How To Be the Student You Deserve To Be – TUB-Thump 015


We don’t operate on a level playing field.

Some things are up to you, while other things are outside your control.

On today’s TUB-Thump, I look at adopting the mindset to be the student you deserve to be.

University is about so many things. I like to think of it as a springboard to taking action.

That doesn’t make life at university easy. So how do you act in the most effective way?

If you want to do more than jump through a few hoops, listen to today’s TUB-Thump, get exploring, and reclaim the word “learning”. It’s a gateway to keep being awesome…

Here are the show notes for the 9-min episode:

  • 01:00 – To be the student you deserve to be, it’s about thinking how you can use everything as a springboard to further action.
  • 02:20 – The easier it is, and the more opportunities there are, the more likely you could end up procrastinating. It’s a strange situation, so keep a careful eye on it.
  • 02:50 – Not everything is laid out for you. And even if they are, that doesn’t mean you should blindly jump through the hoops without any real understanding or context as to why you’re doing it. I did some of this “hoop jumping” without question when I was younger. And since I didn’t know why I was doing it, I ended up making decisions that didn’t make sense. I had to pivot further down the line.
  • 03:50 – Not everyone gets the opportunities to correct their course or find their context. That’s part of the reason why I want to help open things up through TheUniversityBlog, TUB-Thump and so on. If one person can be inspired or can find context, that’s a worthwhile achievement.
  • 05:30 – It’s never too late to explore more. We’re always learning.
  • 06:10 – Reclaim the word “learning”. And check out another one of my shows, Learning Always.
  • 07:25 – Allow yourself flexibility, so long as you don’t blame others. Take on responsibility where it counts and where you do have control over it.

Music for TUB-Thump is Life, by Tobu, which is released under a Creative Commons license. Check out more of Tobu’s great sounds on Soundcloud, YouTube, and his official site.

TUB-Thump is part of the Learning Always Network.

Keep being awesome!

10 Good Things About University That Can Also Be Bad (And What You Can Do About it) – TUB-Thump 008



The stuff you usually think of as good aspects of university can sometimes serve to trip you up.

In Episode 008 of TUB-Thump, I talk about 10 of the positive points that you need to be careful with. Because a lot of freedom needs to be used wisely.

This edition of the show is based on an old post from the blog that looked at the 10 points. If you want a quick reminder from time to time, you can also remind yourself at the original piece:

10 Reasons Why the Benefits of University Can Lead to Downfall

Independence is great; so long as you know you have to take the rough with the smooth. All that responsibility can easily go to your head if you’re not careful!

How do you deal with the new independence?

Here are the show notes for the 16-min episode:

  • 01:30 – Positive/Negative 01: You can choose when you want to do your work.
  • 02:30 – Positive/Negative 02: You can choose how much time you spend on a project/task.
  • 03:30 – Positive/Negative 03: You aren’t fixed to any particular study area.
  • 05:00 – Positive/Negative 04: You aren’t pushed in the same way as you were at school.
  • 06:30 – Positive/Negative 05: You can concentrate on all the things that interest you.
  • 07:40 – Positive/Negative 06: You have the freedom to have as much fun as you like.
  • 08:50 – Positive/Negative 07: You’ve got the scope to develop through all sorts of new activities.
  • 10:10 – Positive/Negative 08: You’re given the tools for independent thought and making your own mind up.
  • 11:20 – Positive/Negative 09: You have enormous scope to network and collaborate with others.
  • 13:20 – Positive/Negative 10: You are given independence from Day One. [Note: Some things are beyond your control and responsibility. I’m talking about the stuff we can make excuses over by latching blame onto others, even though you had the ultimate choice.]

Music for TUB-Thump is Life, by Tobu, which is released under a Creative Commons license. Check out more of Tobu’s great sounds on Soundcloud, YouTube, and his official site.

TUB-Thump is part of the Learning Always Network.

Keep being awesome!

How to Fail Brilliantly

None of us want to fail. If you could pass everything with flying colours, you would.

However, that requires work.

When you put the effort in, not everything is perfect. You have to get used to it. You’re going to fail once in a while.

original by action datsun
original by action datsun

So why not fail brilliantly? Here’s some help on how to use failure to your advantage:

  • Separate aspects of failure out of your control from those you can deal with – Control freaks don’t appreciate matters that are out of their control. Nevertheless, they exist. Anything you can deal with, concentrate on that. As for the stuff you don’t have a handle of, be aware of it as a random force.
  • Spend more time on rectifying, not blaming – Now you’ve worked out what’s outside your control, work out how best to move on. Don’t attribute blame to others in the process. Spend time more fruitfully: work with others to reach a more favourable conclusion; choose other variables/individuals with better potential; bypass the problem areas completely, if possible. Time spent solving problems is more effective than wasting time accusing others.
  • Analyse why the failure occurred – If you don’t know why events unfolded the way they did, how can you learn from the failure? Take stock of what happened before you try again. For any elements that don’t make sense, try finding out more in that area before moving on.
  • Accept – Sometimes we make the same mistakes again and again due to denial. It *has* to work this way.
    But does it really? Okay, certain situations may succeed eventually with a bit of patience and better circumstances. But most situations will fail until you do something different. Don’t be stubborn if other opportunities arise. Be open to change. You can’t be right all the time!
  • Understand which aspects of the situation *were* successful – The end result may not be perfect, but failure doesn’t mean you must start from scratch. What you do isn’t usually characterised by a succeed/fail mentality. There’s a lot of movement in between. Use the mini successes within a bigger picture fail until you have a bunch of mini-successes from start to finish.
  • Use failure as part of a process, or as a tool – You don’t pick up a tool and use it without learning a bit about it first. Even if it’s only the basics. Before mastering a process or tool, you spend time learning, developing and experiencing. Failure is one step closer to success because, without failure, success can’t happen either.
  • Be responsible – A lot of failure can be turned around by taking a bit more responsibility. Imagine working your butt off for an essay and only getting a bare pass. Then imagine all that hard work was condensed into 48 hours before the essay was due in. You knew it wouldn’t be best to leave the assignment until the last minute, but for many, that’s exactly what happens. It’s what I call a ‘covert failure’. By taking responsibility from the outset, you can manage the situation more clearly and work your butt off without breaking into a sweat. From covert failure to double win.

