Twitter: @AcademicImp • @rebecca_roache (@rebecca_roache followed by 408 philosophers)
2020 to present
Average episode: 17 minutes
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Categories: Life Philosophy • Monologue (Non-Course)
Podcaster's summary: The Academic Imperfectionist combines philosophical analysis and coaching insights to help you dump perfectionism and flourish on your own terms. Your host is Dr Rebecca Roache, a coach and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of London.
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|2022-Dec-02 • 17 minutes|
#50: You hate doing it because you think you're doing it wrong
Have you noticed how much time your inner critic spends looking over your shoulder and telling you how you're doing everything wrong? No, I bet you haven't - instead you're just completely mystified about why you've grown to dread your writing or your reading or your teaching or whatever else it is that you used to enjoy but now don't. It's not doing the thing that's the problem here. It's what you're telling yourself about how you're doing the thing.
|2022-Nov-18 • 13 minutes|
#49: Say no to FOMO
You know, in theory, that you have too much on your plate and that you really should stop taking on even more - but, seriously, have you seen how great this new opportunity is? It's a once in a lifetime thing! There's no way anyone could turn it down!Friend, you need to end your FOMO before it ends you. The good news is that it's easy to do - you just need to reframe your choices a little. You need to think about not just what you'll miss out on if you don't take this opportunity, b...
|2022-Nov-04 • 15 minutes|
#48: Stop trying to run a marathon at sprint pace
Do you end every day feeling guilty and ashamed because you haven't done enough? It wouldn't have killed you to send just one more email, or spend just 30 more minutes on your writing, right? Well, sure, you could go flat out. But you wouldn't last long if you did. You need to pace yourself, which means you definitely shouldn't be dialling the effort up to 11 on a daily basis. Your mistake is expecting yourself to sprint for the whole marathon - and that's just bonkers. Crack out th...
|2022-Oct-21 • 14 minutes|
#47: Is your life story dragging you down?
Do you view your life as a narrative? If you do, you might be holding yourself back in ways you don't even realise. From seeing failures where there aren't any, to restricting your choices to those that fit the story, unhelpful views about what shape a successful life should take are happiness-deleting distractions from what's really important. Join your imperfect friend for the lowdown on how you can change the narrative to one that fits you better - or even reject the life-is-a-story thing ...
|2022-Oct-07 • 25 minutes|
#46: How to ace job interviews
I've been on more job interview panels over the years than I can remember. I've developed my own insights about what makes for a successful interview, and I've talked to my fellow (often much more experienced) interviewers about their views too. This all comes in helpful when I'm coaching clients who are preparing for an interview - but finally, here I am, offering up the highlights for you to listen to through the comfort of your own headphones! Grab an emotional-support-cuppa and join ...
|2022-Sep-23 • 19 minutes|
#45: Consistency is important, but what is it?
You know you're supposed to be consistent with your writing routine. But how do you manage this, when so much of what goes into writing is so vague and unquantifiable? How do you factor in things like thinking time and discussing time and skim reading the intros of articles you won't end up using? Here's your imperfect friend to help you out. Consistency, believe it or not, looks nothing like you think it looks like. It doesn't involve willpowering through the hard days. It doesn't ...
|2022-Sep-09 • 17 minutes|
#44: The idea of 'quiet quitting' is dangerous
Right, that's it - your imperfect friend here can't keep quiet about this any more. This idea of 'quiet quitting' that you've been reading about is bullshit, OK? There we all were, minding our own business and struggling with our usual productivity-related guilt and the idea of a healthy work-life balance, and then along came an avalanche of media articles telling us that unless we're going the extra mile in our jobs (read: doing work for free), we're 'quitting'....
|2022-Aug-26 • 18 minutes|
#43: You don't know how you're feeling
Do you think that finding out how you're feeling is simply a matter of turning your attention inward? Oh, mate. You're so wrong. Often, we only ever reflect on how we're feeling when we're feeling bad - and when we do reflect on it, we're not genuinely interested in finding out how we feel. Instead, we're standing by ready to pounce on ourselves with nasty judgments if we dare acknowledge that we don't feel that great. We only allow ourselves two possible states: we'r...
|2022-Aug-12 • 19 minutes|
#42: Are you waiting for permission?
