STRATEGIES FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

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ABOUT THE BOOK
This book is not just based on the human senses but inspired by God to meet the need of this young generation that reveals the secrets to hidden treasure possessed by every young person. As God told Habakkuk “write the vision and make it plain upon tablets that he may run that reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time but at the end, it shall speak and not lie...” Thanks to God that this revelation is coming at this appointed time to change many from failure to success in academics through this project SAE.
As you read this book take practical steps on every strategy studied and by simple and continued repetition of these actions your success will be moulded. Be a doer not reader only because that is where lies your success.
Francis Bacon said “Some books are to be tasted, others are to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested; that is some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read but not curiously and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention.” I want to assure you that at the end of your study of this piece like Francis Bacon you will liken this book to his “some few” and the evidence will be obvious.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - STRATEGIES FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

Submitted: July 09, 2012

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Submitted: July 09, 2012

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PART I: PERSONAL BUILDING STRATEGIES

STRATEGY 1: GOAL AND GOAL SETTING

One of the foremost steps to academic excellence is goal setting. A goal is anything a person wants to achieve at a specified time or period. In academy, goals are necessary to guide and direct a person. Without a goal you become rudderless and chartless in your daily affairs. Entering a day without a goal to channel the course of your life or future, you may not be different from your today in future.

It is necessary that in setting a goal, the goal must be specific and attainable. Specificity means that the goal must be direct, precise and easily understood while attainable means it is possible and achievable. For example: a student can have a short term goal of becoming the best student in his class for the current academic session and to achieve it he decided to set a goal/target of all “A” in his exam. From above, the student has a specific goal of wanting to be the best in the class and this result is attainable if the student is academically sound and serious, that is a swot. But will be unattainable if the student spends more time in extracurricular activities and less with his studies.

Also, as a student you can set out long term goals that can be of a year or more. Such long term goal keeps your interest and mind focus so that in the course of achieving the short term goals the actualization of the longer becomes possible. However, it should be best understood that long term goals of more than a year may become volatile due to uncontrollable global or local factors, which can disrupt any facet of life. Therefore, in setting goals, you must limit long term targets within a year and set new and greater goals when you have reached your expected end but of course let your future be certain, irrespective of the surrounding conditions that seem to be setbacks.

“The most important thing about having goal is having one”

-Geoffrey F. Abert

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.” - Norman Vincent Peale

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” - Napoleon Hill

STRATEGY 2: PLANNING

There is need to have goal either of long or short term but it’s more important to plan or strategize measures in order to achieve your set goal or target. There are many people who had set such a similar goal or target for themselves one time and their experiences would prove to you if they had succeeded in their quest to achieve their aims or not. That is in planning you must consider the experiences of others as they relate to yours, this will help you to plan properly because in reviewing the results of others whether the strategies employed then worked for or against them, which can therefore be the basis of your own strategies. However, some measures not productive some time ago may be useful and result oriented now but it also depends on the setbacks acting on the measure at that time, so if such setbacks have been eliminated over the years then that previously failed strategy may become productive but should the setbacks remain or be ignored and that strategy is carried out, there is also a high percentage that the same result achieved then will also be yours.

In order words, in planning to actualize your goal research must be done to check if your strategy formed had ever been productive or failed. This will guide you to make a new strategy, modify or use the previously used strategy. The setbacks or challenges you will face in planning to actualize your goal are not unique to you because many people including both the wisest and most successful have passed through them but they have the understanding that there is no peace without troubles, no rest without strain, no laughter without sorrow, no victory without battle and that is the price they have all paid for living and achieving their goals.

Therefore, when you have a set goal, long or short termed, planning is inevitable, which is the strategizing and creating measures that will help in the achieving of such goal. If your short term goal is to make good grades in your next coming examination, then your planning should include the creation of time from your limited time such as sleep less, play less, watch films or TV less and read more, ask more questions and spend more time in academic activities than those of leisure and pleasure.

“Never again will I greet the dawn without a map.” -Anonymous

“Planning is as natural to the process of success as its absence is to the process of failure.” -Robin Sieger

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.-Anonymous

STRATEGY 3: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

After setting your goal or goals whether of the short or long term, planning must be done after which it is execution. In the cause of executing the laid plan, you are bound to face obstacles. How you are able to overcome these challenges matter and of course one thing is very clear if you do not believe it can be done it will never be done. Zacchaeus once asked a question “How is one to know what one can accomplish unless one tries?” It is only when you try something that you can then assess your capability whether you can or you cannot. Every individual must depend on his/her abilities because when you have a little faith in your abilities, achieving a goal big or small would be possible. Why have small and insignificant goals just because you want to satisfy your lowly rated talent (ability) when you can actually achieve greater things with bigger goals. There is always possibility to all things if you know where the answer is, which is, you. Unless you are able to see beyond your optical sense and look inwards to your real self and believe all things are possible, you will forever remain in search of answers that lie within you and find it hard to achieve your set goals. Make now a consistent effort by choice to believe in yourself and know all solution you will ever need, have been made known to you.