Now you can fail better, you may still not like failing. Don’t worry, I’ve got tips on how to pick yourself up after a fall too.

Now get out there and start failing, you awesome person, you!

9 (Random) Secrets to Success

You want success and you want it quick. What do you do?

original by lululemon athletica

original by lululemon athletica

Here are nine secrets to help in your quest:

1. There are no secrets

Busted my own post straight away. But that’s fine. Because there are no secrets. There are no quick fixes. There is no narrative. Stuff happens. As scary as that seems, it can be a whole bunch of fun too.

2. Numbers are great

I arrived at nine secrets because I quickly wrote down a list with nine points. It could have been eight or ten secrets. In fact, it could have been 100 secrets that I boiled down to nine. Whatever the case, numbers are sexy. Unless, of course, you disagree. I’m willing to be wrong about it…

3. Be Right & Be Wrong

Kathryn Shulz asks people how it feels to get something wrong. It sucks, doesn’t it? Actually, what sucks is finding out that you were wrong. Getting something wrong feels just the same as getting something right. It’s only when you find out that you feel a particular way. So there’s no harm in being wrong. Be wrong, learn from it and move on. If you’re never wrong, how can you learn anything?

4. Do Nothing & Do Everything

Comfort zones are misleading. Why does it feel so cosy when you fail to stretch yourself? How can plodding along the same old path feel nicer than a voyage of discovery? Sometimes it’s good to have fun with what we recognise. That’s where doing ‘nothing’ new is necessary. Other times it’s good to go places we’ve never even imagined. That’s where ‘everything’ else comes in to play. The old saying ‘the world is your oyster’ doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something more than once. It means you can make good use of everything available to you. So don’t miss the opportunity!

5. Debate and engage, but don’t accuse

We have different opinions on everything. Your closest friends and family may be soulmates, yet there will always be the odd occasion when you don’t see eye to eye. It may be of no consequence, but a difference of opinion – no matter how obvious it is to you – doesn’t mean one of you is right and the other is wrong. Debate and argument is fine, but the moment you accuse someone of personally being wrong, the moment you close doors on yourself…just to be ‘right’. As soon as you start pointing out an individual or a group as ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ or anything negative, you’ve gone beyond a debate. Accusations are rarely helpful.

6. Move on

Once you’ve finished something, stop dwelling. You may still use it, refer to it, and have related dealings with it, but when it’s done, it’s done. Worrying about what has already been takes up valuable ‘doing’ time.

7. Make up your own secrets to success

See Point 1. It took me a few moments to jot down these ‘secrets’. I hope they help. In many ways, they help me. That’s why I noted them down. Note down some of yours.

8. Know when to stop

This ties in with Point 6. Before you move on from something, you have to finish. It can be hard to find a natural point to finish. The desire to find that non-existent ‘perfect’ is strong. As you obsess over the work, the more time you spend on less stuff. An hour spent trying to get a single sentence ‘right’ is time you could be spending more productively. When it comes to worrying over minor issues, it’s probably time to stop.

9. See Point 8.

Now you’ve got the nine secrets. That’s everything you need. Or is it?

Of course not. Secrets to success are vague. They aren’t a step-by-step guide to guaranteed brilliance and perfection. They don’t tell you what to do, but they start to outline a bigger picture. Think of it as a scaffold to greatness.

For example, Tweet Smarter’s ‘three-step program to Twitter success‘ is:

  1. Care and listen
  2. Engage and question
  3. Respond and adapt

That advice leaves you pretty open to everything. It’s up to you how to care, how to listen, how to engage, and so on. Realising the importance of these things is a good place to start though. The success will still be entirely yours, and you’ll have earned it.

Similarly, Mr.SelfDevelopment highlights ‘5 Keys to Success‘:

  1. Preparation
  2. Work
  3. Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
  4. Confidence
  5. Lead

Again, you’ve hardly been given a detailed plan to conquering the world, but those vague nuggets suggest you have to put in your own effort before success reaches your grasp.

That’s why there are no secrets (my Point 1), making it doubly important to create your own secrets (my Point 7).

What is important to you? What drives you? What spurs you on? What helps you help others? Take responsibility of what comes your way and the secrets of success won’t seem quite as secret as they did before…