Statistics Solutions http://www.statisticssolutions.com Advancement Through Clarity Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:09:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Protected: Dissertation Workshop Presentation http://www.statisticssolutions.com/dissertation-workshop-presentation/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/dissertation-workshop-presentation/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:05:28 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=15830 There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Before you have, you must do; Before you do, you must be http://www.statisticssolutions.com/before-you-have-you-must-do-before-you-do-you-must-be/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/before-you-have-you-must-do-before-you-do-you-must-be/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:27:39 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=15634 While at my annual cousins’ party this weekend, I was reminded of a little bit of wisdom I had read many years before.  At first, I didn’t recognize it, as if it were flitting around waiting for me to see it, like a dragonfly skimming the top of a lake before alighting on a water

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While at my annual cousins’ party this weekend, I was reminded of a little bit of wisdom I had read many years before.  At first, I didn’t recognize it, as if it were flitting around waiting for me to see it, like a dragonfly skimming the top of a lake before alighting on a water lily for a time.  Yet as the chilly night dovetailed from casual dinner conversation, into one of those peaceful, moonlit, Florida nighttime chats, foggy memories of prior years’ parties came rushing back to me.  Toward its end, this party, more than any other, triggered an appreciation in me for how each of us had confidently grown into their own more complete version of themselves.  Still, I couldn’t shake this lingering question: What had I read years before that was just out of reach?

Well, upon further reflection, I actually started to understand this question while we sat around the fire pit, its flames reaching up into the darkness.  By this hour, the conversation had turned to that seemingly timeless forum wherein young adults question and the elders answer.  And as more questions were raised, and answers provided, I started to feel a warmth growing, not from the fire, but from this small community we had created for a few hours.  I could tell that we were all enjoying each other’s company, building a connectedness that generated an inner glow evident on people’s faces and in their eyes.  In short, it was great seeing our younger cousins striving for ways to just be better.

Suddenly, after creeping up on me for what must have been hours, the little bit of wisdom that had been eluding me came into focus: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.  As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…[w]e need not wait to see what others do.”  After considering these words from Gandhi more deeply, I felt—and still do feel—that they allude to this idea of being our best selves, such that the world experiences a better change as a result.  Therefore, I noted, Gandhi was imploring us to take responsibility for who we are and what we do to shape the world we will have around us.  Not a bad revelation for an evening spent with family.

To generalize this realization, consider all those people who make us feel terrific and can lift our spirits.  That is what I am referring to in the story above.  These people just exude enthusiasm, engagement, and joy.  In fact, I would bet they are consistently being enthused, engaged, and joyful!  Fortunately, researchers have investigated this topic extensively, and they overwhelmingly find that positive thinking actually begets positive outcomes, disproportionately so.  As such, in the spirit of Gandhi’s wisdom, let me provide you with a simple way to enact a positive change in all of our lives. In other words, this advice will allow all of us to be better and do more (i.e., change), propelling us in a positive direction wherein we then have more of what we want in our lives (i.e., a better world around us).

Thankfully, what I suggest we all do is simple: Each and every morning, afternoon, and evening, pick your most positive experience—a graduation day, your nuptial moment, a first child’s birth, an annual family gathering—and then allow that memory to grow and fill your whole mind.  Now, let it fill your whole body.  Focus on the feeling anchored within that memory and magnify it, letting it take over your entire consciousness.  At this point, come back to yourself, positively charged and happier than you were before, and consider a world wherein everyone does this activity everyday, endorphins firing off throughout their bodies, driving them forward with positive purpose.  If we all could do this every day, that would be the world that I want to live in!

To this point last, I know I make better decisions coming from a place of joy because my playfulness, openness, and innocence all shine through in these moments.  As such, I know if you practice this state of being consistently, then you will find a similar result.  In fact, I’m confident that when we are being who we know at our core we must be, and feeling how we want to feel, that we will then do things that come from this core place.  And when we do the things that amplify who we know we are at our core, we will consequently coax out the best versions of those that are around us, and so the cycle goes.  When this occurs, the fruits of our labor—i.e., what we ultimately have—will take care of itself.  Let’s start here together, and see just how powerful we might yet turn out to be!

jim-signature-clear
James Lani, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Statistics Solutions

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Preparing for the Dissertation Defense Process http://www.statisticssolutions.com/dissertation-defense-preparation/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/dissertation-defense-preparation/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=15428 As another quarter comes to an end, many of you may be moving closer to the end of your dissertation process—yea!  While working with thousands of Ph.D. candidates, I still find it funny that instead of being relieved that the end of this journey is near, many are more nervous than ever!  It too often

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As another quarter comes to an end, many of you may be moving closer to the end of your dissertation process—yea!  While working with thousands of Ph.D. candidates, I still find it funny that instead of being relieved that the end of this journey is near, many are more nervous than ever!  It too often seems that the thought of the dissertation defense process gives more anxiety than the relief of the nearing commencement!