“Continuous effort is the key to unlocking our potentials.” -Black Elk

“There are no limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination and wonder.” - Ronald Reagan

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can” - Michael Korda

STRATEGY 4: VISION: THE POWER OF VISION

Every man is the architect of his destiny and success begins from you. The human mind is a form of a mini computer where designs are made for both immediate and future use. Whatever is manufactured in it determines what such a person will be. You are therefore the sum total of what you think or envisage; due to your thought pattern, nothing changes itself unless it is changed from the inside. Success mentality produces success while failure produces failure likewise.

To achieve academic excellence, one most important thing is to have a vision or foresight on what you want because what you see is what you get and what you think is what you become unless you are settling for the less. Then you must have faith in your vision, which is the mental picture of your future state and have no doubt about it else you will destroy your edifice. It is necessary to foresee your goal, strategize to achieve it and get the possible outcome. You must not confuse wish for vision.

Vision is the mental creation in line with your success or failure while wish is your desire that could be base on lust for what you have seen. Therefore, focus should be laid on vision rather than wish if you want to achieve academic excellence.

“No one scores a goal without a goal post.” -John Mason

“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.”-Henry Ford

“Great men are they who see that thought is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

STRATEGY 5: SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS

Success is a state where a set goal is achieved. It can be positive or negative depending on the set goal. In academic, it is attained when academic goal is achieved. One way to fast track success is your consciousness of success. As you have seen from the explanation of the power of vision, if you can be success conscious, the success will breed success. However, this does not mean if you are success conscious and you fold your arms, place them akimbo or play for 24hours in 7days you will produce success oriented result, rather when you work hard in your studies with that consciousness, the result will be obviously success oriented. Simply put:

“Preparation is the mother of good fortune, daring is the father”

Note that success is of the mind and the constant thought of it and the belief in one’s self will always produce the desired result – success. Although, this result does not come by easily but it consists of getting up just one more time than the times you fall. With the mindset that you know you cannot fail, the consciousness of success, no matter where you find you in the academic ladder does not borders you an inch again because now you know the secret to attain academic excellence and that by faith and working hard as well as following the strategies laid down in this book, failure cannot remain in your dwelling but just have to give way to success.

“Great successes are built on taking your failures and then turn them around without complaining.”

-Summer Red Stone

“To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”

- Anita Roddick

STRATEGY 6: STRONG DESIRE AND PRIORITIZATION

One thing is to set goal another thing is to desire it come to reality. If a set goal is not desired or is doubted, it is impossible to achieve. The desire to succeed is the will power that drives a person towards the achieving of a goal. In order to attain a high level of academic excellence, there must be a driving force that will propel you to work towards the set goal because when this goal is not achieved success cannot be said to be attained. In the course of having a strong desire to excel, you must set out your priority right. You cannot desire to achieve academic excellence when you spend most of your time reading novels, chatting on irrelevant issues on social networks e.g. 2go, facebook, nimbuzz, e.t.c., playing games, sports or other extracurricular activities. If you desire to be a great footballer, you must spend more time training than chatting and sleeping. Likewise if you desire to achieve academic excellence, you will need to read and study more than sleeping or partaking in extracurricular. For you to be successful, choose the goal you strongly desire and spend more time to develop it but note that in every career choice education is foremost because it promotes more desirable result. Do not allow trivialities to take most part of your time rather let the achieving of your set goals be your major concern. The less time you give your goal, the less you desire it; the less you desire your goal, the farther it becomes to achieve and in time it is lost and never found.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

-Abraham Lincoln

“If you have the will to win, you’ve achieved half your success. If you don’t, you have achieved half failure”

-David Ambrose

“The secret of success is consistency of purpose”.

-Benjamin Disraeli

STRATEGY 7: DETERMINATION/ASPIRATION AND COMMITMENT

Many people have ended their quest for success in frustration due to wrong set goal or strategy to achieve the goal. However, with determination an assumed failure can be changed to success by another. Determination is a factor that does not recognize excuse and a less result, but fight against all odds to see its set goal is achieved in time. When failure lurks around hoping to engulf the works you have done, determination comes and refuses to accept the result placed before it but make use of it to actualize the desired objective. Have you witness failure in your academic or have not been able to accomplish your desired objective in your academic? The will to accomplish your goals in life makes it possible for them to come to reality. If you have seen and witness failure in your academic and thought there is no more hope and have decided to live in that state, my suggestion is say NO to such thought because solution has come to you now, pick up from where you left things, ponder over your goal, desire it and push hard with your determination and of course the change will come as you persist and wait for it, your hope and hard work will produce this inherent heart desire and brings alone utmost joy.

There is need to be committed to your set goal. Some students forget their reason for academic success while some get confused of what they want because of the choices of others. But I tell you when you are focused and committed to your goal, nothing that stands on your way can stop you. Avoid the view that your academic is a routine process; you will never find success, academic excellence that brings along joy. To be academically excellent, you have to labour more than any other person. However, this can only happen if you have strong desire for your goal and have set out your priority for the goal, with determination and other factors discussed in this book, your desired level of academic exploit can be achieved.

