Famous writer Napoleon Hill wrote in his manifesto The Power of Positive Thinking, “Think Big! What the mind can conceive. You can achieve. Only if you believe, but it starts with the mind.” So much of what we accomplish in our day-to-day lives begins with the mind. Our outlook on life is so powerful that a belief can translate to victory or defeat. So, you may be thinking, “All I have to do is believe I will make an ‘A’ on my next exam and it will happen?” Brace yourself for this one. The answer to that question is… YES! I have captured five rules below to help you to increase your optimism and relieve stress the next time you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place in college.
Rule 1: Preparation
Living by the 5 P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance) is the first rule. Most of us do not believe we will succeed because we know we have not adequately prepared. Preparation yields confidence. Confidence is the most important step in positive thinking. Confident people worry less and navigate with ease through high-stress situations. Most of us feel as though this trait is possed by special people, but the truth is confidence comes from the act of preparation. Let’s use Michael Jordan as an illustration. Jordan knew that with confidence he would make the game winning shot at the close of game six in the 1998 NBA championship against the Utah Jazz, because he spent countless hours practicing. Most, if not all successful people, will tell you that being prepared when the opportunity presented itself separates the dreamers from the achievers.
Rule 2: Create a Schedule
Rome was not built in a day, but I am more than sure they had a plan. Wandering through college without a plan is a definite plan to fail. A schedule is a way to keep your plan(s) on target. There are 24 hrs in a day, 7 days in a week, 4 weeks in a month, and 12 months in a year. The aforementioned stats are a constant. Meaning they are something we all have and they are the same for everyone in the world. In sum, rule one discussed how those who are well-prepared achieve success. By extension, confident people are comfortable because they know where they are going, when they are supposed to get there, and what options are available. I am not saying your day has to be planned down to the second, but you need to mark off time weekly for classes, studying, exercise, work, extracurricular activities, and even partying. Having a schedule will give you balance which will lead to a clear thoughts and serenity.
Rule 3: Flexibility
Ping Fu once wrote, “Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance.” Sometimes good or bad things just happen to you in college and subsequent life(for that matter). We cannot be so stern that there is no bend to our lives. When it is time for us to bend we must not break. Preparing and scheduling is important for the fact of flexibility. Properly executing rule one and two position us into a place where panic does not throw off or change the course of action in our lives.
Rule 4: Affirmations
Wake up every morning and tell yourself who you are and what you are going to accomplish. Write out a list and speak that list passionately in a mirror as you look at yourself. This may seem weird if you have never done this before, but it helps to condition the mind. The things you feel are your weaknesses tell yourself they are your strengths. Remember you are putting in the preparation to become better so why continue to reinforce negative thoughts. Do not be counterproductive. Saying daily affirmations will help reinforce your actions making and visualize the end goal.
Rule 5: Journal
Keeping a journal is the easiest way to document and record your college life’s timeline. Journaling will help to capture failures and successes. It is important to see where you may have gone wrong and what you are doing right. Writing in a journal will help to: learn more about yourself, become more prepared, determine what schedule works for you, determine where you can be more flexible, and hone in on affirmations that will help you internalize the progress that you have made.