Academic excellence. Seven proven things that affect it
what affects your academic excellence
What is stopping you from achieving academic excellence

This article explores some of the factors that inhibit you from achieving academic excellence such as lack of attitude, belief, vision, motivation, action and persistence.

One writer said, “When you stop learning, you are old, whether at twenty or eighty”.

Indeed, the main objective of every learner is to study for the purpose of learning and understanding. Academic excellence is only achieved when learning is taken as a continuous process. Other objectives such as passing examinations and attaining higher grades automatically fall into place if the learner understands the essence of what he studies.

  1. Lack of proper Attitude inhibits academic excellence

You cannot achieve academic excellence if your attitude towards the course is skewed. Positive attitude towards the course in its entirety will be a key ingredient for success. Excellence in the course or unit will be measured by performance in each individual sub unit (or subject).

It is therefore very important for one to dedicate enough time and commitment to every subject so as to maintain a balance that will make the learner achieve optimum results.

It is not uncommon to find students preferring some subjects over others because these subjects are considered by those students as difficult or simple, irrelevant or simply less significant.

A student aspiring to be an accountant, for instance, may not see the need for attending law classes, a student studying medicine may doubt the wisdom of whoever included principles of management as a subject in the syllabus. These are wrong perceptions.

These learners fail or refuse to find a connection between these other subjects in the module to those they consider important. The main reason for this is mainly due to their focus only on exams rather than have a wholesome understanding of the profession they choose to study.

When a learner develops a negative attitude towards certain subjects, performance in those subjects receives a real beating. The prospect of studying the subject becomes painful to imagine. Generally, a learner with the right attitude will inevitably achieve academic excellence in form of best results.

The learner will not entirely depend on the teacher’s positive attention or ideal learning infrastructure to get the maximum out of the learning environment. The right attitude will enable the learner develop a sense of self persuasion and drive to learn and achieve.

The positive attitude sharpens the learner’s creativity and controls the thinking. It makes the learner look for feasible ways of achieving the best. It increases the learner’s motivation to learn. The learner’s attitude is therefore a critical attribute that should at all times be upheld.

The positive attitude will be well guarded when the learner has faith in his/her abilities. When the learner fails to trust that he/she can excel irrespective of the circumstances, then his/her attitude lacks the foundation to stand.

  1. Lack of Belief in your abilities

The underlying factor among virtually all people who succeed in various areas is their resolve to work hard and believe in their abilities. They never let the environment have the monopoly of determining their destinies. They blind themselves from any sight of despair and open all the floodgates of positive thought well premised on solid belief.

It is however unfortunate that people confuse belief and a wish. A wish is a passive optimism that gives one hope that somehow someday the streams of life will flow into their channels of success. If one does not create tributaries to feed the streams, then the wish would be useless.

Unlike belief, a wish is short-lived. It fades fast at the backdrop of frustration. Belief is permanent. It is not weakened by setbacks and stumbling blocks. It gets along well with persistence.

Virtually every learner wants (wishes) to pass or in other words, achieve academic excellence. But that’s just what it is – a wish. Those that believe they can pass work hard and smart to actualize their wishes. Whereas a wish is more or less concerned with wanting and hoping that it would have been done or it will be done, belief has an element of going and doing. That’s what makes the difference, the big difference.

When you have the right attitude towards learning and enough belief in your potential to achieve academic excellence, you get the motivation to learn and the road to success becomes a lot clearer. But the right attitude and strong belief rarely becomes easier without a strong base.

  1. You lack a Vision

Vision helps us to set goals and see where we are going and what we want to do. Setting goals is a manifestation of the willingness and intention to achieve academic excellence. Developing a good plan and goals will provide the signposts along the road which will then help you keep a sense of direction.

It fuels the learning engine which activates learning from one day to the next. It provides the learners with an opportunity to determine and experience success.

Goals will encourage you to wake up and do things today and also enable you to anticipate the results of your present actions. This is so because when you consciously undertake to plan and set goals to be achieved within a definite time, you tend to associate and relate with the desired future state in advance.

A strong vision will make you get focused and be able to see the end from the beginning. It will provide you with the motivation and the craving necessary to reach the level you want. This is because it enables you to encounter the feeling of that state in advance.

When your vision is clear you can see and tell how far you have gone and how far you are yet to go. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction to understand that you have already surmounted a few challenges and you are on track.

Every examination that a learner passes is a milestone that presents the motivation and courage to go ahead. The learner becomes subconsciously inspired by a thought of having accomplished a goal. The vision to successfully complete the entire course enables the learner to see and anticipate the goals that lie in front and gives him/her the belief and persistence to accomplish them.

Passing all the examinations and graduating with a certificate is like constructing a big house.

Learners should realize that they hold the key to their academic excellence and therefore they need to chart their own path that is driven by pursuit of their vision. They should have the discretion of choosing their careers based on their interests.

The real transition from childhood to adulthood is at the point where the learner consciously chooses and takes control of her career path.

  1. You do not have enough Motivation

No matter how brilliant and intelligent a learner can be, he/she cannot achieve academic excellence when motivation is deficient. The inclination and motivation to learn is more important than the mere ability and power to do well. Yes, the quest quotient is more exciting and fulfilling than the intelligent quotient.