Now, for those of you that are in the beginning or mid-phases of the dissertation process, this article is not meant to scare you.  Rather, a better understanding of the dissertation process ahead will help you align your progress with the preparation of your end goal.  Be motivated by those who are completing their dissertations and it may help you visualize your end date too.

Imagine this…
You’ve finished your doctoral coursework, your proposal approved, data analysis plan completed, data collected, and your dissertation done!  As you head for the dissertation defense, the fear and anxiety of this moment is rushing in….Take a big sigh!  Don’t let your nerves get the best of you.  Remember these key points:

  • Candidates pass! You are not the first to venture through this process and you won’t be the last.  This is not meant to be a torture device, but a normal right of passage through the process.
  • You are the expert! You know more about your dissertation than most of your committee ever will.  You have become the expert in your field and you stand before a committee that will be, in a short amount of time, your peers.  Position yourself as a deserving colleague of the committee that you are presenting your dissertation.
  • And last, but not least, you’ve proven yourself worthy already! You didn’t wind up at that table by accident (any dissertation advisor worth their salt wouldn’t let you get there unless you were deserving).

Preparing For The Dissertation Defense

As you journey towards preparing for the dissertation defense, I recommend the following:

Always address committee issues. Try to address things thoroughly as early as possible.  Committee issues are not like fine wine: they do not age well.  To the extent that you can resolve things early on, all the better.  Everyone is signing your dissertation, if you don’t have a strong support for your dissertation, it will only prolong the process.

Detach yourself emotionally from your dissertation. As you move through the dissertation process your research will change—it will becomes less and less yours. This shouldn’t be discouraging—every great work is a collaborate effort.  Change is part of the process; it will only be painful if you enter the process with the expectation that you are going to change the world with your set ideas.  As soon as you give up on the idea that the dissertation is yours the entire process will lighten-up.  Your committee has power and opinions on what your research should be and they have ultimate say on whether your research is approved.  Feel empowered by this instead of disheartened.  Do not view them as the enemy, rather the support committee that is chosen to facilitate you towards your Ph.D. and end goal.

Keep informal notes on your intentions. This may be counter-intuitive compared to the last recommendation but I think this is important for different reasons.  You will come to a point when you realize: The purpose statement is realized- now what?  Even if your dissertation research becomes so different that it is unrecognizable, your original intentions will help shape your ultimate scholarly framework.

Seek professional help if you need it. We offer dissertation defense consulting that can range from coaching you through your statistics to performing a mock defense.  Outside assistance allows you the chance to validate your results with someone who can act as a tough committee with good intentions.  My goal is for you to pass the defense smoothly.

The Defense Date Is Set

As the day of the defense nears, how you prepare your self for that defense date will help shape how successful you will ultimately be.  I recommend the following:

  • Get feedback. Make sure you receive committee feedback prior to defense if they are willing.
  • Plan your time. Make clear expectations of time that the defense process will take and plan appropriately.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice. Practice your presentation in front of anyone who will listen—the less they know about your research, the more you have to explain it in terms in basic terms.  Also, practice will increase your self-confidence.
  • Make connections. Connect with those that have successfully completed their defense.  They will provide insight that you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise.  It will also help calm your nerves to know that they can do it- you can do it!
  • Know your stuff, but prepare not to know everything. Be positive that you have sure footing on what you did, why you did it, what you found and what it means.  De-emphasize “feeling evaluated” but rather be excited about presenting what you know.   If you don’t know something- admit it.  It’s ok to not know everything (no one can!).  Acknowledge the question and ask to address them at a later time.
  • Think outside of the box. You should feel free to speculate on the theoretical and practical implications of your research.  In my own dissertation defense, I was asked:  “If you had all the time and money in the world- what would you spend your time researching?” as well as “You are now a scholar- what does this research contribute to the field?”  Prepare yourself for questions such as these.
  • Relax. It is inherently nerve-racking process because you are being evaluated, but know-that in 20 minutes you’ll be their colleague.  As I mentioned before, if you make it a collegial conversation rather than a presentation to superiors, you will calm your fears.

