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Study Less, Learn More (Part3)

Previous Part 2

23:58...   23:59...   00:00
Four Humpty Dumpties sounding a peep on the digital clock on a Sunday midnight herald the arrival of Monday: tame and tedious! Dismal and dreary! This stereotyped image of the start of a week falls heavy on our timid hearts.

I wonder where along the long history of evolution of learnt responses did man begin to perceive Monday as mundane, routine as ruthless, lectures as laborious and study as strained?

Isn't there a tiny bit of possibility that all these stereotypes are mere speculations and distorted surmises that have been transferred subconsciously during emotional conversations or unsuppressed expressions of tiresomeness over the generations and received tamely without a whiff of skepticism ; without a spark of an impulse to rebel against them? Is there an iota of a feasibility that someday a innovative mind would stand up and claim to everyone’s surprise that Mondays are actually marvelous, routine revered, lectures lovable and study sublime ? The hopeless followers, who used to swallow even the craziest ideas without as much as a burp, would lament and repent at the energy wasted and enjoyment missed in considering these things as otherwise. Perhaps then some of them would take oath like Alhazen :

Never again will the Scholar blindly accept assertions made by the Ancients, however revered; he vows to test and question everything. I will make myself the enemy of all I have read, attack the old ideas from every angle and dismantle all that do not pass my tests until only the truth remains-

And heres a series of truths that dawned upon me as I analyzed Lulu's study style further.

In the aftermath of fun and frenzy of extracurricular and functions, the pool of syllabus overflows already and class-tests strewn months sprouts little saplings of concern in the hearts of even the most persistent procrastinators. Such are the times when I find myself taking solemn oaths, almost everyday, that I'll begin studying at least 2 days before the test. My plans go along these lines 'I'll do the maximum topics today' or 'I'll study like crazy today' or 'I'm not going to waste a moment today’. I go home, pick up the book, and start reading...after one or so topics, either the subtlety  or sometimes even the simplicity of the text becomes a strong repellent and thinking something along the lines

" Nothing is lighter than being young with the world on your shoulders; it gives you a feeling of possibility so seductive; you know there must be something more important you could be doing than studying for exams...”

I blame my will-power and laziness and push aside the book and ...the lucid familiarity on your face tells me I need not explain more. : p

One day I happened to come across Lulu's register. To my surprise, I found a number of timetables hastily but minutely planned; not for a preparation day before exams(as the general crowd does) but for study plan on a regular Sunday when time,I fancy, is not a limiting factor for studying. She had specifically written the names of topics and the books she wanted (as per instructions from seniors) to study the subject from. She had gone on to allot approximate time required to study each topic too!

Now I, in all my imprudence , never thought of time tables as anything more than a procrastinator's daydream! I mean when you're determined to study, you glide through one topic, then next...until you run out of energy or worse, time!

Who follows a timetable without the nudging stimulus of urgency? But as I analyzed the reasons for Lulu being such a diehard planner, a surprising fact dawned upon me. Unlike the popular myth, it is neither a weak will power nor an inherent procrastination habit that repels students from studies. These are actually symptoms of a deeper disease namely Ambiguous Goals!

Visualizing Crystal Clear Goals

Bernard Shawz in his book “Good Students, Good Children “shares, out of his long experience, one of the reason why children don’t follow the instructions given by their parents/teachers. A 7 year old boy,Harry, when caught cheating ,was threatened by his teacher “ Don’t let me catch you doing that again!”. A week  later Harry was found cheating again. The teacher again forbade him but to no avail.

Was Harry inherently a disobedient child?


He followed the order word to word. He was never told to “stop cheating”, rather he was told “not to be caught doing cheating” So he did exactly that. The fault lay not with his obedience but with the ambiguous statement.

 Our mind is just like a child. If we don't tell it specifically and assertively what is it that we expect it to achieve, it will continue its old habits, repeatedly disgracing and disappointing us.

Why don’t we tell our minds effectively what we want?

Because we don’t know ourselves!

How many of us can imagine vividly the kind of doctor (or any other professional person) we’d like to be? The field of specialty, the country for post graduate training, the degrees ,the diplomas ,the traits we’d like to see in our persona as a doctor : dexterity, courtesy, confidence, empathy, forthrightness , thoroughness ? What kind of financial status would we like to have?

How many of us have planned that precisely? Very few! Most of us are just like straw-mass flowing along the currents of water.

The most common objection would be: We don’t have enough data, knowledge, exposure etc to make an intelligent decision.

When a doctor tries to make diagnoses, he has some suspected diseases in mind that he further investigates about. Similarly  Undergraduates have to have some suitable options in mind that  data, knowledge and exposure would help strengthen or weaken and help them arrive at the most suitable option .One can’t expect to catch a moment of epiphany with a blank mind.
So you have to have a strong, vivid 3D model of the type of person you’d want to be say 10 years from now. Once you know what is it that you’re aiming at, you can make strong, assertive and confident instructions  to give to your mind that ,you’ll discover to your surprise, it will follow without any skulduggery .Your confidence in what your telling it to do would leave no space for any escaping loopholes or excuses.

Its not that some people have will-power and others don't.Its just that some want to do a task and others don't !

Similarly you can visualize your short terms goals as well.

Minute Task Planning

Once you’re done with the major task of deciding what you want to do, you can conveniently plan out the steps that need to be taken to achieve it. Divide the task into swallow able chunks .Completion of each chunk of task will charge you with motivation strong enough to sail you through the next chunk. It becomes a self sustaining reaction where you merely glide from one piece of work to another with the help of catalyst of motivation. Activation energy, the limiting and the major component,is provided by your strong vivid goal.I’ve deliberately been concise about how to actually visualize and plan.No one can explain it better than Fayez Hassan Seyal. You can listen to his energizing lecture  here.
(For a charged motivation,go through all ten of them)

While I aim with such ambiguous and unachievable self-talk as "I'll do the maximum number of topics possible!" ,wise Lulu is content with her simple achievable tasks(e.g,She'd plan 2 topics/1 hour).While I idealistically crave to soar high at once,she is busy setting her feet firmly on ground .She chooses a mild slope,I a steep one.She keeps getting motivated with each step she takes while I fatigue myself  with the arduous task of "getting started".By the time her motivation precipitates into solid success,I recklessly decide to give-up and slip into an escapist's oblivion!

We need to learn that our mind is like a child.It follows happily on coaxing and and rebels if forced.So be a lenient master to your mind.Feed it on clear-cut instructions and simple tasks.Motivate it with chocolates and toffees on minor achievements.Follow the timeless wisdom of Buddha  

"We ourselves deserve our own love and affection more than anyone "

Your mind will giggle like a child on this appreciation.Elated and keen,it will ask for a heavier burden ; give it just that and just see,just see how it leaves you dumbfounded with its terrific performance!

Remember :
Some people will roll in the mud like a hippopotamus...

And some will soar high like an eagle

All because of one simple thing : Vivid Crystal Clear Goals !

Happy Visualizing!
Happy Planning !
Happy Soaring !  


  1. looking forward to part 4 now!

  2. For anonymous # 1...Thanks
    For #2...Keep your hopes high,anytime now !
    For whoever clicked on FUNNY .... =))) !

  3. why is part 4 so late?

  4. may or may not be because I've gotten in a row with Lulu...can't steal her secrets anymore...gotta find a new brilliant mind ! :p

  5. k. until then then give us the contact of Lulu!


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