Motivation is the wick in the candle of learning. The environment within which the learners find themselves cannot be trusted to provide adequate motivation. The learners will therefore need to always carry their own sunshine wherever they go. For learners to develop motivation, they need to become conscious of the role played by motivation in their pursuit of knowledge.

They must understand the reasons that made them go to school. These reasons should motivate them to seek knowledge of the content and material that satisfies their reasons for learning. Learners who have conscious and express goals and objectives will feel motivated to work hard towards their achievement.

They will be less troubled when some of the ways are demanding and uncomfortable because they know that the joy of meeting the goals is far much bigger than the pain of the effort applied in meeting the goals.

The goals set should however be clear, high enough and realistic. Low goals are easily achievable and the effort put in to reach them is low. This can easily lead to complacency and confine the learners in a comfortable cave of mediocrity.

The skills that the learners acquire become relevant when they put them into practice. They also get a deeper understanding of the concepts when they relate them to what happens around.

The motivation is increased when they can find a real connection between what they theoretically learned in class and what actually happens within their environment. Applying the skills learned cannot succeed when learners simply cram facts into their mind. Learning to understand should be the rule.

Another reason that prevents them from being able to apply what they learn is the way they learn. Some of them learn by simply appearing in a class or lecture room. They are meant to ‘religiously receive’ knowledge from the teacher who ‘owns’ the knowledge and ‘shares’ it to them little by little each day.

Learners can also derive the greatest level of motivation from their ability to manage time properly. A learner who schedules tasks within the available time is more likely to accomplish them satisfactorily.

The learner needs to arrange a timetable based on a balanced assessment of the subjects and remain committed to it. The learner could alter the time schedules depending on his/ her prudent and wise judgment of situations.

The learner must also find a way of self-appraisal to determine the level of understanding and accomplishment of tasks.

Proper time management and discipline enables one to accomplish academic excellence within the required time. It provides the motivation to increase the scope of work and try to accomplish it.

Learners cannot make maximum use of their mental potential when they fail to get motivated to learn. Lack of motivation denies them the ability to tap deep into their mind and develop higher order thinking skills. It is therefore of utmost importance that the learners develop an insatiable drive to learn.

They must consistently make themselves remain in a motivational mood. Motivation is like a warm bath. When the learners fail to consistently practice the various approaches that encourage them to learn, their motivation is lost.

They need to be guided by a strong belief and vision that enables them to not only be motivated but also be greatly inspired. Inspiration provides a lasting urge of accomplishment.

Read more >>  The ‘you-attitude’ – when and how to use it

  1. You have not taken the right Action

Taking action eliminates the fear that is created in theory. If you want to do something, you will find it difficult doing it if you take time thinking and merely talking about it. The longer the idea stays in your head without being acted upon, the weaker it becomes.

The negative part of the mind feasts on procrastination. It creates a myriad of impossibilities and convinces you to discard the idea. However, the positive side of the mind feeds on action. When you take an initiative to act, creative ideas start flowing and the ball starts to roll. The momentum is built and things that seemed impossible begin to happen.

The fears and doubts that would have been formed by theoretical thinking and talking will then be diluted by the new found momentum. The practicality of the action will remove the fear, impossibility and doubts that theory cannot solve. It decreases the theory that invites fear and doubts.

When the learners become focused on studying, they get the motivation to do so. All the energy is directed toward the studying process and soon the erstwhile difficult process becomes easier. Where focus goes, energy flows.

Action is important and supersedes intelligence and talent when it comes to academic excellence. The action quotient, just like the quest quotient, is much bigger than the intelligent quotient. Intelligence and talent wrapped in a rag of inaction is a burden that stinks. It’s like a brand new Mercedes Benz with inflated tyres.

As we have seen, taking action is one very important attribute that puts the learner into the spirit of motion. It ignites the engine and gets it ready to go. A single action is very important though it is not always enough. The learner will need the next element in order for her to be in a consistent and sustainable mood of action. This element is persistence.

  1. You lack Persistence

Persistence is the ability to keep on trying even when the desired outcome is out of sight. It is the elimination of an option. It is the spirit of learning from the previous outcome and pressing on until academic excellence is achieved.

Persistence provides an extra stamina and willpower to accomplish a task that could have been abandoned. It is the last and a very useful ingredient in the recipe of success.

The learner’s passion has a greater impact on his/her level of persistence. The drive to learn and get better results gives the power and strength to continue searching, studying and doing all that one can to get the best.

The love for learning gives a reason to push on even in the wake of discouraging episodes. Passion is love and anger combined. Therefore, learners need to create a spirit of passion in learning which will be very instrumental in oiling the gears of persistence and perseverance.

Learning is about knowing new things and ways and improving on them. New things are mastered by repeated trials which is the gist of persistence.

Persistence in itself is strong and does not allow any form of discouragement or any feeling of despair to get in its way. It marshals its strength and refuels its engine of service. It develops a tireless stubbornness that stands the test of adversity.

At a glance…How do I achieve academic excellence?

Most learners that achieve academic excellence are self-made. They encounter challenges like anybody else. But they take these challenges as inevitable meanders in the river of learning. They know that they don’t fail because they cannot succeed but because they are yet to get the tune. They have the belief and a massive spirit of persistence fueled by their vision.

They therefore work hard day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute to make their dreams something that they can see with their eyes and touch with their hands. This sense of direction and drive makes them get down to work irrespective of what is happening around them.

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