You Will Never Be Ready

Recently, someone in an online networking group I'm in asked whether or not he should accept the position as this professor's PhD candidate.

He already emailed this professor and got the approval, but felt like backing out and asking if he could prove himself instead so he could "focus on classes". He was scared of trying his best and failing.

Here's my reply.

From your email it sounds like you’re putting off this choice, because you don’t think you’re ready.  The thing is, you already earned what you wanted to get. He already accepted you.

You may think you’re not ready, but accept it while you’re not ready. That’s the best way to get ready for it. More classes won’t help you.

You deserve it, just from all of the steps you took to contact him.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I'm thinking this reluctance comes from the college mindset. It breeds a very “permission-based” mindset, where you’re not allowed to move on until you’ve finished X number of classes or gotten Y degree. It sounds safe. "Don’t do Z until I’m completely ready for it."

But the truth is, no one really knows what they’re doing. Not at school, and not at my current workplace. The point is to do it, be mediocre for a month or two, and then 20X your growth over the people who didn’t want to take that “hard" path.

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