Let's say you are a single person who has now decided that it would be great to be in a relationship. In order not to waste time on endless dates and failed, miserable relationships with people who could never be right for you, I suggest imagining exactly what your ideal partner would be like and how you'd spend your time together.
When I decided that I was ready to stop being happily and ecstatically single and become as ecstatically partnered, I envisioned my ideal partner and my ideal relationship in so much detail that it made people laugh. "You do realize that you'll never find somebody who will fulfill this entire set of requirements, right?" my friends would ask. "Well," I'd respond, "if I can't be in a perfect relationship with a perfect person, then I'll just live in a perfect singlehood." Of course, in the end it turned out that my attitude was completely right and it led me exactly where I wanted.
In my professional life, I follow the same strategy. When I decided I wanted to be "a real professor at a real university", I started imagining what it would look and feel like. In my dreams, I'd see myself sauntering at a leisurely pace into the classroom, looking all elegant with my leather briefcase and chic scarves and shawls. I'd imagine saying things like "Among my publications this year there are articles on the subject of...", going to speak at conferences and shocking everybody with my vast erudition, spending the four summer months immersed in my research. I was so invested in this dream that the first thing I bought when I got accepted into my MA program was a very expensive leather briefcase which looked exactly like the one I imagined. Now that this dream has been fulfilled and I walk into the classroom with my fancy briefcase and cool shawls on a regular basis, I have a new dream that I'm envisioning on a daily basis.
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