Third time lucky?

This letter writer is sitting the university entrance exam for the third time. 

Can our elder help her find the motivation to sit down and study this time?


Dear EWC

Hi, I have a big problem. No matter how many times my family members and friends tell me to study, I can’t bear to sit and study for even 10 minutes. Although I have to do a very competitive exam in five months, I’m not happy because of these exams. Do you know? This is my third attempt for this exam. But I have no motivation to study. This exam is my university entrance exam. Actually, what do I do? Can you help me with this problem?


Grandpa-Matt replies

Trouble concentrating can be caused by something as simple as stress or lack of sleep, and it can also be a symptom of depression or anxiety. I am not a physician or therapist, so if this problem is limited to academic work, it might be a question of motivation that we can address. 

However, if this is an issue of focusing or concentration in all areas of your life, then a professional consultation would be advisable to see if a more profound problem like an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might be involved.

If it is a simple case of your being academically unmotivated, let’s look at why you stop, put off, delay, abandon, and/or avoid applying yourself to goals you have assigned yourself. When we look deeply at our fears, the fear of failure or rejection usually grabs our attention. This comes from the false evaluation that you are not enough: not good enough, not capable enough, not bright enough, and so forth.

Many people procrastinate because of this deep-set fear of failure. Rather than fail, a person will put off going through with the job, so they won’t have to admit a failure. Accepting defeat in a task gives a person evidence that confirms the judgment that they are not good enough.

Motivation is a minute-by-minute decision, just like walking. You constantly choose to take one foot and move it in front of the other, and the next step and the next, and so forth. The minute you decide not to take that next step, you are at a standstill and will stay in that position forever until you choose to move forward. When you were a small child learning to walk, you fell many times, but those failures didn’t stop you. You were a brave child! You are now a valuable, worthy, courageous person, capable of putting aside fears and moving forward.

I want to acknowledge your wisdom in recognizing a pattern that doesn’t support you and your desire for a better future. That is a manly choice, showing you as thoughtful and determined to improve. You are in charge of your thoughts, and in each second, you are in control of what you think. 

Motivation is another word for choice. Be clear that you are choosing to stop working the moment you stop. This is your responsibility. Take charge and keep choosing to move ahead. So far, you are choosing the path of failure. It may prove that you are right in thinking that it is hopeless for you to create a long-term series of successful actions. 

Only you know the answers. We are just looking at the possibilities. If, for example, your favorite person’s life depended on you completing a group of tasks, would you do them quickly and to the best of your ability? Or if you received $5 million to complete tasks, would you put immediate effort into working to get the money? I think you would get right on the job. Or if $5 million wasn’t enough, how about $10 million? I believe everybody has a price. It is all down to a question of motivation. 

Some advice for you. Don’t reach for the moon. Start with tiny steps. Small successful efforts consistently produce the most significant results over time. Break down the task into many small steps and take action. Then go on to the next step. It is like eating a pie. Don’t put the whole slab of food in your mouth at once. Cutting it into small bites can allow you to finish the entire thing. I hope this makes sense to you and will enable you to risk going for the best. 

Study for five minutes and reward yourself by taking a five-minute break, and repeat the process over and over so that your total study time can add up over time to give you a chance for success. It will take discipline, but you can do it. 

I hope this advice is helpful. Please write back and let me know how you are doing. 

Article #: 496283
Category: Self-Improvement

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