It was late, and I was trying to learn all that I could before my exam. Reviewing notes, re-reading passages, going back over the information, and still none of it seemed to stick. I was getting anxious. How could I possibly remember all of this? How could I possibly reach my future goals?
I wanted out of my situation so bad, to boost my GPA, to go on to the school of my choice and start the chapter in my life that should have started two years prior. All the thoughts flooded in, but they were distracting. I couldn’t focus.
Or could I?
Suddenly there was nothing except these thoughts: what if I took all the emotion out from the situation and simply focused on learning? What if I silenced that voice in my head that popped up with every word I tried to read in the books? What if I just did what I needed to?
That moment changed it all.
Long story short, I not only aced that Psychology exam, I also boosted my GPA from a 1.8 to a 4.0 that semester. Shortly thereafter I went on to the school I really wanted to be in where I graduated with Honors and achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.8. I even interned with a major news organization that turned into a paid gig, which propelled my career to where it is today.
Here’s how I did it: I was trying to remember, trying to focus, trying, trying, trying, and thinking so hard about everything. After the frustration subsided, I stop trying and I stopped thinking. Instead, I silenced the thoughts and just did the work. No more thinking, only doing. Yes, just like Yoda said, “No, try not. Do, or do not.”
It sounds simple because it is simple.
Right now, you have a voice in your head saying many things. Some people have multiple voices and conversations going on that they are not even aware of. Just listen to it/them for a moment…one is criticizing this post, the other is questioning validity, one voice will tell you that you don’t have a voice in your head while the other is asking you if you remembered to turn the stove off or to set your alarm for the morning, while one is reminding you to check your facebook likes.
All of this chatter is distracting and keeping you from working with your greatest learning potential. Silencing the mind is the biggest part of controlling it.
You must learn to control it!
The mind is a tool and can be an immensely powerful one when you learn how yours works. Don’t deny your inner voice – we all have one -, but don’t let it get the best of you either.
The brain is made up of a series of electrical signals, which is all thoughts really are. Sending these signals where we need them is key to directing our energy where we need it most. When it comes to learning, the less energy wasted on unnecessary chatter opens us up to greater information retention.
Quiet your mind and you will open yourself up to your ultimate learning potential.
By Nicholas Lucin