Have you ever said something like, 'If I don't get promoted this year, I'll feel justified in quitting this job', or 'If my partner cheats on me again, I'll feel justified in ending this relationship'? If so, you're guilty of waiting for permission: waiting for something to happen so that you'll feel justified to do the thing you want to do anyway. It's a way of wasting your own time, holding yourself back, standing in your own way. You don't need permi...
|2022-Jul-29 • 23 minutes|
#41: Dealing with uncool emotions: envy, jealousy, resentment
Do you listen to podcasts like this one and think: But this advice is for people who are much nicer than me, who deserve success; it's not for me, who secretly hopes that their more successful colleague steps on a rake at their earliest convenience? Do you simmer with resentment even while you're doing the heart-reaction-thing on your friend's Facebook post about her new job? Is envy your dirty little secret, and yours alone? This episode is for you.References:Protasi, S. 2018: 'Love you...
|2022-Jul-15 • 25 minutes|
#40: Why I took SO BLOODY LONG to write my book
I started writing my book, on the philosophy of swearing, in 2015. The original deadline from the publisher was December 2016. I finally submitted it in June 2022, 5-and-a-half years late. Gather round the virtual campfire, friends, and I'll share with you why it took me so long (spoiler: it wasn't because I am lazy, worthless human being) and how I finally got it done (spoiler: it wasn't by being mean to myself).Here's a link to the Goal Contract mentioned in the episode.
|2022-Jul-01 • 22 minutes|
#39: 'Thick' ethical concepts and your sneaky inner critic
Everything's a judgment with your inner critic, isn't it? It's never 'I'm having trouble focusing today'; instead, it's 'I'm lazy'. And it's never 'I'm prioritising my own goals this morning'; it's 'I'm selfish'. Has it ever occurred to you that not every unhelpful character trait, choice, or behaviour is a moral flaw? You probably haven't noticed this, but your inner critic likes to sneak moral judgment into ever...
|2022-Jun-17 • 16 minutes|
#38: Freud, sublimation, and your toxic attachment to your inner critic
You're totally on board in theory with the idea of being kinder to yourself - it's just that your self-criticism helps you succeed, right? And while you recognise that overwork is a problem, you can't make time for rest, because then you'd fall behind, wouldn't you? Friend, don't take this the wrong way, but you have no idea what you're on about. The habits and thoughts that you think are helping you aren't doing that at all. They're making you miserable. You nee...
|2022-Jun-03 • 18 minutes|
#37: You should spend more time thinking about your anxiety
Do you tell yourself that, in order to be a strong, successful, productive human, you need to have zero tolerance for anxiety? I thought so. You think that if you ignore it, it will go away. The problem is, that doesn't work. Ignoring it makes it worse. To stop anxiety holding you back, you need to hit the pause button - yes, including on that thing that you really should have finished last week - and take a long, hard look at your anxiety. Here's your guide on how to do that.Here's some usef...
|2022-May-20 • 21 minutes|
#36: What if it doesn't need to be so hard?
Are you one of those people who thinks that if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing painfully? Who feels like they must be doing something wrong if it feels too effortless? Me too, friend. There are good reasons why you feel like progress needs to be difficult - but that doesn't mean you're right. Find out how to dial down your anxiety so you can work more peacefully on the stuff you care about.‘How To Achieve Your Goals Effortlessly’: interview with Greg McKeown on Dr Rangan Chatterj...
|2022-May-06 • 20 minutes|
#35: Why am I putting off doing that ridiculously undemanding thing?