“Most people succeed because they are determined to.” -George Allen

“There is a difference between interest and commitment, when you are interested in doing something, you only do it when is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses, only result”

-Kenneth Blanchard

Desire is the key to motivation, but it's the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

-Mario Andretti

“Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles”

–Claude M. Bristol

STRATEGY 8: SEEK COUNSEL OR HELP

History is said to keep repeating itself because events of old have found their way back into the present day for the people have not learnt anything from them. It is necessary to learn from experience preferably from others rather than you experiencing it yourself.

In order to do this we have to seek counsel by asking the right question and seek the opinions of adults and experts in the field of questioning or those who are intelligible because when you labour foolishly, you will produce foolish result but with the right counsel, the right result is produced: for in the midst of multitude of counsel there is safety.

Therefore, if mathematics is the problem of a student, the subject tutor is consulted but if a student has problem with studying and subject tutor is provided, the problem will remain unresolved rather the misinterpretation of the student’s problem may cause more damage than good. Hence, it is necessary to know the academic problem and then seek appropriate counsel. In school, every teacher has his standard of questions and how he wants the questions to be answered: unless you ask the right people e.g. your seniors in school or the teacher himself, you will never be able to give the teacher what he wants.

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives you the test first, the lesson afterwards.”-Vernom Sanders

“It's much easier to point out the problem than it is to say just how it should be solved.” -J. K. Galbraith

“The golden rule is, to help those we love to escape from us; and never try to begin to help people, or influence them till they ask, but wait for them.” -Friedrich Hügel

STRATEGY 9: KNOW YOUR BEST ASSET

The knowledge of oneself and the agreement with ones adequacies and inadequacies is one step to know the level of a person in the process to achieve academic excellence. The acknowledgement of these facts is the beginning to their solution because without the proper understanding of a problem any preferred solution will be a waste of resources since it cannot provide the desirable result. Therefore, it is wise to know who we are, our strong and weak points and taking advantage on them. Take for instance a student who is a better listener than reader, must listen more while the reader must spend more time with his book but if the one that requires reading plays his time, he definitely cannot achieve a high level of academic excellence because he cannot take advantage of his weak point. Assess yourself now and write out your strong and weak points, then provide possible solutions but if you cannot contact a professional counselor.

The knowledge of your weak points give you advantage over them, however, this advantage do not just come around but you have to seek or create it by proffering an alternative and backup for your loopholes. Through this conquering the weak point is easy. Also, in the case of strong points, the proper utilization of such factor makes you better. For example, a student who likes reading than listening to the tutor as a result of the physical appearance of the tutor or knowing reading is what he likes, should always read at all available times and uses all available research material because such activity is what gives him pleasure.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Success has a simple formula: do your best and people may like it.” -Sam Ewing

“Every living soul has different talents, desires, faculties. Be yourself. Try to be anything else but your genuine self; even if you deceive the entire world, you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.” –Unknown

STRATEGY 10: GOOD SELF ESTEEM

One thing is to be original and know you; another is to have good self esteem. Self esteem is how a person feels, sees or regards himself/herself. The way you carry you is one determinant factor to academic excellence while one destructive factor to self esteem is inferiority complex, which simply implies disbelief in yourself and the feel other people are better than you. This view about oneself belittles one and creates fear in any place of competition. The ability to carry yourself tall, believe in you and do not see you as a less or minor potent your charisma. Many young people are scared to compete with the big wings in their classes these days because they feel they are not good enough or not necessary. I urge you today; you can be the best in your class if you develop a good self esteem and become charismatic, square your shoulder and talk tough even in the midst of the known big wings in your class but do not stop there rather work harder by studying, play less and compete more. It is just a matter of time before the result that will definitely shock others would be seen but you must not be satisfy with that rather, will continue and outclass everyone because when you become comfortable or satisfied with your position you stop making progress. So, place yourself high and tough then work towards achieving that daily.

“Oft times nothing profits more than self-esteem, grounded on what is just and right.” -John Milton

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” -Malcolm S. Forbes

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

STRATEGY 11: SELF CONFIDENCE AND BOLDNESS

Confidence can only be built on the foundation of good self esteem. It guides you against intimidation and brings you on any attainable platform at anytime for it makes you sure of the possible outcome of any toss. Confidence drives boldness, which gives you edge to face any challenge or competition. Everything in life involves competition for survival and the right attitude and right frame of mind to compete favourable in any sphere of life. In a class for example, a student name Nafisat, who is very studious and the best in her class, none could ever challenge her and this made her superior to other students who are intimidated by her success. Her confidence grew to an extent that she so much believe in her academic supremacy over her mates that when she sees anyone coming even close, she pushes hard on her academic pedal to increase her speed for her to remain the best.

