A lot of what Steven Hayes says about achieving success as a graduate student in “Thirteen Rules of Success: A message for Students” (1998) rang true for me, as I bet it will for others.  Take a look!

You can read the full (4 page) article on the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) official website.  The link down below will take you to their “Publications” page.  Scroll down and the downloadable PDF of it is about the third available article down.

Remember, though, that you’ll need to be a member of ACBS to download the article.  If you’re not a member of ACBS yet, I strongly urge you to become one.  Access to a wealth of ACT resources is only one benefit of being a member.  ACBS is just a really vibrant, supportive, and growing society.  Being a member of it is–now that I think of it–exactly the kind of activity that fulfills several of the 13 rules Dr. Hayes discusses in the article.

Before or after you take a read of Dr. Hayes’ article below, here are a few of my thoughts about his recommendations.  Since I began my grad program almost 3 years ago, there’s been a consistent refrain by some professors and students around me that it’s important to accrue a lot of clinical hours and assessments, and to get involved in research, presentations, and organizations, because all of these are key CV-builders.  Well, I suppose they are.  But that message always left me feeling a little crestfallen.  Now I see that I didn’t like that message because I didn’t like the idea that having all those experiences and building all that knowledge was really just a means to the narrow end of getting a “good internship.”  All this relates to Dr. Hayes’ 1st rule, which is “Care about the process, not just the outcome.”

That 1st rule was the one that really felt central to what I like and occasionally dislike about my grad program.  I think I am an intellectually curious person, and (having been an undergraduate English major focusing my studies on Montaigne and Shakespeare) I know I appreciate the idea of breadth in scholarship, of interdisciplinary and inter-theoretical curiosity and cross-pollination.  At times, the culture of my grad program–which I think is generally a strong, well-run program, with no more faults than any other–has led me to feel intellectually isolated.  It just seems at times that theres’ a factory-like ethic to graduate school that intellectual exploration for its own sake is quaint but not efficient or goal-oriented, and therefore, like funding for the arts, it’s the first thing to get defenestrated.

So I really appreciated hearing Dr. Hayes’ message about caring about the process over the outcome.  The other rule that was inspiring for me was Rule 7: acknowledge your power and behave accordingly.  He makes the point that we all have the opportunity to make a big difference in our discipline.  We just have to believe and not be afraid of our own strength.  It’s very Barack Obama.  And he includes a moving quote from Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech.  It’s got me to thinking big, exciting thoughts about my professional future.  Everyone needs to have those kinds of thoughts.

The article: Hayes, S. C. (1998). Thirteen rules of success: A message for students. The Behavior Therapist, 21, 47