Rubik’s Cubes and Dissertations

On May 19, 1974, Erno Rubik invented the puzzle what would later become known as the Rubik’s Cube. If you know how to solve one, finishing your dissertation is going to be a piece of cake!…

Do you know how to solve a Rubik’s cube? If you don’t, you probably feel like it’s impossible. Maybe you can get one side but you can’t move past that. The truth is, there are a few methods for solving a Rubik’s cube. It’s a formula, just like completing your dissertation….

According to Google’s supercomputers, a Rubik’s cube has 43 quintillion, or 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different combinations. However, every single of the 43 quintillion combinations of a 3×3 Rubik’s cube can be solved in 20 moves or less.

That almost makes it sound easy, doesn’t it? So, why do people have so much trouble, then?

Well, the trick is…you’ve got to know what you’re doing! [Oh, thanks. Thatreally helps!]

You have to pick a workable strategy and stick with it. Otherwise, you’ll just get horribly lost, repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

…Just like your dissertation!

Here’s what many consider the simplest method for solving a Rubik’s cube. Sure, you can do it other ways. If you can, good for you! If not…better stick with this way.

  1. Get a white cross into the center of the top layer, making sure the center squares on the top two layers match colors.
  2. Solve the white corners. Now the top layer is all white and the edges of the top layers have each of the three squares the same color.
  3. Solve the second layer.
  4. Make a yellow cross on the opposite side of the cube from the white side.
  5. Solve the yellow edges
  6. Solve the yellow corners
  7. Orient yellow corners so the whole cube is aligned…and you are done!

Sounds easy, right? So…is it cheating if I tell you the steps?

Here’s a great video to help you out. If you watch it, you’ll see that it still isn’t easy, even when someone tells you how!

Solving a Rubik’s cube is a fairly big accomplishment, even if someone else tells you how to do it.

The same thing is true for your dissertation. Learning from the efforts and mistakes of others isn’t cheating!

It’s still your dissertation!

Your name is going on the title page.

You’re still going to be the one doing the work.

So, go ahead, read tips online. Talk to successful doctoral students. Talk to your advisor. Read the dissertations of others from your school. What patterns do you notice? What have other people done that made them successful. How can you emulate them?

Having trouble solving more than one side of your dissertation cube? Then, 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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