Emails that will take 10 seconds to answer. That little pile of stuff in the corner of the kitchen that you need to take a couple of minutes to sort through. Taking 30 seconds to fill in a form that you're going to have to fill in at some point. You could just do these things, get them out of your head, and make your life a lot easier. Instead, you hide from them and devote far more mental effort to not doing them than it would ever take you to do them. What's going on? Well, friend - it's no...
|2022-Apr-22 • 14 minutes|
#34: In praise of half heartedness
If you want something, you need to put in 110% to get it, right? Well, sure, if what you want is to turn yourself into an anxious mess. If you really want to achieve your goals, you need to take a smarter approach. You need to relax, stop trying so hard, and aim for just 'good enough'. For the 'good enough' exercise mentioned in the episode, go here.Reference:Haugen, T., Seiler, S., Sandbakk, Ø. et al. The Training and Development of Elite Sprint Performance: an Integration of Scientific...
|2022-Apr-01 • 19 minutes|
#33: I'm supposed to be doing what I love - what's gone wrong?
Lucky you: you get to spend your time researching that thing you find more interesting than anything else in the whole world! So, why is it that you can't bring yourself to do it these days? Why does the thought of it make you feel anxious and overwhelmed rather than excited and energised?Friend, you've fallen out of love with your research. It happens. And it's not just you. Unfortunately, academia (and, come to think of it, the world in general) is geared to trying to motivate you in ways t...
|2022-Mar-18 • 20 minutes|
#32: You need a mindset audit
You know 'Believe in Yourself' is an important message - why else would it be emblazoned across so many t-shirts for pre-teen girls? But do you really understand why it's so important, and just how far thinking the right thoughts about who you are and what you do can take you towards where you want to be? Your imperfect pal here just discovered the astonishing work on mindsets by the Stanford psychologist, Professor Alia Crum. Get the kettle on and let's have a chat about what it all me...
|2022-Mar-04 • 18 minutes|
#31: Hedonism and other paradoxes
According to the 19th century philosopher Henry Sidgwick, ‘The impulse towards pleasure can be self-defeating. We fail to attain pleasures if we deliberately seek them’. Happiness isn't the only good thing that will elude you if you set out to achieve it. Relaxation, avoiding stress, being more productive - all these things slide further away from you the harder you try to reach them. What's going on? The problem, friends, is that it matters how you formulate your goals. Some goals are self-defeat...
|2022-Feb-18 • 20 minutes|
#30: Rejection stings less when you channel your inner toddler
Rejection stings - literally (kind of). But you can make it sting a bit less. Part of what makes it so hard is that we're so keen on kicking ourselves when we're down. We don't even realise we're doing it, let alone how to stop. Your imperfect friend is here to sort that shit out.You're going to learn:What makes rejection so hardHow we make it even harder for ourselvesWhy toddlers are your new rejection-resistant role modelsA simple mental hack to help stop your inner critic going i...
|2022-Feb-04 • 20 minutes|
#29: You need to date your career choices, not marry them
Choosing a career is a serious business, right? It's something we do only after a lot of sombre reflection, when we're absolutely certain that we've found the thing we want to do forever. It's certainly not a place for fun, experimentation, curiosity, and frivolity.Except ... no. Deciding that you shouldn't pursue a career unless you're really serious about it and want to do it forever is like deciding that you shouldn't date someone unless you want to marry them. Doing th...
|2022-Jan-21 • 17 minutes|
#28: Moore's paradox: When what you believe about yourself doesn't make sense
Do you ever have thoughts like, 'It's ok to take breaks, but I don't believe it's ok to take breaks'? Or, 'Nobody will think less of me if my writing isn't great, but I don't believe nobody will think less of me if my writing isn't great'? If so, what on earth can you do about it? There's no point telling yourself that what you believe isn't true - you already know that. If your mental life is this sort of hot mess, then maybe there's no hope ...
|2022-Jan-07 • 17 minutes|
#27: Your new year resolutions survival guide
Is the new year a good time to make some positive changes in your life? Or are new year resolutions a bit ... you know, cliched? And if you do decide to make some resolutions, how do you choose them? Your imperfect friend is here to hold your hand and guide you through it all. We're going to look at why, psychologically, new year is a pretty good time to make some changes, and why cynicism about new year resolutions is understandable, but overblown. We're also going to look at how you can dig down...
