By James Hayton,
October 2, 2019
I'm James, I'm a former physicist (PhD, Nottingham, 2007) and author of "PhD: An Uncommon Guide to Research, Writing & PhD Life".
Since 2010, I've been helping PhD students all over the world overcome barriers in their research and writing
My strategies have helped thousands of PhD students just like you to build confidence, write better and finish on time

Confidence doesn't come from the certainty of success.

It comes from accepting that things might not work out the way you want, but giving it your best shot anyway.

It comes from the knowledge that you can cope with whatever happens, even if you know it will be difficult.

It has to be this way. If confidence only came from certainty of the outcome, then you would never be able to take risks or do anything new.

A PhD is all about uncertainty. You don't know what the end result will be. You don't know if your research will work and you don't know what others will think of it. And the more interesting and challenging and novel the project, the greater the risk.

Focusing on the uncertainty distracts your attention from the work in front of you, which in turn makes it more likely that things will go wrong (reinforcing your doubt).

Accept the uncertainty. Accept the risk. Trust in your ability to cope with whatever happens.

See also:

The invincible mindset

How do you react when things go wrong?

Free Live Webinar:

How to adapt your PhD during the coronavirus crisis (and beyond)

Sunday 3rd May, 5pm UK time*
(6pm CET, 12 noon EDT, 9am PDT)
register free
*if you can't make the live event, you can still register and watch the recording

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