There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Groucho Marx once famously said “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”  While I respect Groucho, I have to disagree (at least in this case).  The Ph.D. is a club you want to belong to—and you’ve worked hard to get there!

The dissertation commencement process is not the end; it’s the beginning.  Set the stage for your “after-defense” life.  This is a time for new energy and for exciting career opportunities. Not to mention the positive affect this will have on your personal relationships once the dissertation dragon has been slayed and you have more time to spend with loved ones.  This should be celebrated!

This celebration should be a time to show gratitude for those who have helped you through the process. The dissertation process is not a solo journey. Thank your support team, academically, professionally and personally.

As the quarter comes to an end, some of you may be defending your dissertations or just moving closer to that point—I wish you all luck!

Happy Learning!

James Lani, Ph.D.
Statistics Solutions

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The Flywheel of Our Lives http://www.statisticssolutions.com/the-flywheel-of-our-lives/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/the-flywheel-of-our-lives/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 21:43:58 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=15101 Happy New Year to you all—what a year 2015 will be! There are minds to persuade and hearts to touch, so let’s get started with a familiar exercise. For many, grade school instilled a tradition that dictates how, with every New Year, individuals must create various goals to achieve. We term these goals New Year

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Happy New Year to you all—what a year 2015 will be! There are minds to persuade and hearts to touch, so let’s get started with a familiar exercise.

For many, grade school instilled a tradition that dictates how, with every New Year, individuals must create various goals to achieve. We term these goals New Year Resolutions, yet many of us lack the resolve to follow through; in short, we need help.

As such, I’d like to take a little time to investigate what I will personally hold as the word of 2015: momentum. Physicists define momentum as the product of an object’s velocity multiplied by its mass, and it’s oftentimes greatly unrecognized or anticipated. Interestingly, in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, he speaks to this very phenomenon and explains its power. More specifically, Collins imagines a large, heavy flywheel weighing 5000 lbs., which represents its mass. He goes on to explain how turning the flywheel just once takes a fair amount of energy, and even then, the velocity is minimal. Furthermore, only after pushing and pushing and pushing do you get a single revolution.

However, Collins notes how if you keep pushing and pushing and pushing—even with the same amount of energy that you started with—a second revolution happens. Employing the same logic, Collins points out that through persistence, a third revolution, and then a fourth and a fifth revolution can be achieved. In fact, Collins focuses on how soon you go from buildup to breakthrough; soon you have achieved a certain level of efficiency and sophistication such that the 5000 lbs. fly wheel now turns at 200 revolutions per minute, and you’re still pushing with the same effort from when you started this endeavor.

For Collins, this momentous condition can only be met when you surround yourself with the right people. Similarly important, Collins correctly posits that when you achieve this level of efficiency, not only have you assembled the ideal team for the task, but the entirety of this disciplined group consistently focuses on doing the right things; they likely have stopped doing the wrong things. To this point, we now must recognize that having a “Stop Doing” list is perhaps equally important as compiling the “Let’s Do” list.

Perhaps obvious by now, but our lives and our businesses work the same way. When we keep doing the right things and stop doing the wrong things—moment to moment, day to day, week to week—momentum builds. Buildup to Breakthrough.

So, as we step gracefully into 2015, I implore us all to remember this simple, yet oft forgotten, allegory. When we do, our strength and determination fortify, and we can capitalize on the buildup we’ve worked for and achieved. Provided you are able to, I hope you will join me in resolving to hold fast to this idea so that we can truly bear witness to just how powerful we are.

A very Happy (Momentum-Filled) New Year to you all!

