Well, it’s the holiday season again—a time for joy, family, and gratitude for the year that is quickly coming to an end. At the same time, many of us are still deep in the dissertation process. Right now, yes now, is the time to create and restore balance in our life. My favorite author, Steven Covey, helps show us how with the Saw Story.
The Saw Story
Covey wrote the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 7th Habit is self-renewal. He presents the 7th Habit by telling the story of a man who is laboriously working away at sawing down a large tree. As the man is sweating, with each push and pull of the saw, another man walks up and asks what he’s doing. The man indigently replies, “Can’t you see dummy, I’m cutting down this tree.” To which the other man replies, “Why don’t you talk time to sharpen your saw?” “I’m too busy—now leave me to my work” and continues sawing away at the tree—with the ever dulling saw. How many of us are like that man cutting away at that tree, working harder than we must by not taking the time to sharpen our saw, and effectively moving through our day? Millions of us, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can sharpen the only saw we have—Us!
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How to Sharpen Our Saw
Sharpening the saw means doing activities that renew our sense of self. We can start by renewing ourselves in four basic areas of your life: our physicality, our social/emotional presence, our intellectual capacity, and the spiritual dimension of ourselves. What are the activities to move us towards sharpening our saw? Here are some simple ideas:
The Dissertation Process
So what does this have to do with the dissertation process? As you renew yourself in each of these four areas, you’ll begin to create personal growth and start to notice a positive change in your life. Your capacity to handle the day’s challenges will become enlarged. By taking time to create greater balance in yourself, you will find that you can handle the dissertation process with more ease, approach challenges with more serenity and grace, and will more effectively succeed in completing your Ph.D. with more peace and calm. The dissertation process will come and the dissertation will go (trust me on this)—but what is constant is You. You, your family and friends will all benefit by taking when you take time to renew you!
We all wish you a happy, healthy, and successful holiday season.
All the best,
James Lani, Ph.D.