|2021-Dec-10 • 21 minutes|
#26: Why writing is like sleeping
Not an obvious comparison, I'll admit. But, trust me, you're way better at knowing how to draw boundaries around your sleep (even if you don't always put that into practice) than you are at knowing how to draw boundaries around your writing. Do you schedule meetings in the middle of the night, knowing that you'll need to interrupt your sleep to attend them? Thought not. But I bet you're guilty of scheduling meetings during time that you'd planned to spend writing. You probably ...
|2021-Nov-26 • 17 minutes|
#25: You don't know what 'success' means until you know who you are
We talk about success and failure all the time. You're probably in the habit of telling yourself that you'll never succeed, or that other people are more successful than you are. But do you actually know what you mean when you say things like this? Unless you have a clear conception of who you are and what you care about, you have no idea. Join The Academic Imperfectionist to cut through the bullshit stories we tell ourselves about success and failure, and find out how to write your own rules. You...
|2021-Nov-12 • 14 minutes|
#24: Your inner critic is not a videogame boss
You've read the inspirational quotes, you've got uplifting affirmations written on post-it notes and stuck to your fridge, you're fully on board with personal growth and empowerment - so why do you still have the inner critic buzzing away inside your head? It must mean you've failed, right? Well, no, honey. You're completely normal. You've got the inner critic all wrong, that's all. The bad news is that you're stuck with her. The good news is that she's not in ch...
|2021-Oct-29 • 16 minutes|
#23: The way you're trying to motivate yourself is all wrong
All that beating yourself up about how lazy you are, and about how you're not achieving the things you need to achieve as fast as you need to achieve them - it's just tough love, right? It's what keeps you going and striving to succeed. Well, actually ... lol no, imperfectionists. Your well-meaning self-criticism and self-shaming are serving no purpose whatsoever. Don't argue. It's science.Your imperfect friend is back to show you why beating yourself up not only feels bad - it&apos...
|2021-Oct-15 • 20 minutes|
#22: Dealing with uncertainty
Do you struggle to cope with uncertainty - about the effects of the pandemic, about your career, about your income, your relationship, and God knows what else? The Academic Imperfectionist is here to break it all down for you. You're going to learn:That it's completely normal to feel stressed and anxious in the face of uncertainty;That the reason uncertainty is stressful is due not only to the possibility of some nasty outcome that you fear, but also to how anticipating it makes you feel;That copi...
|2021-Oct-01 • 14 minutes|
#21: Let's talk about lists, plans, and goals
Would you rather boil your head than start the day by making a task list? Does the idea of identifying your core values make you feel faint? Are you terrified to make plans because - what if you get them wrong? You're not alone. Your anxiety about writing down what you need to do and what's important to you is understandable, but misplaced. Join The Academic Imperfectionist for the low-down on all the things you have to gain from embracing imperfect planning.Find the 'Identify Your Core Value...
|2021-Sep-17 • 18 minutes|
#20: Don't just write it - ferment it!
So, you heard the last episode, and you're completely on board with not writing being an essential part of writing. But what sort of not-writing is best? Some not-writing activities allow our best ideas to ferment away in the background, growing in goodness like a good batch of sauerkraut. Other not-writing activities, however, grind the whole mental fermentation process to a halt. The bad news is that, at the moment we decide to take a break from writing, we're especially vulnerable to plumping f...
|2021-Sep-03 • 18 minutes|
#19: Not writing is an essential part of writing
Yeah, I know - you should be writing. Same here. Not writing enough is one of the worst sins a researcher can commit - and we're all committing it almost all of the time. But what if we've got 'not writing' all wrong? What if those procrastinating hours you spent trying to decide which font to use and what colour to paint your bedroom were actually important parts of your writing process? What if, without plenty of time spent not writing, you wouldn't be a writer at all - at least, ...
|2021-Aug-20 • 17 minutes|
#18: There is no such thing as self-sabotage
Do you have a battle going on inside every time you try to achieve something important - a battle between the part of you that's trying to do well and your inner saboteur, who is determined to mess things up for you? Have you ever wondered why you work against yourself in this way? I mean, it's exhausting, right?The answer, my imperfect friends, is that your inner saboteur isn't a saboteur at all - at least, not intentionally. She wants you to do well. It's just that she's afraid of...
