Monday, January 30, 2012

if you don't concentrate, you won't succeed

Concentration-- focus-- is one of the major themes of this blog. If you can't, don't, or won't concentrate, you won't succeed. While I'm talking primarily about test prep (because today, Monday, is test prep day), this wisdom applies to everything you do in life. Without concentration, without seriousness of mind, without earnest mental effort to avoid distraction and to narrow your focus, failure is nearly assured.

Some of you might think you can skate by on talent. I admit that that's possible: some truly talented people are lucky enough to be able to grasp new concepts and new actions with very little effort. But even such people are eventually going to hit a wall if they have any desire to better themselves. What should they do then? Rest on their laurels? Or should they push themselves even further? Meanwhile, we denizens of the fat part of the bell curve can't afford to pretend we're that talented.

Don't assume you're the noble exception. In all likelihood, you aren't. You may think you're more talented than 99% of the populace, but if I stuck you in a room with equally talented peers, you'd realize that, as special as you are, you really aren't that special. Does that depress you? Far from being discouraged, you should view that state of affairs as a challenge. Ask yourself: what can I do to make myself better? What skills do I need to hone to succeed at a given task? Instead of constantly heaping undeserved praise upon yourself for accomplishing minor tasks that everyone else accomplishes from day to day, ask yourself-- what more can I do? And remember that pushing yourself isn't merely about besting your peers: it's about setting high standards for yourself.

All of that begins with focus. Without it, we're nothing. Keep that in mind whenever you're tempted to turn aside from your studies in order to watch TV or tab over to YouTube or grab your smart phone for the hundredth time that hour.


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