John Belushi and Dissertations

January 24th is John Belushi’s birthday. Here are a few words of wisdom from Jake Blues for dissertation students everywhere…

It’s all false pressure; you put the heat on yourself… You put more pressure on yourself to make everything that much harder.
— John Belushi

The dissertation is a difficult project. But, the truth is that most doctoral students make it much more difficult than it has to be.

Choose a simple research plan that you can execute quickly, reliably, and efficiently. Try to stick with one mode of data collection. Avoid intervention-based designs; they require more work on your part and provide additional opportunities for participant attrition.

Don’t answer three research questions if two will suffice. And, don’t use two if one will do.

Don’t put any extra pressure on yourself. Keep it simple!

Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!
— Bluto (John Belushi) in Animal House

Only about half of doctoral students earn their doctoral degrees. Most of the rest decide to go through life as terminal ABDs.

You might argue that many of them are forced to quit due to lack of progress or lack of finances; they don’t decide anything. But, the truth is that students either decide to succeed or they decide not to succeed.

The problem is that the decision to quit your doctoral program isn’t usually an epiphany or a moment of clarity. Rather, it’s a thousand little excuses and delays.

Remember that you’re in control of your doctoral program. Only you can decide to quit, so don’t! Nothing’s over until you decide it is. So, decide to graduate!

We’re on a mission from God.
— Elwood Blues with his brother, Jake (John Belushi), in The Blues Brothers

Most doctoral students I speak with are on a mission. Some are called to teach; others are driven to lead. Some are called counsel, while others want to start their own businesses.

Whatever your calling, keep in mind that people look up to doctors, not doctoral students. For now, your mission is graduation.

You have your whole life to do your life’s work. Let your mission motivate your study, not derail it.

If you’re having trouble getting past your dissertation so that you can pursue your true mission, 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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