POTUS 13 and Dissertations

January 7th marks the birthday of the 13th President of the United States. Here’re some words of wisdom from Millard Fillmore that you can apply to your dissertation…

May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.
— Millard Fillmore

According to the popular aphorism, God helps those who help themselves. And, I’ve never seen a dissertation completed and approved except by the diligent industry of the student.

Fillmore’s quote speaks more to a resignation that one will not achieve one’s goals. Hardly the mantra of persistence featured in other POTUSentries in this blog.

In fact, Fillmore’s most famous quotes tend to follow this theme:

An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory. 
— Millard Fillmore

True, except that this is a false choice. Compromise is also possible. And, in completing your dissertation, you will find that compromising with your committee is much more productive than fighting for your way against their wishes.

Completing your dissertation with significant input and feedback from your committee is a victory not a defeat. It is an honorable compromise that allows both sides to feel good about the outcome, if not the process.

Fillmore also lamented that he hated slavery but that “we must endure it.”

Now I don’t wish to judge Fillmore too harshly, here. We are all a product of our times, and who’s to say how are descendants will judge us for our treatment of computers or microbes or who knows what else. But, were Fillmore’s times really so different from Lincoln’s?

Regardless, as a doctoral student you mustn’t resolve yourself to any fate other than that you choose. If your goal is to earn your doctoral degree, develop and undertake a plan that will allow you to do so.

So, I guess that on balance, Fillmore’s words were less wisdom than warning. A cautionary tale about the dangers of letting your situation control you rather than you controlling your situation.

If you feel adrift on your dissertation journey and you’d like to exercise more control over your own experiences and outcomes, click here to schedule a quick, 15-minute chat with me to see if you’re a good fit for our Fast Track Your Dissertation Coaching Program. If you are, then I’ll invite you to join the fastest group of dissertation students out there and help you to reach graduation a good year or two faster than you would on your own.

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...

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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.

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