This has automatically broken the hearts of some of her mates that tried and had come to the acceptance her supremacy and think it is never possible to get her height in the class due to lack of confidence and persistence. Oh! What a shame. In another case it took a student 2years of hardwork and persistence to beat the student that has established her supremacy over her class. It is therefore wise to build on yourself in confidence and boldness to achieve academic excellence.

“Confidence is the hinge on the door to success.”-Mary O'Hare Dumas

“The foundation of lasting self-confidence and self esteem is excellence, mastery of your work.” - Brian Tracy

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other.” -Abraham Lincoln

STRATEGY 12: BE HUMBLE

Humility is a virtue given by God. It is a strategy that promotes learning from both the high and mighty in the area of interest. Many students today are so proud that they see themselves too big to consult their tutor or classmate in times of problem yet would want to ask questions during examination. When your attitude towards a tutor or classmate suggests pride, insolence or flippancy, there will always be a reciprocal reaction from them. It is also wrong to set up an argument with a tutor during class unless you are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt with support of literature that the tutor is making mistake. However, in doing this make your point clear and not in an insolence manner. This of course will make that tutor to prepare very well before coming to your class next time because if such mistake reoccurs, it will be obvious he is not good enough to handle such a class but on your part planning to correct your tutor will make you never learn or gain anything from every class because of your sole interest in looking for faults in your tutor rather when it occurs and you observe it do well to correct it before others suffer from it and also do not say it does not concern you because you know the right thing others do not, hence it will pay you in exam. This attitude has not favoured any student because it makes it possible not to gain any academic knowledge from others. A common adage says “pride goes before a fall” meaning pride will often lead to a fall

One very significant way to get the attention of others is humility. It gives you access to many who may consider you fool. But be discipline and tactful, learning always in the midst of the brilliant students, talk less, listen more and ask question when opportune or confused.

“The only reason pride lifts you up is to let you down.” -John mason

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” -Jim Rohn

“Egotism is the only disease where the patient feels well while everyone else around him feels sick.” –John Mason

“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not what he is capable of receiving” -Albert Einstein

STRATEGY 13: BE ENTHUSIASTIC

Enthusiasm gives a new meaning to any challenge no matter how frightening or difficult. Without it you are doomed to a life of mediocrity but with it you can accomplish the miraculous. It is a great asset to the world, its value of potential surpasses money, power and influence. It tramples over prejudice and opposition, spurns inaction storm, the citadel of its object and like an avalanche overwhelms and engulfs all its obstacles.

Your enthusiasm should be seen as your faith in action. The success you may achieve and enjoy today may continue tomorrow, next week, next month and never ends if you are enthusiastic. Enthusiasm in all you do with hard work becomes a habit, which then makes you.

There is need to humble yourself to your course and people around and show strong enthusiasm to the achieving of you set target but be patient and persevere because the people you want to tap knowledge from may want to use you, do not give in to whatever sort of pressure. But remember your gusto or passion towards your set goal one means to show willingness to excel with the goal.

“Enthusiasm: a little thing that makes a big difference.”-Unknown

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”-Dale Carnegie

STRATEGY 14: HARD WORK – NO FREE LUNCH

There is a great difference between struggling and hard work. The love of what you do in any condition favourable or unfavourable to producing desired result is hard work, unlike struggling where someone is trying to do something and do not have result to show for it but just doing what needs to be done for survival sake. But hard work means diligence, productiveness, conscientiousness or industriousness. Until you come to the realization that your own actions are what condemn you to a place where there is no one smiling – a world of failures, you will continue to blame others for your plight or circumstances instead of recognizing you are the cause of your problems. As student you blame the tutor for your failure based on the fact that he/she did not pass the rightful information, yet on your own, you never for once bordered to consult textbooks for more information, neither did you asked questions where you were confused. Stop casting blame on others and from now become very hard working in your studies else your future and the beginning will be the same – failure.

One thing you must know is that it’s how you do, not what you do that determines the course your life. When you perform all that is required of you and more for your academic, then your reward will come. There is only one certain method to achieving success and that is through hard work. If you are unwilling to pay this price of attaining success and distinction in your life, then be ready for a lifetime of mediocrity and poverty as it regards your academic. As a student, know now that nothing comes easy but getting it may also be easy only if you do the right thing, which is working hard at your highest level and potential leaving nothing untouched with the knowledge that nothing is irrelevant. Hard work and diligence, which is a quiet and steady continuation of a task pays off but idleness will destroy your future with unattainable goals or your satisfaction with achieved small insignificant goals, where others are making great impact and success.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”-Pablo Picasso

“As is the case in all branches of art, success depends in a very large measure upon individual initiative and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by dint of hard work.” -Anna Pavlova

“To take action is always dangerous, but to sit and wait for the good things of life to fall into your lap is the only calling where failures excel.” -Unknown

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” -George E. Woodberry

STRATEGY 15: THINK GREAT AND BE POSITIVE

Great thinkers of old, which we celebrate today for their works e.g. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, just to mention a few were not without mistakes in their quest to bring forth those great ideas to pass but in that light they persistently continued their search, remained focus and were positive believing that their theories or principle will become true.

