Good Fortune & Hard Work

In my PhD I can remember times I was lucky. Lucky to be at a particular seminar and see an unsolved problem that I knew I could solve. Lucky to suddenly make a breakthrough and get the result I needed.

Except I wasn’t. I was in the right place at the right time perhaps, but I couldn’t have spotted the first solution without all the results I’d already achieved. I couldn’t make my breakthrough, everything slipping into place, without three weeks of background reading and calculations first.

Words matter.

In all my seminars I remind PhD candidates they’re not lucky to have finished their thesis or to have got results – they’re fortunate. Fortunate is when hard work pays off. There might not have been a certain outcome, but it could only have happened thanks to someone taking the actions that they did.

None of your PhD success is luck. It’s good fortune, when your hard work has paid off.

Remember your good fortune. Remember too the hard work that has got you there.