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Breathing as a Bridge between You and Your Committee http://www.statisticssolutions.com/breathing-as-a-bridge-between-you-and-your-committee/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/breathing-as-a-bridge-between-you-and-your-committee/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 17:39:15 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=14785 Recently I went to a dance event called Diavolo at the Straz Center in Tampa where I live. These performers are dancers, gymnasts, athletes, and acrobats. While completely impressed with their strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular capacity, I was struck with their teamwork. How did they trust each other, know when to hold on, when to

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Recently I went to a dance event called Diavolo at the Straz Center in Tampa where I live. These performers are dancers, gymnasts, athletes, and acrobats. While completely impressed with their strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular capacity, I was struck with their teamwork. How did they trust each other, know when to hold on, when to leap and when to let go. During a question and answer period at the end a performer gave a clue—“we listen and respond to others’ breathing.” Yes, breathing was the “in sync” ingredient that bridged their physicality to teamwork. They were strong and they moved together, but it was the breathing that allowed them to flow together.

We can all learn lessons here. The lesson is to be conscious of your and other people’s (e.g., mentor/committee) actual and metaphorical breathing. Notice if you or they are rushing, or not fully engaged and address that awareness. Perhaps don’t be so task oriented and develop a relationship with the people you are talking to. Know too there’s a time and place for hanging on and a time for letting go. Come on, the outdated hanging on may have fit you last year or 20 years ago but it’s late in the day. Breathe. Consciously breathe for your own centering, and to connect in a meaningful way with your mentor and committee. Breathe, be aware of who you are engaging with, and connect!

Very best,
James Lani, Ph.D.

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A Key to Your Great Life http://www.statisticssolutions.com/a-key-to-your-great-life/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/a-key-to-your-great-life/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:35:44 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=14776 Everyone wants a better life, right?  Part of being human is to develop our potential, achieve our goals and realize our dreams.  Yet lots of people seem to search and search, strive and struggle for that perfect life (I was one of them).  Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have that life,

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Everyone wants a better life, right?  Part of being human is to develop our potential, achieve our goals and realize our dreams.  Yet lots of people seem to search and search, strive and struggle for that perfect life (I was one of them).  Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have that life, in all of its fullness, and I have a key—its certainty.  Certainty is a key to an engaged life and I’ll share with you how to do it.  While this may sound simple, I still want you to try it on, now—you have nothing to lose and a life to gain.

Certainty exercise: Put both feet on the ground, close your eyes, and take a few relaxing breaths, now find a place of certainty in your mind (something you know for sure—like the sun will rise tomorrow), then in that place put your perfect life.  It’s that simple.  Speak it, see it, and feel it.   Goethe spoke about certainty in a poem about commitment.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elemental truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment that one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

Get into that place of certainty, and let me know how your success goes.

Best wishes,
James Lani, Ph.D.

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Saying YES to Your Goals http://www.statisticssolutions.com/saying-yes-to-your-goals/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/saying-yes-to-your-goals/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:05:40 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=14719 In the 2008 movie YES MAN, Jim Carrey plays a withdrawn guy since his divorce and sees the world negatively.  After an inspirational seminar, he starts saying “yes” to life and the real life adventure begins.  He starts a relationship, and begins changing the world around him (e.g, helps a guy not commit suicide, starts

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In the 2008 movie YES MAN, Jim Carrey plays a withdrawn guy since his divorce and sees the world negatively.  After an inspirational seminar, he starts saying “yes” to life and the real life adventure begins.  He starts a relationship, and begins changing the world around him (e.g, helps a guy not commit suicide, starts a clothing charity, etc.).   Our yes to life can lead us to playfulness.  It’s getting out of our “normal” path (and our own way too).  Our life is supposed to be fun, remember?  Say yes to your world, even if it seems a bit strange—newness will have qualities and features that seem out of the ordinary, yet will lead us to extraordinariness.  I’ll go one step further.

“James,” you ask, “what does this have to do with dissertations and research?”  Like the sliver of light that first breaks through after an eclipse, let your yes be that light that shines upon your concluding days in your program.  “Can I complete this dissertation in one year?” The answer is YES! It all starts with the belief that your goals can be achieved. Make that picture in your mind, and live it. It’s not been easy for many of you—I speak with you all the time.   As you read this, let us focus on saying yes to completing your dissertation goals.  Say yes—yes sir, yes ma’am—you and the world deserve it!