You can only be great when you think big and have positive attitude towards your goal. If we take an example from the business world, many great men today e.g. Harrison Ford irrespective of him being unable to complete his education gained success in the manufacture and design of Ford cars by his great thinking. Also, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, which is one of the biggest indigenous Nigerian investors started very small, today he has built an empire of chains of business across the Africa continent. If he had seen his success at five hundred thousand to be ok, do you think he would have been this great today? No! But his thought of greater success and having a positive attitude by working in conformity with his aspirations and big goals, the result is what his testimony is. When such thinking and positive attitude are also invested in academic pursuit, same result of great or greater testimony is achieved. When you think big, you get big or bigger result, but if you think small, a small or smaller result would be achieved. Always seek a high goal so that if you could not get there, you will be close and be at a higher plain.

“Since your thinking has a direct bearing on your performance, your thinking must be based on sound input”

-Zig Ziglar

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

-Unknown

“Aim for the highest.” -Andrew Carnegie

“Those who follow the part of themselves that is great will become great. Those that follow the part that is small will become small.” -Unknown

STRATEGY 16: USE YOUR TONGUE RIGHT

The tongue is a fire power because death and life are in it. Many young and old people today do not make good use of their tongue rather it is channeled to the wrong things e.g. raining of curses, abuses and swearing consciously and unconsciously knowing that their words have power especially by the old folks while some young folks may just do it cause of anger or defeat. You must understand that in the principle of life, the words we speak either create or destroy what had been created. Whatever is spoken will always come to pass. This is a spiritual law to show you that your mouth does not only have bodily function but also to direct the issues of life. When you talk success, you will get success and also makes you more confident, bold, boost your self esteem and reminds you of your target to keep you on course and finally strengthens you on your strategies toward actualizing your pursuit. The more you say you are a success, the more successful you become; the more you say also with your mouth that I am the best, the more the best you become. So start now and talk yourself to the top of your academics. Although, people will talk you down or tell you to shut up, do not be discouraged just keep talking: one day they will see you where you want them to see you as your words and actions would have placed you there.

Keep talking. If it seems you do not understand something, say I understand, read it again and again, take time out and go back to it later but keep telling yourself you understand. If it means to take it to your senior, tutor or counselor do so but at the end you will be the one to laugh longest.

“Others can stop you temporarily, but you are the only one who can do it permanently.” -John C. Maxwell

“The tongue of the wise uses knowledge: but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.” -Proverbs

“The tongue is like a sharp knife; it kills without drawing blood.” -Anonymous

STRATEGY 17: DON’T FEAR OR THINK FEAR

Fear is a conscious and subconscious feeling that something bad is about to happen or something will not work. It is a state of mind where things are not going the planned way rather against them. Fear eats up every good thought, every good seed and destroys any beautiful edifice created in the mind when given the chance to. The greatest enemy to success and progress is fear. Therefore, to attain any level in academic excellence, you must not fear or think fear because when fear comes in confidence leaves, boldness leaves, your faith in your ability is engrossed by fear, then it draws all sorts of negative thoughts especially failure and defeat and when you allow it the result shows up. Like the case of Nafisat earlier considered, most of the students in the class have accepted defeat due to fear that has resulted in their failure oriented results in the presence of Nafisat’s supremacy. Ambrose Redmoon, an American philosopher once said

“Courage is not absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

It is therefore more profitable not to fear or think fear, but to see your success to be more important than the seeming limitations or obstacles, taking courageous step to compete and look forward to your success.

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." -Sir Winston Churchill

“It is the small doubts of timid souls that accomplish their ruin. It is the narrow vision, the fear and trembling hesitation that constitute defeat.” -Alice Foote MacDougall

“I felt nothing, nothing but fear; I could neither eat nor sleep - fear clawed at my mind and body and shook me.” -Anne Frank

STRATEGY 18: DO NOT FEAR FAILURE

Failure is the unsuccessfulness of an act, a state of internal defeat, which may be of words or actions. There are different levels of failure; however failure is failure because in any case it simply means the desired result was not achieved. Failure is a depressant that inhibits anyone from looking ahead most times, but also it is a challenging factor that leads to greater success. It therefore means that failure can lead to positive or negative result. Talking about the positive aspect it had made many successful, while negatively it had led many people to either stop in their search for success or kill a great idea that could have been fruitful due to the assumed lack of patience and persistence. In academic, when you fear failure, you will never see your mistake to correct them but rather will provide constant mediocre result, which could have been better with an initial failure. Do not get me wrong about failure but you must take advantage of failure rather than mourn to death due to it. John Mason said

“Failure and mistake can be a bridge not a barricade to success because it is not how far you fall but how high you bounce back that makes the difference.”

It is also worthy to note that nobody and nothing can keep you down unless you decide not to rise again. Success has made failures of many people because they did not go through the rigour of failure as also failure has made many successes today. According to Mike Murdock,

“Stop looking at where you have been; start looking at where you can be.”

