How familiar are you with that voice in your head? You talk to it every day. We all
do, every day, soundlessly, in our own minds. We carry on conversations with ourselves, quest ion, and criticize various things. Looking around, I see that many of us unsatisfied with life still don’t understand the power behind this voice; some of us have even lost awareness of it, completely forgetting our influence over it. My intuition tells me that being a successful student has more to do with self-awareness than anything else. It could be why that age old question is still asked today: Who am I?
Playing the role of a successful student, we’re always relating to things around us; so, it’s easy to be constantly thinking. Continuous words, signs, calculations, worries, frustrations, and symbols. Impulsive and persistent; it goes on, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’ll stop.
The constant contemplating and arguing within ourselves; looking to the future and feeling anxiety; or remembering the past, suffering with guilt.
The sudden criticizing; all too familiar, “I should have done that” or “I should have said this”.
These thoughts flow from one to the other, with little awareness of their affects.
Our thoughts determine what we do, who we’re with, how we feel, where we go, and how fast we get there. Like when the first time a pencil point touches the surface of a fresh sheet of paper, thoughts are the beginning points to all things.
They influence our mood, our opinions of ourselves (our self-image), our perception of the environment, and ultimately, our ability to function as a human being… healthy or otherwise.
It surprises so many to understand that thoughts have such a huge impact on so many different aspects of life. It’s kind of like a seed being the start to an apple tree which gives fruit; similarly, a thought is a start to the contribution of our psychological self, and ultimately, our fate.
Just like the nature of a seed, developing in time, our thoughts eventually establish our beliefs. Our beliefs determine our actions. Our actions turn into habits, and habits make our behavior. Behavior continues to form our character; and our character molds our destiny.
Everything advances from our own mind; we’re completely responsible for ourselves, and we’re perfectly able… as long as we know it.
Starting from the root, we each have the ability to transform our life, and lead it to whatever ends we desire.
By being a successful student – asking the right questions, looking in the right places, and doing our own rational thinking – we feed our minds to create direction for ourselves.
Study the Right Stuff
Coming from the perspective of a previous computer programmer, in lots of ways, our minds are like computers; they calculate, compute, and work with the information stored within it.
The information stored directly impacts the rules and limitations the computer system operates within. It determines which tasks it can execute, the ways it will execute, and how fast it will execute.
I’m sometimes curious: What would happen, if the computer became self-aware, and questioned the information it had stored?
Maybe a scene from The Terminator; but that’s probably the common thought – something I’ll always think twice about.
Even as self-aware beings though, we’re not exactly encouraged to question our thoughts and beliefs; most social institutions even take steps to prevent that from happening.
Consequently, we’re filled with unanswered questions; and with the added pressures, we feel like we’re running out of time.
In need of answers and a conclusion, we reach to trustworthy non-experts of our lives, for expert information.
Then, when we don’t get the outcome we’re looking for, we blame the information, the information giver, or some other excuse all together.
It’s just in our nature.
With the warmest intentions, we always want to be told what’s right for us; but the reality is, no one else is experiencing life through our shoes.
So in actuality, there’s no better person to make your life decisions than you.
Think how many unknown Beethovens we have existing, miserably, as doctors; all because they’re idea of success was shaped differently.
Picassos as lawyers. Shakespeares as business people.
Could there be a Nikola Tesla among us, working a dead end job, concerned more about his loans than curiosity for the universe?
To be a successful student, I think we need to take all relative information, absorb what’s useful, reject what’s useless, and then we can do our own rational thinking.
Most of the time we think what’s comfortable is what’s safe; but that’s not always the case.
Make an Effort to Understand
We’re really creatures of habit; even when it comes to thinking.
It’s said that we have an average of 60,000 thoughts per day; and from observing myself, I see that we’re mostly thinking in patterns we’ve gotten used to.
This means for most of us, our day is spent criticizing things, events, and most troubling, ourselves and other people; very few of us are actually living and experiencing the present moment.
While at work, we think of our problems and responsibilities at home; while at home, we think about how behind we are with our studies; and while studying, we’re worrying about our financial situation and work.
We spend time thinking and planning things we think we need, only to think some more when the time comes to execute or enjoy; and when we’re not doing that, we’re looking for an escape.
This twists our outlook of time, and puts us in a state where we’re consistently waiting for the glorious moment when we finally reach the point where we believe we made it.
It keeps things interesting – with the mind we have the power to focus, but unaware and uninformed, we can also distract ourselves to a point of absence.
We really have a way of taking ourselves for a ride; but knowing we’re vulnerable this way is knowing we’re human.
