By Jacob Hallman | Updated February 4, 2019 | 4 minute read
When it comes to how to succeed in school, there are many ways to approach.
When I was in college, I would get advice like “Have a schedule and stick to it,” “find a mentor,” and “follow your passion.”
I also got lots of advice promoting the value of networking, which is a nice start: Books, Reading, and the Social Aspect Of Learning
But this is not enough if you want to learn how to succeed in life after school.
Education and learning are not synonymous.
Education comes from institutions designed to promote learning, but learning starts with you and me caring enough to push ourselves.
Learning is completely different from thinking.
We gather knowledge and apply it to learn.
We can explain that knowledge to others.
We enjoy learning as it is associated with pleasure.
Learning is not always easy, but it provides great opportunity and improve our quality of life.
So let’s get real about how to succeed in school with five actionable steps. This isn’t a cheap, low input high reward method to getting into Harvard.
The methods will require changing the way you think. But I think the result will be worth it for you.
Below are five tips for how to succeed at anything (including school) and make sure your education never gets in the way of your learning.
Avoid busy. Busy is lazy. It means you aren’t thinking through your behavior.
If you go from task to task without taking the time to consider why you do those activities, your enthusiasm will dry up like a sponge on a hot summer day.
As Thomas Frank shows, tricks like speed reading to get everything done are not shortcuts in the long run. Reading comprehension gets sacrificed for speed. Usually, busyness with out direction is taking steps backward.
Stop and think about that.
Why do you do what you do?
Why are you reading this article?
It’s time to act with thoughtfulness as you choose tasks to engage with.
If you decide to do nothing, do nothing only. Being clear about how you spend your time will help to enjoy time for play and time for work alike.
Apply your learning. Because anything less is foolish.
The plan here is very simple.
If you let your learning make you smart and stop there, you are a fool. If you let your learning drive you to action, you will get rich.
People value others who take action.
You will make a better life for yourself if you are willing to move towards things you know you care about. Learning should always have a purpose.
Have you read the speech by President Theodore Roosevelt about the man in the arena?
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
No one cares about the accuser. The accuser is on the sideline.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
So as you plan to do something, remember that there is no shame in failure.
Planning to fail is a horrible thing to be avoided, but a well-thought out plan that didn’t work out is an opportunity to learn. It is a chance to get back up and try again.
Make your yes really count. Don’t use it for the small things.
Teachers will always require certain things in school.
Math class will be one of them. The SAT will be another.
However, most schools have tremendous extracurricular opportunities. The fact is that there are too many for any one person to take on.
So make a polite refusal of “no” be your first instinct. And save your “yes” for the things that you really care about.
If someone really wants you involved, they should be able to convince you that the commitment is worth your time.
Strong views, loosely held. Speak confidently, but stay open to reason.
When working in team projects, take the time to think through your position and your work.
Then defend the points you believe with a lot of passion and clearly developed thoughts.
But if someone disagrees with you, make a point of listening to them. If their logic is better, you should be open to changing your mind.
Ignore the noise. Your biggest heroes are still imperfect.
Life can be bigger than you ever dreamed once you realize that everything around you was created by someone who isn’t any smarter than you are.
You can build and make things too such as businesses, products, music, and paintings.
You’re smart, so focus on what you know and love. And don’t worry about what anyone says.
As Teddy Roosevelt pointed, the world will always have its critics.
Own your future, not theirs, and make some waves.
Where are you going to learn?
You can find public and private schools, charter schools or even a home school. Public and private colleges get competition from for-profit colleges and online courses.
These legit options can boost your skills if you put in the time to learn with them.
But none of those schools can do your learning for you.
Without education, you can find always find learning.
But without learning, there is no education.
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