Therefore, never let your yesterday use up too much of your today rather face your today and look ahead. When you fail at doing something, it does not mean you are a failure and do not call yourself such, because it can make you or bury you forever.

Failure doesn't mean you are a failure. It just means you haven't succeeded yet.” -Robert Schuller

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” -Dale Carnegie

“All my successes have been built on my failures.” -Benjamin Disraeli

“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.” -Zig Ziglar

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." -Sir Winston Churchill

STRATEGY 19: DO NOT FEAR DEFEAT

The fear of losing or defeat has made many run away instead to fight for their position or what belongs to them. Every warlord is a man with strategies at war and do not give in to defeat, because when one strategy fails another is created and used. Margaret Thatcher once said:

“You may have to fight the battle more than once to win.”

This is so true because it does not matter the number of times a man falls but how many times he stands. Abraham Lincoln the most celebrated America President suffered defeat several times before he became the president. He was not deterred by defeat but kept modifying his strategies until the day he became the President of America.

Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of any competition in class or challenges in the academic journey or of life due to fear of defeat. The defeat may just be what will shape you for the greatest result, so keep fighting until you win the battle of being in the level of academic excellence you choose to be. Do not give up the quest to conquer your class, study and compete favourably until you reach that set height don’t stop and when you get there set greater target. The more battles you fight the greater your experience and victory.

“Failure can become a weigh or gives you wings” -John Mason

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” -George Edward Woodberry

STRATEGY 20: CHOOSE TO BE THE BEST

This is one problem with students, who are so scared of becoming the best and the associated accolade attached to that position due to fear, shyness, intimidation, inferiority complex and low self esteem. Every human is unique and no one is made a failure rather, all is made of success, but the acknowledgement of this fact has been a thing of questioning where young people keep asking, can I really be the best? Can I beat this or that person? Unless you recognize that no one is born a dullard, but God made you a success from the onset, you will never be success conscious, but when you recognize that you were born a success and choose to live that way, you will never talk failure or be failure conscious. To be the best, you must not only be success minded but also prepare to break any already set record. Usain Bolt, the world fastest man on earth in the early 21st Century did not plan to be the first any time he raced rather to break already set records, which he did and became several records holder. You can do same in your academic pursuit. Choose to be the best and work towards it. Do you want to be the best in your class? Then prepare for a result that no one has ever attained in your class or school. For example, plan for all ‘A’s in all your subjects with 100% as the primary target, prepare very well and see if the result will not testify of your choice of being the best. If you do it once and did not get the result, do not be discourage rather persist, remember it is not how many times you fall that matters but the number of times you get up. You can be what you want to be but choose to be the best and not settle for the less.

“For what is the best choice for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve.” -Unknown

“He does not wish to appear the best, but to be it.” -Aeschylus

“There is more credit and satisfaction in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive.” -B. C. Forbes

STRATEGY 21: AVOID PROCRASTINATION

The reluctance to do something at a particular time and postponing it to a near or far future or to delay something that needed to be done now for later is called procrastination. This is a regressive factor to success because the time you should have worked on something may be finally wasted and any time lost can never be reversed or gotten back. When you spend most of your time deliberating, chatting or procrastinating, important things become late to be done due to a consistent suspension of something that should have done before the future. A student who proposed to read by 5pm found out an interesting movie is been aired on television and preferred to watch to read later. After the movie, the evening chores begin; he becomes tired at the end after eating, then goes to beg at 9.30pm and wakes up 6.30am the next day. The 2hours he had on the previous day’s reading time table is gone and will never come back. Therefore, since no pain no gain, it is necessary to take advantage of every opportunity. In another case, a student whose home tutor was to arrive at 4pm but did not show up at all may decide to play the time instead of investing it in other academic works. You must learn to use your time judiciously and do not procrastination else failure will around you always.

“You will find the key to success under the alarm clock.” -Benjamin Franklin

“He whose ambition creeps instead of soars, who is always uncertain, who procrastinates instead of acts, struggles in vain against failure” -Unknown

“Tomorrow I’ll begin, I told myself day after day. I did not know then that tomorrow is only found in the calendar of fools.” -Unknown

STRATEGY 22: CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION

Concentration and meditation are two processes that help to focus ideas or facts and make them sink into your innermost part of our sense of intelligence. They help you bring together the forces of your conscious and subconscious that will bring about the manifestation of the born or focused idea, thought or fact.

As student, you must learn to meditate and ponder over your set goals, strategies and desired result and also concentrate your resources toward the goal. The resources here are your time, books, energy and any other thing that could be of help to the actualization of the set goal.

Success is not achieved by placing hands akimbo or folding them, work must be done with available resources required for the task. Also, the time needed for the goal should not be shared with other activities; rather 100% commitment should be given to what is needed to be done at any particular time i.e. avoiding distraction such as food, radio, music, e.t.c. at your proposed or declared time for your study.

