Tag Archives: success

One of the great conundrums of human history has surely been how to motivate teens to do what society wants them to do rather than what they themselves want to do. Your average high schooler may happily spend marathon sessions practicing sports, playing games, or just scrolling through social media but still balk at ten minutes of homework or chores. Unsurprisingly, researchers have been delving the depths of student motivation for decades, exploring a variety of angles across age groups and cultures. Some of the findings aren’t that surprising either, though others seem rather unexpected. An overview of the current research encompassing over 144 studies and more than 79,000 students has been published as Pathways to Student Motivation: A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents of Autonomous and Controlled Motivations, and the key takeaways of this meta-analysis are powerful: Students’ self-determined motivation (acting out of interest, curiosity, and abiding values) is associated with…

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While summer will always be my favorite season, this time of year presents particular challenges for educators. Every student and family carries particular learning or prep goals into the summer, but– far too often–other plans and priorities push academics to the end of the year. We always see a flood of students seeking to compress months of prep into the final two weeks of August, usually right up to the August SAT. But can months of prep and practice really be condensed into a shorter time frame? Not really. Yes, students with sufficient motivation and time can accomplish a ton in a short period. Yes, students can work with their coaches to interleave instruction, practice testing, and review into a productive daily rather than weekly sequence. Yes, prepping at the last minute is better than not prepping at all. But no–you can not expect to improve at the pace of…

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Success in the face of great challenges and competition does not come easy. No less an authority than Napoleon Hill asserts that effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit. The theme of persistence as an essential ingredient of true accomplishment is central to his famous works, particularly Think and Grow Rich, one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. What happens, in Hill’s perspective, when persistence is lacking? One thing we all know, if one does not possess persistence, one does not achieve noteworthy success in any calling. When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal. The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail. Persistence played such a fundamental…

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Where does success come from? To paraphrase Will Durant paraphrasing Aristotle, we are what we repeatedly do. Success, then is not an act but a habit. Too many imagine the accomplishment of their most ambitious goals as a deviation from their normal routines, when such achievement is actually the culmination of what a person does day after day. Do you want to be successful? The surest way to improve the quality of your life and work is to emulate the example of other successful people: Read a lot Practice deliberately Work every day Minimize distractions Take care of your mind and body Obviously, successful types also follow more specialized strategies based on their fields; Olympic athletes train differently than, say, world leaders. But regardless of the scope of your ambitions, you will go much farther by heeding Michael E. Angier’s advice: If you develop the habits of success, you will…

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No matter what else is happening in the world, the Olympics have always commanded attention. If you ever doubt the burning will to exceed all limits inherent in all of us, just look at the dedication these indomitable athletes exemplify. No spectacle captures the world’s imagination on such a grand scale. But we’re not tuning in to catch up on air rifle or luge or any of the other hundreds of sometimes obscure events (race walking… really?) we somehow ignore every other week of the year. No, we thrill to the competition, the effort, and the unquenchable commitment to win. Everyone on the path to their best test scores and grades can learn what being the best really requires from those who have paid the costs and reaped the rewards–including Gold Medals and enshrinement on boxes of Wheaties–of enduring excellence… “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams…

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One of the most influential voices on the power of persistence has been that of Napoleon Hill. The author of classics like Think and Grow Rich delivered quotable quote after quote on what he saw as the root cause of all success: Willpower and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair. Failure cannot cope with persistence. Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel. Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it. Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting. Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. But Hill didn’t expect that everyone was born with or naturally developed equal measures of persistence. Instead, he framed persistence is a state of mind that could be cultivated. The first step involves understanding the essential elements of persistence: 1. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE Knowing what…

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