PhD or Die Trying: The Personal Mission Statement

After the rain
. After the rain (ii) . ???? (ii) . by 3amfromkyoto

I believe that we often end up being unhappy with what we’re doing not because of where we are, but because of how we don’t really know where we wanted to go in the first place.

It’s so important to have some form of direction in life, and while it’s hard to figure out our long-term plans, it’s better to just have something good enough to get by. Making a judgement call, even if its not the best one, is better than not making one at all. As students, we often get people asking us what we’re doing now and where we plan to go for our future. Stating a clear course of action, even if difficult or unsure, gives others something to hold onto and remember us by. As with all things in life, nothing ever works in a straight line, so I accept that change is is inevitable and as such, totally excusable.

Before embarking on my dissertation quest, it became a natural for me build my personal mission statement so I could see what I wanted in life (e.g. career). Dissertation writing should become more passionate, which in turn makes the research more effective. This goes well with Alex Halavais’ idea of how writing a dissertation should be like coming up with a book you’ve always wanted to write. Thing is I get bored easily, so finding something really unique is going to be my challenge.

Over at 43 Things, about 60 people pledged to write a personal mission statement. After reading some of their tips, I got started by using Franklin Covey’s Personal Mission Builder. In about 20 minutes, you can generate a decent personal mission statement which you can always refine later.

Here’s my Personal Mission Statement for providing vision to my life:

To find happiness, fulfillment, and value in living I will:

REVERE admirable characteristics in others, such as
being ambitious, committed, creative, enthusiastic, educated, and self-reliant, and attempt to implement similar characteristics in my own life.

RECOGNIZE my strengths and develop talents as a person who is
a creative thinker, decision maker, good with words, good at sensing needs, good at making things happen, and working well with people.

UTILIZE these talents in things I love to do, especially…
Fixing, writing, reading, blogging, swimming, running, playing tennis, and listening to music.

ENVISION myself becoming a person who:
My Dad thinks is compassionate, creative, and educated.
My Mom thinks is educated, creative, and responsible.
Penny thinks is ambitious, caring, and enthusiastic.

And I Will Remember What Matters Most to Me

20 years from now, I hope to be surrounded by the most important people in my life. This is who they are and what I plan to be doing:
The most important people in my life include my parents, my siblings and my girlfriend. I would be in a reputable career which engages my passions and makes enough for me to take care of those I love.

If a six inch steelbeam were placed across two skyscrapers, this is what I would be willing to cross for:
Above all else, I would cross to save a life.

If I could spend one day in a great library studying anything I wanted, this is what I would study:
I would love to study science fiction (is that possible?)

This is what I feel represents me, and why:
A cat would represent me best since it is smart and agile.

This is a time when I was deeply inspired:
When I saw greatness within the simplest of things.

If I could spend one hour with any person who ever lived, this is who it would be, and what I would ask:
Steve Jobs, simply because he seems to have found a balance in life, yet remains mysteriously interesting. I would ask him what he looks for in life.

I’m still not sure if this gives me the clarity I seek, so perhaps you could supplement it by telling me things I might not realize about myself. Getting feedback and improving on this statement is something I see as a continuous process. Perhaps we can all help each other out. Start by building your own Personal Mission Statement today!

3 thoughts on “PhD or Die Trying: The Personal Mission Statement

  1. The bridge between people, and between people and the information they seek.

    does that make some sense to you? ­čÖé

  2. Panda: Thanks! Believe it or not, that’s kinda what my School of Informatics was all about, the overlapping circles of People, Technology and Information.

  3. Characteristics: you’re humble and helpful..and honest. I guess that would be added to your strengths

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