“The first law of success is concentration, to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left.” -William Matthew

“The formula for success is simple: practice and concentration then more practice and more concentration.” -Babe Didrikson Zaharias

“Success in life is a matter not so much of talent as of concentration and perseverance.”-C. W. Wendte

STRATEGY 23: MAKE SACRIFICE

The difference between the rich and the poor, the brilliant and the dullard is information. Both the rich and the poor may have information but the quality of the information is not the same. The same thing goes for the brilliant and the dullard. You must learn to make sacrifice that will give you edge over your mates. Time is of essence and that is one factor that cannot be compromised for anything. Note that the difference between a success and a failure is the result. To attain a greater level of academic excellence, you must learn to do things a little bit better than any other person in that category. This may be achieved by spending more time than others, make more researches than others, ask more questions than others and/or be more analytical than others. Many teenage students today spend more time with PS games, sports, novels, movies, chatting on social networks, e.t.c. in their spare time and leisure; at the end begin to read a day or two to the start of their examination. Researches have shown that this is the cause of average or below average performance in examinations. For example, a student called Kazeem will return from school between 4.10pm and 4.30pm, then get set for his home lesson tutor to begin lesson by 5pm to end by 6.30pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and afterwards begins evening chores as soon as the mum arrives at 7pm, goes to bed by 9.30pm and wakes up 6am due to tiredness the next day. What time does he have to read, when he spends between 5pm and 7pm in Arabic school every Tuesdays and Thursdays after school? This means that the only possible time he has is in the period of sleeping. Therefore, he needs to sacrifice some time he spends sleeping to read or will remain a struggling student. This is his sacrifice to achieve his set goal – academic excellence.

There are also some people, who do not have home lesson but use the precious time between their school closing hours and 7.30pm prattling, chatting, reading novel or watching film. Are you in this category? Then for you to attain academic excellence, you need to cut the time spend on extracurricular activities. Make that sacrifice today so you do not need to make a greater sacrifice in future. This may be hard initially but know anything you practice consistently long enough will get into your system and becomes part of you.

“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” -Charles Du Bos

“Striving for success without hardwork is life trying to harvest where you have not planted”-David Bly

“You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.” -Andrew Jackson

“Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.” -Charles O. Finley

STRATEGY 24: BE SPIRITUAL

Everything seen or manifested in the physical is controlled by a much stronger controller, which is the spiritual aspect that in turn is controlled by a supreme being or a supernatural force whichever you want to call it. One way to engage this Supreme Being (GOD) to help you is through prayer. As a student, you must learn how to pray to God for help and understanding in your academic. Another process is to have knowledge of spiritual laws and principles applicable to success and prosperity and applying them e.g. the principle of giving and sowing.

The difference between your today and tomorrow is your seed. We sow different types of seeds daily e.g. seed of love, hatred, money, kindness, bitterness, wickedness, greed, lust, honour, e.t.c. consciously and unconsciously to create our future because there is a seed-harvest principle. Your seed is peculiar to you. Harvest is not in where you sow but what you sow that if you sow good you will reap good likewise evil will harvest evil, but not because you sowed into a classmate, therefore your harvest should be from the classmate, rather in due time and season your seed will yield fruit, which could come from anywhere. Whatever you give do not leave your life rather it leaves your hand goes into the future to multiply. To apply this principle, teach someone about a subject, topic or assignment to help him/her understand, you will never forget such information again and the more you do it, the knowledge becomes part of you and you will be above your mates. As you begin to spread the information you know to help other people in need, God will be providing you with superior help, better information and materials, as your seed is being multiplied and you will experiencing supernatural increase in wisdom.

Another important spiritual principle is that of giving. Be a giver in monetary terms by tithing (10% of all your increases), offerings and alms to the poor or the prophet according to your religious principles. However, note that not every ground is fertile for sowing, hence you must qualify the type of soil (life) you sow your seed in, learn to say NO to the wrong soil without feeling guilty. This will help you not to sow your good seed in a bad soil, which will automatically damage your seed or worse bring unwanted evil fruit. I urge you today to sow academically into your classmate and you will never regret it because your knowledge will be widened and increased.

STRATEGY 25: LEARN FROM PEOPLE’S MISTAKE

In the world today, there are three kinds of people. The first learn from their experiences – the wise. The second learn from the experiences of others – these are the happy. The third neither learn from their experiences nor from the experiences of others – these are the fools.

Mistakes are inevitable at any point in time in life but history keeps repeating itself in some areas not because the effects were not great enough for someone else not to do same but because humans have not learnt from it in anyway. Before you, so many people had experienced whatever you are experiencing now, but if only you had avoided the same mistake done by those before you, it would not have happened again.

However, whether you’ve made same mistake does not really matter more than the next step or the effect of the result, that is, what you do when you fail as a result of your mistake, do you stay down or pick up the pieces of you left. In your quest for academic success, you may make several mistakes from not doing the right thing or not putting your best that does not mean you will not get to that pinnacle you seek but it means you need to modify your initial strategy or create a new strategy that will help you do things better.

