It’s awards season. Great movies, shows, actors, directors, writers are all in competition. Five great people are up for this award, who will win?! Ten movies could all get that award – except, they can’t, only one can. Not just the best, but the best of the best.
Of course, PhD candidates don’t compete that way, not for their viva, not for their PhD, but language and mindset creep in.
You have to be better than good, better than great, you have to be perfect, you can’t make mistakes, you can’t go blank, you can’t slip up, you have to be better than anyone else!!!
To which I say, simply: no.
For the viva, for your PhD, you only have to be good. You have to be your best. Everything else is doubt and worry. We can’t sweep it away by saying “don’t worry.” You don’t have to focus on it either. Be your best. Be as good as you’ve become by the end of your PhD. Keep going.
And eventually, cross the stage and claim your prize.