Learn to want it

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the midst of study, or you’re preparing yourself for that time of studying. Either way, you’ve done well to get here.

That’s not me being arrogant about the quality of this site. It’s me acknowledging your aims to succeed and find effective ways of making your time at uni work for you.

But when it comes to all these academic productivity sites and get smart quick tips, you have to be in a position to really want to do your best. There are certainly a lot of quick fixes and means for improvement that we were not all aware of, but it comes to nothing if you aren’t willing to put in the work, time and effort yourself.

It’s not always what we want to hear. Sometimes you want that instant hit of success. You want reward for not trying. It isn’t always fun to slog your guts out to get somewhere. Wouldn’t it be so much better if the treasures were handed out to us on a plate? Isn’t there a way around the side of this mental assault course, so we don’t have to crawl through all the broken glass and mud?

The answer is – perhaps annoyingly – ‘Yes’ AND ‘No’.

Yes, we can achieve a lot more if we learn new techniques and time-saving skills. No, we cannot do it based on the theory behind those techniques alone. The best way to achieve a desired result is to crave it and be able to visualise the end of your efforts with a triumphant conclusion. You have to learn to want it.

Silhouette Series 4 (photo by CathyK)

Even when you don’t want to do a particular job, there’s nothing better than breaking through that barrier and seeing the reward at the end of the road. The tasks can be stinkers, but the return is worth it in the end.

I’ve seen friends procrastinate their way to nowhere. Others have despaired at the amount of work required to claim the end prize and given up half way. No number of tips would have helped their cause, because the belief wasn’t firmly installed in their mind.

But there are other friends who have taken a balanced view of what was needed, then wanted it, worked toward it, and thoroughly enjoyed it as a consequence.

The helpful hints that grace many blogs and websites, as well as books and magazines, are priceless if you put them into good use and use them with as much conviction and positivity as you can muster. But without your own confident push forward, the benefits will be many times harder to uncover.

Here’s just a few of the ways in which you can move toward truly wanting something:

  • BREAK THE TASKS DOWN INTO SMALLER PIECES – If you start a to-do list by writing down “Complete my degree” on a piece of paper, it’s not going to help much. In fact, it’s not a feasible request. The degree consists of essays, exams and presentations. They, in turn, consist of research, reading, writing, lectures, and so on. If any task feels too big and draining, deconstruct it until you have a clearer picture of what is needed.
  • VISUALISE THE END SUCCESS…WHERE DOES IT PUT YOU? WHAT CAN YOU ACHIEVE NOW THAT YOU COULDN’T BEFORE? – Focus on a good result and imagine all the benefits from it. Whether it’s to win a coveted essay prize, finish that exam with the highest grade, or even just to get through to the next stage of a module, perhaps, just think how much better it will be at the other side. A boost or a realisation like this is needed by even the strongest of people. A good salesman sees the riches after the success, he doesn’t dwell on how badly it might go. So if you really can’t muster up any positivity in what you’re doing, no matter how hard you try, it might be time to seriously question your motives and what you want to succeed in. Even finding that out could help swing you into action.
  • GET INVOLVED AT ALL TIMES – Enthusiasm is a funny thing. Allow a particular feeling to wash over you and your perception can change in a flash. If you’re standing on the sidelines, watching the action that you’re not taking an active part in, make a way in and start playing along. Even if it feels a bit forced in the first instance, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get used to some things and you may not recognise yourself after such a turnaround. It’s possible to teach yourself to want stuff even if you didn’t think you wanted it in the first place!
  • SET TARGETS – Works for some people, doesn’t for others. If you’re target driven, there’s nothing better than having a specific goal laid out in front of you, ready to achieve. This isn’t one of those silly 110% mantras and it’s not trying to win against all odds. It’s just getting to a reason for wanting that prize at the end. The satisfaction of reaching a target is sometimes what it takes. If it works for you, reach for the skies.

So you’ve got a few steps:

First, take this advice on board and you can do so much.
Second, the productivity advice will be even easier to absorb.
Third, and finally, you will enjoy it more precisely because you want it.

Single curve (photo by lusi)