Finally, if you know someone fail trying to do something does mean you cannot do it and get a different result but you must not use the same method or strategy but try a new method, because if you do it the same way, the result would be the same. So learn from others experience instead to go through similar experience if you wish to get an improved or better result.

“The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one.” -Elbert Hubbard

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down." -Unknown

"Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success." -Napoleon Hill

STRATEGY 26: CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMPANY/FRIENDS

The saying “show me your friend and I will tell who you are”, may not be 100% true, however to a great extent it is true because of the influence the members of a unit have on each other, this cannot not be faulted. It is actually untrue to be in the midst of bright students while you are dull and would not want to strive to get close as bright as the others. This is due to the influence of the bright friends around. Likewise, you cannot be friends to smokers and drunks and will never be tempted or influenced to smoke or drink one day. Therefore, because of peer influence and pressure that may emanate from friends, it is very important in making friends the choice of friends should be those of positive influence not negative or evil. If you make friends who you are better than in academics and they are dullards who are not keen to be better, with time you will deteriorate in your academic because their influence may tell on you in time since they do not take pleasure in academic work rather, want to party, play games and other extracurricular activities that do not add knowledge or better their understanding of what they have been taught. But should you find yourself in the midst of very bright students, who take delight in their academic, their lifestyle would prompt you to work harder as you will find yourself learning from them. Hence, I will counsel you not to make friends with academically unserious students if you do not want to end in the same pit of being a bus conductor, park ticket brute also known locally as ‘Agbaro’. Spend less time if at all you must commune with them because whatever their discussion is will never profit you at all rather spend more time with those you can tap knowledge from. Be wise.

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” -Edmund Burke

Success makes success, like money makes money.” -Sebastian Roch Nicolas Chamfort

STRATEGY 27: GOOD COMMUNICATION

Most students make serious mistakes in both their written and spoken English, because of their communication habit, which now have great effect on their comprehension of study materials. The major cause of this problem is ‘vernacular’ and ‘pigin’. The more vernacular or Pigin English you speak the more influence it has on your comprehension, spoken and written English. A public officer, who was addressing a group of people said “you know what you see here today is not awa hand work, it is what are they calling it o.. em mo ti gbagbe sha.” You will wonder more when you hear some of the speakers interviewed on the lingering strike situation of PHCN staff some time ago. One of them said “it is ok for nepas to strike, because they have a family at home, some live on another peoples house and if landlord come collect money, will they say they never pay us, it is good for them to strike.” An English language teacher was teaching and at a point he said “shee everybody understands.” Many years ago as a serving Corps Member in a public school in one of the villages of the State, which supposedly is a town, a student may return to you if you called saying “uncle it is me you call?” You cannot speak or write well if you spend much time conversing in vernacular or Pigin English. Consistent use of vernacular soils both written and spoken English, which is observed in sentence construction. Therefore, if you want to excel, you must put away languages that do not help improve your communication in a better part of all your conversation and also be more critical with spellings and pronunciation e.g. the confusion between ch/sh as in chair/share, -sion/-tion/–ssion as in vision/motion/mission, e.t.c.

Furthermore, the kind or group of people we commune with also matters. As it is known that evil communication corrupts good manners.When you get involved with those you can’t benefit from to chat on irrelevant things and carry out activities that do not propel your academic aspiration, with time you behave and act like them in or out of their presence because of the influence. In order for you to pursue the right purpose for your academic, choose to communicate with those that will promote your aspiration not those that will help kill it.

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”

-Anthony Robbins

STRATEGY 28: BE FLEXIBLE

In life nothing can be said to be permanent, even as the earth is in constant motion, thus you must adapt to any new environment, word or stage in life because everything is changing either for good or worse. Therefore, you should be flexible by avoiding stereotyped attitude that do not welcome the good of others or makes you impervious to others ideas. So many have been imbued with the wrong ideology or poorly interpreted ideas and they become unreceptive to other or better interpretations unless you can prove beyond any reasonable doubt with the consultation of research materials will hold onto their stands and avoid to sink any information. This mindset has brought about serious argument between students and their tutors as any slight change in the way they were taught, confusion sets in. In most cases, the teacher might have only resolved to do something differently from the general way but just another method, instead of impregnating yourself with the new ideology you are arguing with the tutor, learning may become difficult for you in such a class. However, when a tutor makes mistake correct him or her immediately but care should be taken not to go into the bad book of the tutor, especially in the higher education setups i.e. the university, colleges, e.t.c. so as not to suffer unjustifiable punishment. Therefore learn to adapt to new ideas.

“The strategic challenge for the transnational corporation is the simultaneous achievement of efficiency, flexible responsiveness, and worldwide learning and innovation.” -Christopher A. Bartlett

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

-Carl Gustav Jung


STUDENTS’ ACTIVITY SERIES 1

  1. State your goal(s)

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  1. State 4 ways to achieve the goals.

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© Copyright 2018 Joseph Agbebire. All rights reserved.

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