Slacking is not the problem for 99% of people.
People don’t fail because they spend too much time relaxing and comforting themselves.
I know the usual reader of this blog might think that relaxing too much is a major factor preventing student success but it isn’t.
A person doesn’t need to become type A to get top notch grades. In fact, I’d argue this strange illusion that good students need to be obsessive about their schoolwork just holds back most students from ever achieving consistent success.
Some people can do well with an obsessive attitudes towards their grades.
That is not the average student. That means, statistically, it’s not you.
Some high scoring students are extraordinarily motivated (rightly or wrongly.) Some of those students can maintain that motivation for years straight.
Some high scoring students aren’t extraordinarily motivated but can still score near the top of their class (and, no, they’re not all gifted.)
You might not believe this but stick with me and I think you’ll understand my point: Some of the highest scoring students I’ve met have been some of the least motivated by school. Many of these students slack like crazy but still find a way to keep their grades high.
Sure… I could be like 99% of study resources out there and teach you the strategies that type A student’s use to score high. That, honestly, bores me to death. I’d much rather teach you what the high scoring students that don’t work so hard know, that most students don’t.
What is it that these high scoring and low effort students know that allows them to survive and thrive in such a competitive environment? That’s what this blog tries to teach you.
A big part of what you need comes down to the strategies. The strategies will get you far but ultimately you’re going to need awareness of this…
Cycling And Grades
No, I’m not talking about pulling out your bike to improve your grades (but maybe that would work for some relaxation.)
I’m talking about how the average type a student ends up feeling through the average semester.
They’ll spend hours studying a night. They’ll work like crazy. They’ll produce some amazing results. Eventually, reality gets in the way.
They push themselves so hard that they’re forced to ask if the effort they’re putting in is really worth the results. This can lead to:
- Emotional crashes
- Huge distractions
- Stress killing their grades
- Excuse after excuse after excuse after…
Ultimately this is their body telling them: “Wake up! There is more to life than this!”
This kind of studying will lead to a crash. (Not always but for those non-extraordinarily motivated students, it will.) Some crashes are small where the student loses a grade letter. Some crashes are big where the high scoring student suddenly worries about failing a class or two. Everyone handles it differently.
Eventually… the student gets such an emotional kick from their lowered results that they are reinvigorated with their original motivation and start studying for hours a night again…
The cycle continues.
What’s Wrong With The Cycle?
I want to start with an important point that you might not expect.
There is nothing wrong with your grades cycling up and down. It’s standard practice when you’re treating school with a practical amount of effort. Consistency requires an unbelievably large amount of effort because of the unpredictable nature of school. It’s smart to expect fluctuations.
Here is the real problem though: These students are not consciously allowing their grades to cycle up and down.
Instead, they’re unintentionally bouncing their grades based on emotions and strategies that they only imagine they control. They don’t actually control it. The winds of their emotions are controlling where they go and they’re not even adjusting the sails.
Cycling is perfectly acceptable if it’s part of a plan. Cycling is unpredictable and dangerous if you aren’t adjusting your sails based on the results your environment is providing.
Why You Need Days Off
Intentional days off are how you can control the unpredictable cycling of your grades.
You will take days off whether you like it or not. No one is type A enough to never slack off.
Some students that study for hours a day take days off by going to hang out with their friends.
Some students that study for hours a day take days off by sitting in front of their textbook for hours meditating instead of actually trying to study hard. They try to tell themselves they’re studying but any standard beyond sitting in front of their textbook would lead someone to assuming they’re not really studying.
It’s just a matter of how they take a day off.
How would you rather take your day off?
Sitting in front of a textbook and going through the motions….
Or consciously doing something that you care about or enjoy?
Taking a day off is not hard.
In fact, virtually all students do it (whether they admit it or not.)
The more you try to pretend that you don’t need days off, the more time off you’ll really need to recover. Taking a day off to do something you love is relaxing.
Spending a day sitting in front of your textbook while your brain completely refuses to comply with your studying is only the slightest bit relaxing. Sure… your brain had a few extra minutes of relaxation but you’re going to need more. Session after session will end up sucking while you get through this recovery period.
It’s better just to admit you’re human and give yourself time to recover.
Do you remember how I started this article?
Probably not because I love to spin in thirty directions but I swear this train of thought is still on the tracks and ready to run that type A part of your personality right over. Bubump…
People don’t fail because they spend too much time relaxing and comforting themselves.
People fail because they never realize that what they’re doing is relaxing and comforting themselves.
Sure… sitting in front of your textbook night after night will comfort you when you fail to meet your expectations. You’ll tell yourself “I tried my best.” You’re parents and teachers will comfort you too (because no one likes seeing a good effort get wasted.)
Maybe you really did put in that intellectual effort? I can’t say whether or not you did.
But if you didn’t, you’re going to be the only person that will ever know. Were you focused on the study material? Were you testing yourself? Were you pushing yourself the whole time? If not then you might be able to convince yourself you did your best but the reality is that you’re just comforting yourself.
Results don’t come from consistently putting in pretend effort. They don’t come from doing what it takes to make other people think you worked hard. They don’t come from comforting yourself when you know you could have done better.
Pushing longer or more is not the same as pushing smarter.
Don’t be scared of a day off.
Be scared of the day off that you don’t even realize you’re taking.
Thanks for being a subscriber. I hope this helps.
This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.
I’m about 4 hours away from something big.
The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.
I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.
Droves of them.
And then teachers noticed.
Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.
Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.
I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.
But… There was a problem…
I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…
And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.
I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.
I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.
I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.
I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.
I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.
But there was always this… but…
What about the C students?
What about the D students?
What about the students that are currently failing?
Sure… Some would reach out.. but…
They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…
And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.
And it’s gone.
Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.
In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.
It’s going to make more Smart Students than at any other time in this site’s history.
If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.
Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.