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!