I think for a full experience, every once in a while, we should really reflect on what our mind has for us. Not necessarily for self-improvement purposes, or to change anything; just from time to time, to play the role of witness.
I think this is the beginning to self-awareness; and if you ask me, it’s the key to being a successful student.
The power to think imaginatively is said to be the greatest power we hold as human beings. From countless intellectual scholars to wise prophets; well known teachers, successful entrepreneurs, and effective leaders, they all agree: the power to think is man’s greatest gift.
The mind isn’t supposed to be the leader, but it definitely is a tool/instrument to be played. Tuned and adjusted correctly, I’ve seen it achieve the most beautiful harmonies.
Sometimes, all it takes is just allowing ourselves to see a different way.
I have a hunch, that by taking a turn inside, and playing the role of observer, we can build a sense of separation from our thoughts. As a successful student, we can use this “distance” to become more self-aware.
This way, we can inspect our own thoughts as something separate from us, and something we are able to get to know.
A Successful Student Knows They Don’t Know – Even if They Knew Before
Truth is – we’re really a lot more amazing than we think we are – except when we think we are.
Our mind operates on more levels than we’re consciously aware of; there’s many different “layers” at work, putting together the world we understand.
A successful student recognizes that various influences shape and shift how he (or she) sees the world. He knows what we learn and recognize as “normal” is really just patterns of thoughts our mind has downloaded from our environment. They’re stories we’ve learned to tell ourselves.
While it’s true that our thought patterns are deeply embedded in our minds, they can, and still do, change. This happens in just the same ways – through life experiences, social influences, and education.
As long as we stay consciously aware of the story we’re accepting, we can direct our attention (and intentions) towards the healthiest possible perspective.
Our minds can only occupy what we’ve allowed in there. Whatever we choose to entertain ourselves with (including pictures, books, shows, movies, music, games, conversations, etc.) is what’s going to be readily flowing.
To truly be a successful student, I believe we have to keep a fresh outlook; to keep an empty cup.
Self Awareness is Effectiveness
In chess, a player can only be as good as his knowledge of the movements of each piece; the better the player understands how each piece attacks and defends, the better a player can execute.
If anyone has played Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, or any other similar game – chances are, you were only good with the characters you knew the most effective moves with.
Button mashers didn’t stand a chance when you had your favorite moves down.
So in the same way, our lives will be way more effective and fulfilled if we take the time to understand ourselves better.
In my short twenty something years of life, I’ve noticed that the most successful people are successful students of themselves; they all have a strong sense of self-awareness. They find and focus on their strengths, while accepting and still working on their weaknesses.
Being aware of their own fears, anxieties, and guilt, they move past them by understand their surroundings mostly sell them on limits.
By acknowledging their abilities, they follow their inner compass, pushing through the feelings of being lost, confused, and misunderstood.
They break the patterns most have accepted and conformed to: not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not pretty enough, not successful enough.
From my own experiences, I’ve recognized that these harmful thoughts play a special tune to our perspective. They develop into a one sided view on life, slowly causing us to surrender to a worldview of chaos and distress.
Consequently, we start to see only the bad in ourselves and others.
If you need a reminder, take it from me, another human’s perspective: every individual has inside them both good stuff and bad stuff.
Recognizing this in ourselves, we can gear our focus, towards exercising the good, becoming self-sufficient, and creating the changes we actually want.
You don’t need any particular person to show you the way – not even me. As long as we ask the right questions, pursue truth, and stay quiet enough, the answers will find our mind and touch our hearts.
In conclusion to this long post – like a brush that covers a canvas with paint, the mind shapes our realities by perception. Our thoughts are the roots to the beliefs which govern how we see the world, and the life we create for ourselves.
To be a successful student, we have to be responsible for our own selves; at the same time, we have to be accepting of continual changes that will always take place.
It’s nice to think intellectually about life and the world, but it’s critical to explore where you really are today, now.
The more we understand about ourselves, the better we can understand and appreciate others. We, alone, add value to ourselves; and by doing this, we become more valuable to others.
Now, we’re linked more than ever before; we have the power to create the type of influences to stop some of the challenges we face in society today.
We are the ones who can create a better environment for ourselves, and generations to come.
An extraordinary life is right under our nose – and if we’re always breathing from our mouths, we’ll never really smell it.
Question: What would you think about, if you didn’t have to think about anything?
Thanks for reading!
If someone came to mind while you were going through this post, it might be because you know they’ll enjoy and benefit. So please, don’t hesitate to share! You might be the only one who cares to. 🙂