|2021-Aug-06 • 16 minutes|
#17: The importance of wasting your time
That productivity you care so much about: what's it for? For too many of us, it's not for anything. It's the ultimate end. Unless we're being productive, we feel like we're wasting our time, like we're being lazy, selfish, immoral, a loser. We can only bear to take a break because we think that not taking a break might harm our productivity.That's not what we tell ourselves, of course. We tell ourselves that being productive is a means to attaining our goals: finishing a t...
|2021-Jul-23 • 15 minutes|
#16: Stop moving your goalposts
You know what I’m talking about. You set out to achieve something important, you manage to achieve it (because you’re awesome and of course you did) - but instead of celebrating, you tell yourself it was no big deal and that you probably weren’t aiming high enough anyway and omg how are you ever going to get anywhere if you keep chasing such tiny, piddling little goals? Goalpost-moving is one of the main perfectionist weapons we use against ourselves. Doing it means that, by definition, we can never succeed...
|2021-Jul-09 • 15 minutes|
#15: Help! I have brain fog!
Last week, you were storming it. Hitting your writing targets. Keeping up with emails. Getting everything done (well, more or less). So, why is everything suddenly such a struggle? Why is it that you can barely remember your own name, let alone find anything intelligent to say about ... well, anything?Congratulations, you have brain fog. But also, your reaction to it is probably causing you some problems too. Don't worry, though - The Academic Imperfectionist has fought through her own brain fog to pul...
|2021-Jun-25 • 14 minutes|
#14: Become your own biggest advocate, with Immanuel Kant
How many times have people told you that you should believe in yourself, and how many times have you responded by thinking, 'Pfft, how can I believe in myself when I see evidence of my inadequacy everywhere I look?'? Sorry, friend, but you see no such thing. Not only are your negative beliefs about yourself doing a great job at holding you back, they're also doing a great job at their own PR - by filtering the way you experience the world so that you think you see evidence for them where the...
|2021-Jun-11 • 19 minutes|
#13: How to work as efficiently as you procrastinate
Q: Why is it that you manage to find all the focus, enthusiasm, and dedication you need when it comes to explaining why some dude on Reddit is NTA, but you can't bring yourself even to make a start on what you're actually supposed to be doing?A: It's because the way you think about what you're supposed to be doing is not the same as the way you think about what you're doing instead.In this episode, we'll take a look at why your attitude to work is making it difficult for you to...
|2021-May-28 • 16 minutes|
#12: Delete your scarcity mindset
HURRY! Listen now! This episode will expire in 13 hours, 49 minutes, and 37 seconds! You know that’s nonsense, right? Okay, but do you also realise that it’s nonsense that those other opportunities you’re considering - that not-quite-right project, that far-from-ideal job - are scarce resources that you’d better grab before they’re gone, or regret it forever? Join the Academic Imperfectionist to find out why it’s okay to hold out for what you really want, and for the lowdown on how to tell when your scarcit...
|2021-May-14 • 20 minutes|
#11: Why you have impostor syndrome, and what to do about it: remembering Katherine Hawley
Your desk is covered with self-affirmations on Post-It notes, you spend 5 minutes every morning visualising yourself as Queen of the Universe, and you try not to stick your fingers in your ears whenever people say nice things about you. So why is it that you still struggle to believe that you're good enough?It's commonly thought that people with impostor syndrome ignore evidence of how great they are. But that's not always true. Katherine Hawley argued that people often have good reasons to b...
|2021-Apr-30 • 18 minutes|
#10: Dealing with your inner reviewer 2
Does writing make you anxious? Is having any original idea immediately followed by a nagging voice in your head telling you that it's probably rubbish? That's your inner reviewer 2. Here's how to deal with her.In this episode, you're going to learn 4 useful strategies for responding to your inner reviewer 2:Acknowledge that she's there and that she's making things hard for youRecognise that she's actually trying to help - it's just that she's not very good at itR...
