Happy Clouds and Dissertations
October 29th marks the birthday of Bob Ross. #happylittleclouds #lifeischill #hairgoals
Here are a few words of wisdom from Bob Ross for dissertation students everywhere…
We don’t know where it goes. We don’t really care.
— Bob Ross
I used to love watching Ross on television because he always seemed so carefree. I never really figured out how he did it. Did he start out carefree and let his style develop organically? Or, did he work diligently to develop a masterful technique that he could deploy in a tightly controlled manner that only appeared to be carefree? Did he even really know the answer himself?
Regardless, I can tell you for certain that you absolutely have to know where everything goes in your dissertation. You need a detailed plan right from the beginning. Your plan is your guiding light. It’s your security blanket. It gives you direction and confidence.
You do have a certain amount of freedom when developing your plan. But, if you want to graduate in a reasonable amount of time, you don’t have time to experiment and explore.
The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.
— Bob Ross
Belief is a strong ally. But, what creates belief? Two things comes to mind: confidence and commitment.
Your commitment to earning your doctoral degree derives from the vision you cast for your life after graduation. Are you planning to advance your career? To advance your salary? Do you want to share your experience with others? What impact do you want to make on the world? These dreams and visions serve as your motivation when the going gets tough.
But what about confidence? Belief can certainly give way to doubt when confidence wanes. But, doctoral students are a confident bunch. As a doctoral student, you’ve seen success in college. You’ve earned a masters degree. You’ve completed a year or more of courses at the doctoral level. But, you know what you’ve never done before? A dissertation.
The dissertation process shakes confidence, often making good students feel like they’ve hit their ceiling.
The way to regain confidence and re-establish your belief in yourself is through your support network. You need people who’ve been there and done that. They not only to tell you what to do, but also to help you maintain the confidence you need to succeed.
We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.
— Bob Ross
Oh, if only it were so… I really did enjoy watching Ross turn blobs of paint into mountains, trees, waves, and happy little clouds. But, there are no happy accidents in dissertations.
In this world accidents almost always result in delay.
Delays that can be stressful.
Delays that can be costly.
Delays that can turn into failure.
If you want to get your dissertation done, graduate, and get on with your life, you have to avoid mistakes (or accidents). You have to plan the work and work the plan. You have to be diligent and persistent but also focused and steadfast.
It’s not Bob Ross’s happy little clouds. But, hey, when you finish your dissertation, you’re gonna have to come up with something fill your newly found free time. Maybe you could take up painting!