hard, yes. Committees can be unfair, yes. But, you’re not a child anymore.

Hold fast to the confidence years of hard-won successes have created! Don’t lament the inequities of your dissertation journey. To borrow one from Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”

Failure is no accident.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

Success is certainly not an accident. It requires planning and persistence. But, knowing that, failure is not an accident, either.

Not planning is a choice. Not vetting your plans carefully is a choice. Not rallying whatever support network you require is a choice.

You choose to succeed, or you choose to fail. Neither choice is an accident.

Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis to come up with a crisis plan.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

I’ve said it before: plan!

And, I’ll say it, again: plan!

The number one biggest problem dissertation students have is not the literature review. It’s not picking a topic. It’s not writing a problem statement or a prospectus or ten strategic points.

Although I’ve talked to many students who thought one of those issues was their problem, it never was. Those things were just symptoms of the problem.

The problem is that they didn’t have a plan. They didn’t know exactly how they were going to collect their data. They didn’t know who they were going to data their data from. They didn’t know what the data would look like or what they would do with the data when they got it.

When you know these things, it’s pretty straight forward to position your study in terms of a topic. It’s pretty straight forward to determine what should be in your literature review and what shouldn’t. It’s pretty straight forward to write your problem statement or prospectus or ten strategic points.

It’s never easy to complete a dissertation, but having a detailed plan certainly makes it easier.

If you want more, you have to require more from yourself.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

Put in the time!

But, don’t just put in the time. Develop a plan to organize your efforts.

But, don’t just develop a plan. Create a vision to compel yourself to do whatever it takes to execute the plan.

Let your reach exceed your grasp, but then figure out how to stretch. Only 1% of the U.S. population has an earned doctorate. And, none of them got there without working, stretching, and growing!

I just am not good at math.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

OK, I hear that a lot. Just don’t let it stop you from conducting a quantitative study. They’re faster, less risky, and less work. What’s not to love?

I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes from the WTH is He Talking About Department…

You don’t need a pack of wild horses to learn how to make a sandwich.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

You don’t need a rope to pinch a stranger’s butt.
—Dr. Phil McGraw

You get to decide exactly how to apply these gems to your dissertation journey. Best interpretation wins!

If you need extra support and guidance to make it to graduation, I may be able to help. If you'd like to find out whether you qualify for the support we offer throughout the dissertation process, then...

Let's Talk About Your Dissertation
Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: