As a kid, I was kind of a quote-hound. As a cynical academic, I can kind of see how an inspiring quote has only a very limited ability to change one’s life. Also, I tend to quote things like, “it jarred my slats” from L.M. Montgomery’s  Jane of Lantern Hill that I find amusing but mystify the people I’m talking to.

Anyway, I cracked open the September issue of Real Simple this morning and saw a quote that seemed pertinent to my dissertation this morning:

Nothing great has been and nothing great can be accomplished without passion.–G.W.F. Hegel

Yes, I thought to myself. I need to get some passion going. Then I did a double-take and flipped back to another quote a few pages earlier:

One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdowns is the belief that one’s work is terribly important. If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.–Bertrand Russell

There are a lot of contradictory adages out there that have a ring of truth. While some dissertators I know draw a lot of comfort and even strength from a mantra of some sort, it’s good to be adaptable.

For example, when I told the now-Doctor Gale that “There shouldn’t be all this craziness,” she used it as a sort of grounding tool while she was revising her dissertation. I was a little surprised that what I’d said seemed so meaningful to her, but when she repeated it back to me a couple of months ago (I didn’t even recognize it as my own phrase) it seemed like a crucial idea to hold on to. OMG, There really SHOULDN’T be all this craziness. Wow!!!

There’s only a little of summer left, so maybe now is a good time for all of us to assess whether or not we need more passion for our work or more vacation in the next few weeks. I fall into the passion camp at the moment, but I know there’s some of you out there who haven’t let yourselves take enough of a break this summer. There’s still time!


4 responses to “Passion

  1. This post made me laugh out loud, twice! I totally agree about contradictory quote-able quotes. One that has helped me most recently–I’m paraphrasing here– was from Timothy Ferriss’s “Four Hour Work Week” — interest and energy are cyclical. I am trying to find ways to make this work *for* me and my goals instead of against me. Especially the long-term goals.

  2. How about, “You can have the life you want”? That one popped up in a silly magazine article (god bless silly magazines!) a a few months ago – so simple, with no attribution – and kept my head above water through the GRE (big milestone for me) and one week later, two weeks in Southeast Asia!
    After the GRE, to further catalyze the manifesting of the life I want, I celebrated with friends over the city’s best fish tacos. (I cannot forgive myself for not bringing you and the Future-Mister-Doc there when you visited! Come again!)
    You’re always an inspiration, Doc. Keep up the good writing and…did you try pedaling around Austin yet as part of your 21 days (okay, now it’s September)? Since I introduced a daily bike commute 5 days a week, plus ancillary weekend activity riding and random hiking…I’ve kicked the dreaded “D*” word mostly to the sidelines and have been able to focus on Le Life Transition plan to get back to graduate school. Sometimes I feel like I get to pick up where you left off [e.g., college], so thanks for the honor of following such a smart and awesome cookie! <3

    *my D is the one that starts in blue and ends in all black[ness], not the Dissertation

  3. becomingdoctorjones


    “You can have the life you want” is such a good one. I miss you & can’t wait to be back in California.

    No biking for me, yet, just yoga, walking, & running. I’ve got to keep up the D & E through Sunday of this week to reach my goal, but I think it’s possible.

    I’m thrilled you are done with the GRE! I’m convinced that you’ve chosen a great path and can’t wait for your next steps!

  4. becomingdoctorjones

    Good one! That’s so important to remember at moments of low output.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s