I went camping with my girlfriend the other day. (I promise… this is getting to how you can boost your grades massively but this is an important story.)
We borrowed an old tent and sleeping bags from my parents. We brought a bag of easy to cook food. We picked up some firewood from her parent’s. We even brought matches and one of those handheld wand lighter thingamajigs.
We thought we had everything we needed.
So we drove out of town into the middle of nowhere campground. We got our spot and we started setting everything up.
We fumbled around with the tent for a while. It’s kind of like a three dimensional puzzle meant to confound and confuse the imagination (particularly when you don’t have instructions or a completed photo of the tent. We were just winging it.)
We’d stick rods into other rods randomly and eventually we built what seemed like the two-story mansion equivalent of a tent. If the tent was a model more advanced we would have probably had a balcony to sip wine on. So… that was pretty cool.
Then we got to the fire…
Have you ever tried to start a fire?
We had a box of matches and a lighter with a trigger on it. How hard could it be, right?
The Greatest Innovation Ever = Making Fire
I can’t even imagine how someone came up with making fire intentionally.
We played with our box of matches for half an hour and got nowhere. We knew we needed to light some kindling but we could get the kindling to light anything bigger.
We then pulled out the lighter with a literal trigger on it. We still couldn’t get that fire into anything more than a few burnt twigs.
How some cave person thousands of years ago decided to rub sticks painfully for two hours to make a spark while over dry kindling and ready to add small dry twigs to it is beyond me. That guy must have been the Einstein of his time intellectually and the Schwarzenegger of his time at rubbing the sticks together.
Unfortunately, my girlfriend and I aren’t quite that prepared for fire building. We probably could have had a flame thrower and we still wouldn’t have figured it out.
And this is where your grades are coming into it…
The Steps To Building An Intellectual Fire
Getting killer grades is kind of like building a fire.
If you don’t know the correct steps to take then you’re just going to be rubbing sticks together and embarrassing yourself. Certain tools can help you. You may be able to light a small fire if you’re lucky but you’re going to have to keep redoing it if you don’t know what you’re doing.
You need to lay out the kindling. You need to get the spark. Tools can help with that. You need to get the right amount of air to it. Then you need to know how to keep the fire fed.
In school: you need to have the foundation of knowledge for your class.
You need to find the motivating spark of curiosity. Tools can help with that.
You need to do the right amount of studying. (Not too much. Not too little.)
Then you need to keep feeding that curiosity with the right inputs.
If you try to feed that curiosity with something too big then it might not ever catch. If you just keep feeding the curiosity little tidbits that you easily understand then the fire won’t keep growing. And you sure as hell can’t feed that fire by relearning stuff you already know (ashes.)
Most Students Can’t Build The Fire
Students struggle day after day to build a new little fire.
They might have a burning passion for something outside of school like sports, games, or maybe another person but they rarely develop that same burning for school stuff.
It’s not there fault though.
It’s almost like parents and teachers are trying to make school a difficult place to enjoy. They wake you up early. They make you follow orders all day. (Go here. Now here. Now wait. Now here.) And they call everything they make you do work. That doesn’t help.
They make you “work” and you don’t even get paid. Isn’t that outlawed? There is a word for that…
It makes sense most students never learn to build a burning curiosity. The students that are capable of it are at a huge advantage.
Once You Start A Fire
Fires are hard to start but once you have a big enough flame, they’re super easy to maintain. It can even be hard to stop.
Once you start your intellectual fire for school, it’s just as easy as a fire to maintain. You just keep throwing logs into it and it will keep burning. Or in study words, you just go through a basic consistent study routine and you’ll keep getting the awesome results.
Students starting from the bottom are up for a big challenge but I’ve watched D students turn into A students by the end of the year. It’s an extraordinary challenge because classes tend to build on themselves. If you don’t know what you need from last year then you’re probably going to struggle this year.
Students can overcome it. For students that consistently apply good strategies (not perfect strategies), within 2 school years, they can be scoring near the top of their class.
For average students that aren’t scoring D’s, it’s easy to make the change.
I’ve watched B student’s become class topping students by studying less than 15 minutes a night (using the right strategies.)
And once a student gets to that higher level of competence, keeping up there is easy because almost anything they try to learn will be caught up in the flame.
I don’t care if your grades suck right now.
It doesn’t take an extraordinary intelligence to score high. It doesn’t even take an extraordinary effort.
It takes intelligent proven study strategies. And it takes the knowledge of how to use them. That’s the kind of stuff I’m obsessed with learning.
Now I just have to figure out how to build that actual fire.
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.
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