Best wishes,

Dr. James Lani

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How to Select the Appropriate Statistical Analysis http://www.statisticssolutions.com/how-to-select-the-appropriate-statistical-analysis/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/how-to-select-the-appropriate-statistical-analysis/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:00:06 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=14401 How do doctoral students select the appropriate statistical analysis and power analysis for their methodology selection? Selecting the appropriate statistical analysis and sample size is a very common problem for graduate students.  Here is the strategy we use at Statistics Solutions: select the correct test, and then select the correct sample size for that test.

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How do doctoral students select the appropriate statistical analysis and power analysis for their methodology selection?

Selecting the appropriate statistical analysis and sample size is a very common problem for graduate students.  Here is the strategy we use at Statistics Solutions: select the correct test, and then select the correct sample size for that test.

First, you have to define the level of measurement of each variable to be included in the analysis.  Your variables will be categorical or nominal, ordinal or rank-ordered, interval, or ratio-level.  This needs to be done for both your independent and dependent variables.  A nominal level variable is a variable where the categories just have names, such as male/female, race, Democrat/Republican/Independent, or whether participants are in the control or experimental group.  Rank-ordered data is data that is ordered, like a horse race: first, second, third, etc.; the main point is that the distance between first and second and between second and third are different from each other.  When the distance between units is the same, you have interval data.  Interval-level data have equally spaced units, such as a Likert type scale from 1-7 with 1 equal to strongly disagree and 7 equal to strongly agree.  Ratio-level data are similar to interval level data, except that the data have a zero point in it, like age, time, or amounts.

Second, to select the correct statistical analysis, you have to clarify what you want to find out.  The research question or hypothesis is typically phrased in terms of finding differences, relationships, or predicting. “Difference-type” questions have interval or ratio-level Y variables, and categorical-level  X variables, phrased as, “Are there difference on the variable Y by variable X?” or, "Are there differences  on variables Y1, Y2, and Y3 by variables X1 and X2?"  The appropriate statistical analyses for these questions are ANOVA and MANOVA, respectively.

For relationship questions with interval, ordinal-level, or ratio-level variables, the correct statistical analysis is typically Spearman or Pearson correlations.  The point-biserial correlation is the statistical analysis to use when examining the relationships between a dichotomous, categorical variable and an interval or ratio-level variable.  Relationship questions with two categorical variables can be examined with a chi-square test.

Typically, linear, ordinal, or multinomial regressions are the appropriate statistical analyses to use when the outcome variables are interval, ordinal, or categorical-level variables, respectively.  The independent variables can be interval/ordinal level variables or categorical-level variables.  Be careful: when the categorical-level variable has more than two levels (e.g., political affiliation), the variable has to be dummy coded (we can assist you with dummy coding the variables).

Third,sample size calculation or power analysis is directly related to the statistical test that is chosen.  The sample size calculation is based on the power (typically .80 is desired), the effect size (typically a medium or large effect are selected; contrary to what one might expect, the larger the effect, the smaller a sample is needed), and the alpha (e.g., .05).  Given these criteria, the basic rules of thumb are 26 (for a large effect size) and 65 (for a moderate effect size) participants per group for a t-test, chi-square, correlation or linear regression with two predictors.

For more information about the appropriate statistical analysis or sample size calculations, please go to our contact page.

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Optimism or Pessimism is Your Choice http://www.statisticssolutions.com/optimistic-or-pessimistic/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/optimistic-or-pessimistic/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 13:01:36 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=14398 What is the difference between someone who is optimistic or pessimistic? It’s your thinking that makes is so. And wrong thinking can lead to wrong feelings. Twenty years ago I wrote my master’s thesis on attribution theory, which basically speaks to how we explain positive and negative events. For example, are you more prideful of

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What is the difference between someone who is optimistic or pessimistic? It’s your thinking that makes is so. And wrong thinking can lead to wrong feelings. Twenty years ago I wrote my master’s thesis on attribution theory, which basically speaks to how we explain positive and negative events. For example, are you more prideful of an A+ test if the test was easy or you studied hard? And how do you explain your pride? You are more prideful of that A+ because you had a positive event that was internally caused (e.g., your hard work) rather than externally caused (e.g., easy test).

Let’s look at anger. You are angrier at others if the reason for a negative outcome was controllable by them rather than uncontrollable. For example, if someone is 20 minutes late for your meeting, you’ll likely be angrier if the cause was controllable (e.g., the person stopped at Starbucks for a relaxing coffee) rather than uncontrollable (e.g., they had a flat tire).

