“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
Who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
This famous quote, is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” on April 23, 1910. Recently brought back to our attention in the writings of Brené Brown’s New York Times bestseller “Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead,” offers insight to the importance of patience, perseverance, and resilience when pursing “high achievement;” for our purposes, the process of completing a dissertation. (Interestingly, this speech was delivered at The Sorbonne, a University in Paris where the founder of the Lasalllian schools, St. John Baptiste De Lasalle, had studied in 1670-1672.)
In a Lasalllian educational approach, patience is presented as one of the twelve virtues of a good teacher. Patience is a virtue that helps us “overcome” the challenges of life; including those challenges in our teaching, research, and writing. As the Roosevelt quote suggests, it is the very act of continuing to respond to challenge, with good spirit, resolve, critical and flexible thinking, and a continued focus toward positive progress that is where we are flourishing in a state of “flow” and at our best.
Conducting original research and writing a dissertation is a lengthy process. We (the faculty) hope the process also is transformative to your thinking. This transformation brings change, process, and challenges. You must orchestrate the many variables of methodology, participants, data collection, statistics and analysis, interpretation, writing in APA, and of course, scheduling time for and understanding commentary and feedback from your committee members. Students sometimes ask us, “How fast can I write a dissertation?” After cringing, our general answer is: “The real question you should ask is ‘how can I write a dissertation well?’” I think both Theodore Roosevelt and St. John Baptiste De Lasalle would agree with our approach to dissertation writing: engage fully in the process, commit yourself to a worthy cause in research, and dare greatly.
Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and
lead. New York, NY: Gotham 978-1-592-40733-0.