|2021-Apr-16 • 17 minutes|
#9: Cancel your productivity anxiety
We get into a vicious circle when we’re anxious about our productivity. We get anxious about falling behind, our anxiety interferes with our work, and then we worry about falling even further behind. We tell ourselves we’d feel better if only we could work a bit faster - but instead we end up watching cat videos on YouTube. It doesn’t have to be like this. Your wise, imperfect friend is here to tell you how to break the cycle.The blog posts mentioned in the episode, which summarise some of the research on t...
|2021-Apr-02 • 13 minutes|
#8: The nostalgia illusion
Do you ever find yourself caught up in nostalgia, reliving the past, convinced that nothing the future holds can possibly live up to the good times you've already experienced? There are reasons why it's easy to think fondly about the past and to be fearful about the future. The good news is that it's all an illusion - and it's one you can ditch. Here's how.
|2021-Mar-19 • 14 minutes|
#7: How can I flourish in an unjust world?
No amount of coaching is going to turn a sexist, racist, ableist society into a just and fair one. So, there's no point in even trying to flourish, right? Wrong, actually. Flourishing is a marathon - an unfair one - in which some of us are carrying heavier burdens than others. You can't make the competition fair, but you can lighten your load. Click here for the Wheel of Life exercise mentioned in this episode.Read Ephrat Livni's Quartz article, 'All career advice for women is a form of ...
|2021-Mar-05 • 14 minutes|
#6: Live the dream!
So, you've dreamed up your ideal life. What now? You go and get it, that's what now. There's just one problem: there's only one person who knows how to get it, and that person is not talking. Also, that person is you. Here's the strategy you need to get yourself to spill the beans.For the Ideal Life Instruction Manual mentioned in the episode, click here. The research mentioned in the episode is Riis, J., Simmons, J.P., and Goodwin, G.P. 2008: ‘Preferences for psychological enhancem...
|2021-Feb-19 • 15 minutes|
#5: Bitch, do you even dream?
Suppose that your Academic Imperfectionist Godmother could wave her magic wand and give you the life of your dreams, right now. What would you ask for? If you need to hesitate even for a second before knowing how you’d answer that, you need to stop what you’re doing and listen to this episode. For the Wheel of Life exercise mentioned in the episode, click here.
|2021-Feb-05 • 17 minutes|
#4: How to hack your assertiveness with Aristotle
You know you need to say no more, right? And you know that, in theory, there must be a way to do it without coming across as the world's most arrogant, selfish, and uncooperative person - but you just don't know how to get there from where you are now. Well, actually, you do know. You prove it every time you think wistfully about how that confident, fearless colleague of yours would never have agreed to that daft commitment that you just said yes to. Assertiveness is easier than you think. To find...
|2020-Oct-30 • 16 minutes|
#3: Rage against the positivity
Turn that frown upside down! Don't be a Moaning Minnie! Nobody likes a Debbie Downer! Oh, give yourselves a break, my emo friends. All that positivity can be exhausting. You have negative feelings - deal with it. Being in touch with your negative side is an important part of taking care of yourself. And moaning, done right, can help you connect with others and even build motivation to get the life you want. Join The Academic Imperfectionist for some Heaven-Knows-I'm-Miserable-Now insights into the...
|2020-Oct-20 • 16 minutes|
#2: But I haven't earned a rest!
What do you do when you're ready to collapse but you haven't done enough to earn a rest? Answer: you take a rest, and while you're doing it you have a long, hard think about the crazy idea that rest is something that needs to be earned. Rest is a physiological need - you no more have to earn it than you have to earn the oxygen you breathe. Get the kettle on, put your feet up, and spend your next 16 minutes chilling with The Academic Imperfectionist.
|2020-Oct-16 • 14 minutes|
#1: Toxic gratitude
It's good to be grateful, right? Well, maybe ... but maybe not. Sometimes our gratitude is toxic: we use it to suppress and ignore negative feelings like anger, resentment, frustration, and dissatisfaction. Those negative feelings can hold the key to making important changes in our lives. You're as entitled to your negative feelings as you are to your gratitude. Put that gratitude journal down, and listen to your anger!