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Anyone else intimidated by very high achievers?

Phew. Made it to the end of this thread.

What an achievement!


Hi Push for 10,

Was a PhD in a not too different position once

Having read Mary Oliver's (American poet) lines "One day you knew what you finally had to do and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice", I knew that something inside me needed to change course!

Ended up for a while on an indigenous reserve in Costa Rica. Gave me the space that I needed to consider my options. Decided to leave the dept that I was working in + esp. the supervisor!

I'm now back at my thesis, but as an M.Litt rather than a PhD. In a better dept. + with a better supervisor!

If you can afford it, some time out might help provide a breath of fresh air + a new outlook

Btw, posted some quotations that have helped me to stay focused on the "Stay Motivated" thread (25/07/12)

Hope they help!

Supervisor seems to be losing interest

My hunch is that this is something which is a lot more common than you think

Ever read Steven Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"? There's a chapter where he suggests that whats fundamantally important is to identify what you have control over in this situation + start working out of this space. The more time you give to spending about thinking/worrying about what you have no control over (your supervisor) the less your influence over him will become. Conversely, the more time that you spend working on whatever it is that you have control over in this situation, then the more your influence will expand into the relationship that you're concerned about. At least that may be part of the issue anyway!

Hope it helps

Graduated but cannot find postdoc/job

Your challenge is prob. a common one, Cyril + you alone hold the answers to it.

Do some digging within + maybe have a look at the quotations I posted under the "stay motivated" thread. De Unamuno's "Throw yourself like seed" should give you a pretty good nudge in the right direction.

If you're spiritually minded, there's a quote from a poem called "Bees in Amber" which is something along the lines of "He who gives the day will show the way and I securely go". Can't remember who the author is. Its worked for me when I've been really lost

Hope these help

Stay motivated!

Glad that you liked them. they've really been of help to me too!

What academia has taught you

Perhaps that's just the way some things are.

You'll have your low moments in proportion to your highs

Take your pick how low/high you want to go!

Stay motivated!

Hi All

An additional quote which is one of my favourites:

When Augustine of Canterbury requested permission to abandon his mission to the English, Gregory the Great's response was as follows:

"It would have been better
not to have undertaken
a noble task
than to turn back deliberately
from what you have begun,
so it is right that
you should carry on with all diligence
this good work which you have begun
with the help of the Lord"
(Bede's H.E. 1.23)

ie if you begin something noble, finish it! (up)

Stay motivated!

Hi all

Wanted to share the following with you to keep you motivated:

"We are each absolutely essential,
each totally irreplaceable.
Each of us is the swing vote
in the bitter election battle now being waged
between our best and our worst possibilities"

(Leonard Peltier in John-Paul Flintoff "How to Change the World", MacMillan, 2012, p. 8)

"Shake off this sadness and recover your spirit
Sluggish you will never see the wheel of fate that brushes your heel as it turns going by
...to live is to work, and the only thing that lasts is the work
start then, turn to the work
Throw yourself like seed as you walk
and into your own field
don't turn your face for that would be to turn it to death
and don't let the past weigh down your motion...
from your work you will be able one day to gather yourself"
(M. de Unamuno "Throw Yourself like Seed")

"Each new generation,
every human being,
as he becomes conscious of being inserted between
an infinite past and an infinite future
must discover
and ploddingly pave a new path of thought"

(Hannah Arendt. The Life of the Mind)


Finding it hard to remain motivated!

Thanks for those insights!

I agree with you that the passion for what I've been doing has certainly waned. Most likely, its been down to a combination of internal + external factors

What kept me going up to this point was

1. A sense of wanting to finish something noble which I had started

2. A desire to bring about change

3. A desire to make a meaningful contribution

4. de Unamuno's poem "Throw yourself like Seed" where he encourages the reader to "look to the work" that one was born to do, which is obviously as unique as the person who sets about doing it.

I've done lots of other things, teaching etc in the meantime, but there's always seemed to be soemthing calling me back to finish a task I had begun, at least I think so anyway!

What I've been doing of late is weighing up the pros + cons ie low salary, drudgery, life is short, time is precious etc vs. the value of what I've been doing. This exercise has been valuable in itself + although painful, essential for me, in that its clarifying some issues in my life which clearly needed clarifying!

Finding it hard to remain motivated!

Good Question!

1. The idea of finishing what I had begun at one point in my life was certainly one of my motivations.
Unfinished business is something which I don't find particularly desirable!
I had put a significant amount of work into my research as a PhD + didn't want to see it go to waste

2 I wasn't sure what to do with my life when I was offered the opportunity to restart
Or, for that matter, to restart as a Masters or PhD student

My supervisor was keen that I recontinue as a PhD student, but I wasn't so sure

For that reason, if I was positive that I wanted/needed a PhD I would have gone for it
Seeing as I wasn't, I opted for a Masters

Finding it hard to remain motivated!

Hi all

I'm a Masters student who is finding it difficult to remain motivated about what I'm doing.

I began my research as a PhD, left it for a few years + have returned as a Masters

I'm hoping to complete what I started over 10 years ago, but finding myself asking "why bother?"

Any ideas?