Granted I’m new to academia, but I can already tell how prospective it can make you. Because it’s very reward-based, arguably more so than other professions, it’s easy to find yourself constantly seeking out the next big thing to apply for, longing for that next we’re pleased to inform you email.
Don’t get me wrong, being motivated and goal-oriented isn’t a bad thing, but it can be when that’s the only relationship you have with your achievements.
I remember saying to my partner, if I get funding for my PhD, anything after that will be a bonus because this is the single, greatest achievement I’ve been aspiring to. But now it’s over a year later and, because so much has happened this year, I subconsciously re-oriented my perception of success, so much so that I started to become unsatisfied with how I was progressing.
Now I make a habit, every month at least, to remind myself that I got funding – much to my partners dismay as it’s undoubtedly very annoying (and probably seems pretty narcissistic). But the point is, spice up your relationship with your previous achievements, give them some TLC, tell them you’re thinking of them.
Your greatest success doesn’t always have to be in front of you, sometimes it’s behind you.