Be like the ocean

By James Hayton,
January 15, 2019
James Hayton is a former physicist, PhD coach and author of "PhD: An uncommon guide"
Since 2010, he's coached hundreds of individual PhD students and now offers
group support and online courses

There are so many external factors that can affect your PhD progress, but perhaps the single most important factor is how you react to them, internally.

If you panic, or disengage, or get angry, or complain, or interpret events in a way that makes them impossible to deal with, then it doesn't matter what tactics you use; nothing will work. But if you can face whatever happens with calm determination and creativity, you can deal with almost anything.

The Neuroscientist-turned-Buddhist-monk, Matthieu Ricard, describes the ideal state of mind as being like the deep ocean; even if there is a storm on the surface, the depths beneath remain undisturbed.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden had a different take on the same idea; he demanded that, following a match, those watching shouldn't be able to tell whether they had won or lost from his players' demeanour.

In other words, whatever's happening externally shouldn't affect your basic attitude. This takes practice.

See also

Patience and persistence

The invincible mindset

Join the discussion...

Join James Hayton's PhD discussion and support group on Facebook to discuss this post and connect with other students

Stay up to date...

The PhD Academy:
Online training and support for PhD students

learn more...

For more detailed guidance and support...

The PhD Academy All-Access Pass

Weekly calls with James

You don't have to do it all alone! Get the All Access Pass for weekly group calls and Q&A sessions with James

Every online course

Build your skills and confidence with our detailed video courses. Go at your own pace and get advice and support when you need it

Get the book!
PhD: an uncommon guide to research, writing & PhD life

order now on amazon