When asked the question how to concentrate on studies without fear of failure I often respond, "just change your attitude. The truth is that how you approach a task, any task, depends on your attitude. Cultivating a positive mental attitude (PMA) is critical to effective studying. Research confirms this lynchpin of 'folk' psychology. How you approach something is nearly as important as what you do. One thing is perfectly clear, by cultivating a PMA you give yourself a leg up on accomplishment through study. I believe it was President Lincoln who said, "Whether you believe you can or you can't, you are right. Having a PMA is a belief, a confidence you work to create, is something you develop and not something innate. It is a belief in your ability to do what you set out to do; to accomplish a goal. Below are three power tips, almost a mantra to review every day until it is a part of you. As you are developing your personal PMA, there will be days when all will appear hopeless. For those times, "Fake it 'till you make it." |
Tip 1: Make a priority goal to think positively when you study Make notes on post-its and hang the around your room. With sayings like, "I have done this before and I can do it again," or "There is nothing that I can do to undermine my purpose." Motivational quotes are available from many different sources. Don't be shy in collecting them. But simply hanging them on the wall is never enough, You must turn them into your own inner speech. Fifteen minutes of meditation twice a day is enough to incorporate these firmly enough to change your attitude.
Avoid all catastrophic thinking Have you ever thought. "Why even try, I'll just mess up again." Or, perhaps, "There simply isn't enough time to study for this exam." Look these are catastrophic thoughts. They do no one any good. They are the doom and gloom of a negative mental attitude. So train your mind to dismiss them even before they occur. If you can't develop a strategy to dismiss them as they come up.
Avoid absolute thinking Thinking like, "If the past predicts the future, I will fail this test. Why bother to study?" That kind of thinking is absolutely a pathway for failure. It is a negative attitude that is self-fulfilling. Turn the absolute into a positive. Think as follows, "I failed the last test because I didn't review material productively. This time I could do better if I apply myself." While this doesn't guarantee success, it does set the stage for a change in behavior. It is this change that, in small steps forward, you'll create your PMA faster than you might think.
Do not make comparisons with others Examine your own motives for action. Do not examine the motives of others. Not only will you find it unproductive, it will only serve to frustrate you. It matters not who makes the comparisons. The guilt of being compared to others is overwhelming. Learn to be responsible for your own actions, not to be held to the standards of the acts of others. There is something quite liberating in making your own choices outside of what other's appear to be choosing. I say 'appear' because we can never get inside the head of another person. Taking the inventory of another is a great guessing game, often guessing wrong. In short, be responsible, be yourself rather than try to be another.
Final thoughts Many years ago, I was stopped on a downtown street in Chicago by a radio reporter. She stuck a microphone in my face and asked, "If you could be anyone in the world who would you choose to be?" "Myself," I quickly responded. "Yourself," she questioned? "But I asked if you could be anyone." "Look, I know my problems, why would I choose to take on the problems of a complete stranger. Your question doesn't make sense." I still feel that way today. I suggest that if you have to ask. URL: 'how to concentrate on studies' you haven't thought enough about your mental attitude. Foster a PMA and the rest will fall into place.
Dr. Roger Lewis is the owner of Effective Study Tips where he introduces parents and their children to the most effective study habits we know of. Dr. Lewis is a career educator teaching in both middle-school settings and in university departments of education. His specialty is in the teaching of reading methods for k-12 students. He is now retired concentrating on sharing his knowledge with a broader audience.
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