Smiles and Dissertations

June 15th is National Smile Power Day. Smiling has been shown to improve your mood, improved mood leads to improved productivity, and improved productivity, well that’s how you get your dissertation done!…

One, two, three…SMILE! It does a mind and body good!

But how can you find something to smile about when you’re exhausted from working on your dissertation? I’ve got a couple of ideas: reframing and jokes.

What’s reframing?

Have you ever found yourself slipping into negative thought patterns? “Why is it taking me so long to finish my dissertation? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I make progress?”

If so, you can reframe your issue and improve your outlook. “Check me out – I’m working on my dissertation! I bet 16 year-old me wouldn’t have seen that coming!”

If you can find a way of framing the situation that’s a little more positive, you’ll feel more motivated and be more resilient.

And, if that doesn’t work to get you smiling, There’s always jokes.

Here’s one that my kids used to love when they were younger:

Why was six afraid of seven? Because 7, 8, 9!

Juvenile, I know. But did I get a little smile? Even a little one?

Here’s another:

A man walked into a bar… It hurt!

OK, that one’s not much better. One more try..

A lonely old man walks into a pet store. He tells the clerk that he wants a pet to share time with.

“I don’t have anyone to talk to since my wife passed.”

“Well, we have a parrot here. Great talker. It’s just that…”

“What? He sounds perfect!”

“Well, uh, his previous owner was a sailor, and, uh… Have you ever heard the expression curse like a sailor?”

“Oh, I’m sure that the good Lord will grant me the patience to teach him humility, and that he’ll be just the companion I’m looking for.”

So, the old man brings the parrot home, sets his cage down on the kitchen table, lifts the cover, opens the door, and invites the bird to climb out onto his arm.

The bird takes one look around and says, “I’ve lived in some @*&$#-y places before, but what kind of %^*&#-ing, @!^%*&-ing dump is this?”

“Now, little bird that’s not the sort of language you should use, and this is the house I shared with my wife for fifty-“

“Language!? I’ll say whatever the *@&#%-ing #^*@@& I want!”

“No, little birdy. You need some time to think about what I said.”

And, the old man placed the bird back in his cage, lowered the cover, and left him there until the next day.

And, on the next day when he let the parrot of the cage, he asked, “Are you ready to have a polite conversation?”

To which the bird responded, “Polite!? Do you think it’s %#*&-ing polite to lock me in a @&#%-ing cage and…”

Back in the cage he went. And, the old man said, “Merciful God, please grant me the strength to help this bird see the error of his ways.”

And, so he did. For five days the man rose in the morning, brought the bird out to talk, and was disappointed. For five days he gently remanded the bird to his cage and dutifully lowered the shade.

On the sixth day, the man arose, walked into the kitchen, and lifted the shade on the parrot’s cage. But, on this day, before he could even invite the bird to hop on his arm, the curse-laden epithets and insults flew.

The man snapped. He thrust his hand into the cage, grabbed the bird, marched over to the freezer, threw him in, and slammed the door, saying, “Maybe you can think about your behavior in there!”

And, the moment he did it, he felt guilty. “Oh Lord, I lost my strength. How can I get that poor bird to forgive me?” He reached for the door to let the parrot out, but then the cursing started again. “m@m&m#m%-ing old man! I’m gonna m%m^m*m&m#-ing m#m^m*m@m@m&…”

And, then it stopped. “Oh no, what have I done?” wailed the man. He reached for the door handle, but couldn’t bear to look at what he might find. As his hand hovered inches from the door, unsure of whether he should open it or walk away, he heard something…

*tap*, *tap*, *tap*

He looked around, leaned in toward the freezer, and heard it again.

*tap*, *tap*, *tap*

He flung the door open, and there stood the parrot, shivering. The old man extended his arm, and the parrot climbed up gingerly.

“Please, sir. I humbly ask for your undeserved forgiveness for my persistently callous attitude and insufferable ingratitude. You have warmly opened you home to me, and I have repaid your saint-like kindness with odious insults and foul rejoinders. If you can but forgive me once more, I pledge to never give cause to beg your forgiveness ever again, and we shall share every day from this day to our last.”

The old man stood there, jaw agape, wondering at what had just happened. He offered his arm. And, as the bird climbed up he said…

“By the way, what’d the chicken do?”

C’mon that one’s pretty good. Did I get a little smile, at least?

I hope so. But if your dissertation’s leaving you with nothing to smile about, click here to schedule a quick, 15-minute chat with me to see if you’re a good candidate 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...

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.

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