The successful often dislike doing the same things that the unsuccessful do, they just do them anyway.
We see the results of this mentality over time in education a lot. Some students struggle to pass their classes. Most students coast along, doing average work. Some excel and need more mental stimulation than what school provides them.
The struggling students need to learn the missed fundamentals so they can begin to catch up on their studies. Average students need to identify what their goals are and develop the work ethic and curiosity to make them happen. And star students need to research and focus on the primary objective of learning, so as to shoot for the right targets in life.
Three vastly different types of students attend our schools together, with three different types of challenges in life. What they all have in common is that every day they each face boring tasks that are needed for an exciting career as a student.
The successful students are the ones who consistently do what they should, even if they don’t feel like it.
It’s easy to get excited by the large visions of what we want our careers, academic and professional, to be. Almost every student has spent time thinking about how great graduation will feel, just as their parents have envisioned how great it will feel to get a promotion or career advancement.
But too many of us will never achieve them because we neglected to set the little habits and skill sets early on in life to make those dreams a reality. We focus on what excites us rather than what bores us, and so our careers, whether as a student or professional, suffer as a whole. And those who do achieve often do so without as much success as they could have had, and with much more effort than needed.
For example, in school we’re required to take and pass several types of classes. Some of them are bound to be boring to us, depending on who we are and what we like.
If you prefer the arts, you might be less interested in sciences. Likewise, if technology is your favorite subject, you might not enjoy music so much. However, it’s important to put in the work to succeed in each subject, whether or not you’ll enter a career in it, because it helps improve the other aspects of life.
Another example applies to full-time workers. Usually, in most jobs, there’s several opportunities to advance one’s career. It could involve attending training sessions, putting in a few more hours or searching for a better job altogether.
If you’re a business owner, the opportunities are even more diverse, ranging from advertising and promotion to networking and giveaways. Either way, if we don’t put as much focus and effort into the boring aspects, we won’t achieve as much in the same time period as someone who does.
We may not always choose the boring but necessary things over the exciting yet unnecessary ones, but luckily, the future of our careers as students or workers isn’t based on any one decision. So long as we apply self-discipline most of the time, we can succeed.
Ernest Fannings is director of Top Math Tutoring.