Recently I was invited to speak to an audience of University students on Going Above and Beyond. In the course of preparing for the talk, I had to go back to basics. Sometimes, the most profound things in life are the simple things. So, I shared my experience of being the first kid in my high school (a public school) to achieve 9 straight A’s (distinctions).
High School was particularly challenging especially towards my final year – for some of the subjects, there were no teachers. The school either improvised by asking another teacher to take those classes or we were practically left to figure out how to master the subjects. Majoring in Sciences didn’t make this any easier. Prior to the time I wrote the final exams, no one had graduated with all A’s from the school and I was determined to be the first.
Here I will share with you what I did to achieve that and what I have continuously replicated in several areas of life – just 4 tips! There are definitely many more things you can do, but I want to keep it simple and concise.
1. Has Someone Done This Before?
This in my opinion is one the most important steps to achieving any worthwhile goal in life. “Has someone ever done this before?” Never embark on any worthwhile venture without first answering this question. Don’t put a Dollar, Naira or any amount of time or resource on any project without getting an answer to this question. Why? It will save you mistakes, time, heartaches, money and effort. Your journey will be shorter and perhaps smoother. You will avoid the pitfalls that others before you fell into. If someone has done it, why not replicate their formula? Why not ask them to mentor you? You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. In my case however, I was presented with a challenge: nobody in the school’s almost 20 years history had made such result. But there were schools around where over the years it was a norm. So instead of enrolling in my school’s extra-lessons after school, I went to the place where they had a track-record of success. I wanted to tap the DNA and mindset of those guys! If you look long and hard enough, you will find a clue. This led me to the second step in my formula for success.
2. I Can Do ALL Things.
Next, I told myself, “even if nobody has done it before, I will be the first to do it. I will be a trailblazer, a pioneer, a ground-breaker, a pathfinder. Phil. 4:13 became a daily source of positive confession for me “I can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who strengthens me”. I told myself it was possible. If students in other schools could do it, I too, though from a disadvantaged position, can also do it. All through my life, I am bold to say I have quietly, but steadily faced seemingly tough situations and came out victorious with this verse from the Bible. You too can. I would always fill my mind with positive images, songs and mental pictures of those precious words “I can do all things“. Eventually it became a reality. I will recommend the book “Nothing is Impossible“. Here is an audio version here.
3. Massive Doses of Action
In life, there is nothing like something for nothing. I read my books as if everything depended on my ability to study. I found out everything I needed to know about every subject. For those subjects that seemed a bit challenging, I devoted twice or three times more time to study and review every material I could lay my hands upon. Instead of running away from those tough subjects, I faced them headlong. I learnt a valuable lesson: if you commit time and effort to understand a particular subject, over time, you will become an expert in that field. Listen to Brian Tracy “If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.” Learn to be an action-taker. If you are thinking about taking a course to improve your skills or become more competitive in the marketplace, sign up for that program today. Don’t procrastinate.
4. See It And Seize It
Visualization is a very powerful technique used by a lot of successful people. If you also want to achieve outstanding success, you must learn to use it. At first, I didn’t know much about it, but just kind of stumbled upon it. While preparing for my final exams way back then, I used to fantasize about making straight A’s. I would see myself in my mind’s eye, going to check my result on the board and would see that all subjects were A’s. I imagined myself screaming for joy, celebrating with friends, hugging my parents. I could see the Head of School calling my name on the assembly ground and announcing to the school that I had made an exceptional result in the exams. The emotions I felt those moments were so powerful, it felt as if I had already achieved it. This propelled me and drove me towards making it a reality. After learning more about the power of visualization, I have used it countless times to achieve my desired goals. Try it. It works.
So no matter what you are looking to achieve, I encourage you to take these four steps, and I guarantee you will succeed. Are there other strategies you have tried which worked? Let me know your thoughts.