Now let’s turn to optimism and pessimism. Basically, optimistic people will explain positive events as stable (e.g., I consistently create great outcomes) and permanent (e.g., I’m smart) and negative events as unstable and temporary. Conversely, pessimistic people will explain positive events as unstable (e.g., I was lucky) and temporary (e.g., this will never happen again) and negative events as stable and permanent (e.g., things will never get better). Being optimistic takes some self-examination of the reasons things turned out the way they did. Examine if your attributions are internal or external, controllable or uncontrollable, and if they are temporary or permanent.

As you move through your life, considering your educational progression, your finances, health, relationships, and other meaningful events that have consequences for you, write down how you think about things, and examine the attributions you assign to these events. You’ll see if you choose optimistic thinking, you’ll persist longer in activities than you would have otherwise, and feel better about your life.

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Motivation in the Dissertation Process http://www.statisticssolutions.com/motivation-in-the-dissertation-process/ http://www.statisticssolutions.com/motivation-in-the-dissertation-process/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 17:31:16 +0000 http://www.statisticssolutions.com/?p=14396 “Once the seeds of faith take root it cannot be blown away, even by the strongest wind” --Rumi You become what you think about. You have to envision yourself as a person who has graduated, having met your end goal by obtaining your doctorate or Master’s degree. Condition your behavior by visualizing a positive end.

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“Once the seeds of faith take root it cannot be blown away,
even by the strongest wind” --Rumi

You become what you think about. You have to envision yourself as a person who has graduated, having met your end goal by obtaining your doctorate or Master’s degree. Condition your behavior by visualizing a positive end. Take five minutes and create a clear vision of what it is going to feel like as a graduate; imagine the things you want to do, the places you want to go, and the people with whom you want to develop relationships. Keep that vision in mind as you move through your day and as you approach the tasks at hand.

Your worth is never in question. Your worth is not attached to your academic performance or your control over a research situation. Oftentimes, the dissertation does not feel like it is yours, but remind yourself that your personal worth is independent of whether or not your dissertation is moving quickly or slowly.

Have high expectations. Have high expectations of what you want to do; then create a self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy is the prediction that causes your expectation to be true because of the positive feedback loop between belief and behavior.

Show-up enthusiastically. Great things happen in life when you just show up and share your natural enthusiasm—no matter what kind of feedback you may get from your advisor. Compartmentalize your frustration and show up with a good attitude. Remember, your advisor is the gate keeper to completing the program. Your job is to show up on fire for every email, dissertation meeting and even in your own research writing. Your enthusiasm will help promote you toward graduation.

Do your best. As long as you do your best, by using your greatest capabilities there is no failure. Success is directly related to the effort that you put toward your goals. Create great effort goals—goals that are within your control. You wouldn’t be at this stage of the dissertation process unless you were able to complete it. You have surpassed a variety of challenges thus far. Many PhD and master’s level students have completed their program and you will too. You are equipped to complete your program and you need to keep that in mind.

Let go of the idea that the dissertation is yours. Many times in the dissertation process advisors, committee members and review boards make changes, and sometimes these changes are quite substantial. Let go of the idea that the dissertation is entirely yours. This will permit you greater acceptance of the changes and enable you to move forward with the dissertation. Also try to consider the changes as enhancements to your research, rather than obstacles. Oftentimes recommendation for change further refines the dissertation.

Accept life with its constancy of change. There is no area in life where change does not occur. This applies to your past schooling and your current schooling. Accept the fact that there are going to be ups and downs on the dissertation road and view these events as part of the process rather than as an impediment. This will help you reach your end goal.

Investigate the lens in which you see the world. While different events will occur during the dissertation process, remember that what is most important is your view of the events rather than the events themselves. You have complete control over the filters that you use to see these events. Choose the filter that keeps you on the path toward completion.

Play consciously. For every task that we do in life we have a choice whether we do it with play or not. Try to bring play into all of your activities, including the sometimes arduous dissertation process. This may lighten the process and make it more bearable.

Ask questions, get leverage, and get support. The quality of your life is equal to the quality of your questions, so ask empowering questions of yourself. Get personal power leverage by associating old behaviors with pain and by associating your new behaviors with pleasure. Surround yourself with positive people and people that have achieved the goal that you are trying to achieve.

To your success!

James Lani, Ph.D.

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