As a student, you want good habits. I mean habits like studying from the crack of dawn to the black of night—if your schedule permits—but doing so every day. I also mean habits like writing detailed outlines after researching thirty articles for one term paper. Those are things I did to get accepted into grad studies. And, with the right habits, you can achieve a PhD—even a professorship. “Successful people, whether they know it or not, have developed good habits, while unsuccessful people have developed bad habits. The good news is you can change your habits to become more successful” (73%).
So, here are eight habits to hone early:
#1: Never quit. Students can learn from highly successful people. Successful people never quit; they fail but get back up. For instance, investment traders may blow up and then return to make millions, even billions. Also, entrepreneurs may go bankrupt time and time again and then revive their business into a multibillion enterprise. And everyone knows baseball legend Babe Ruth struck out more often than he hit homeruns (1330 strikeouts to 714 homeruns).
#2: Get resourceful. I love the story of John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza. His book titled Papa: The Story of Papa John’s Pizza shows how he started Papa John’s Pizza in a broom closet. And when he had to grow his business without the bucks, he got resourceful. He made do with less to make his broom closet a multibillion company. Inspiring! While studying for a math class, I ran out of graph paper. So, I pulled out my ruler and drew graph paper by hand. It took more time, yes, but better to have done it then to let it slide.
#3: Develop good systems. “All great businesses are built on great systems. In great businesses people run the systems and the systems run the business. The best and most valuable businesses will develop systems that are scalable and repeatable while producing expected and consistent results” (69%). Take McDonalds. “Businesses like McDonald’s cannot grow without systems and neither can people” (71%). These systems build habits that run on autopilot—not unlike passive income. So, develop systems like researching your paper the first day it’s assigned.
#4: Manage time properly. During exams, I’d look at the weight of each section and assign to each section an equal proportion of the total time (minus five minutes for edits). I then watched the clock like a hawk as I wrote my exam. One guy who sat behind me but in front of the clock accused me of cheating off his paper. He was a C student with an ego. But I had forgotten my watch that day. Always wear a wristwatch to exams. It’s part of the game.
#5: Figure out the game. For me, university was a game. On the first day course enrollment opened, I’d spend the entire day online, searching for my courses. I’d only enroll in courses that had top rated instructors, whom I carefully researched. I knew the difference between an A and a B grade could be as tiny as choice of instructor. I’d also buy my books weeks before each term—and study them prior to the term start date. I’d even learn math concepts the day before each lecture, just for reinforcement.
#6: Remove bad habits. “Create a list of your own habits and label them as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Next you want to eliminate bad habits and start adding good ones” (87%). I say, remove even the good habits that don’t move you closer to your goal. For instance, I studied nutrition nonstop, which helped cure me of disease, but kept me from taking on my next challenge: a career. So, I replaced my nutrition studies with daily education that’d boost my career prospects. After all, a big part of nutrition is the ability to afford to eat.
#7: Get fit and eat healthy. “An example of a common keystone habit is daily exercise. By simply working out each morning, it could then lead to further changes such as fighting depression, weight loss, higher energy levels and productivity, a better diet, better sleep, lower stress levels, etc.” (87%). I stopped exercising six to nine hours a week. I now only weightlift three days a week—plus do daily fast walking. As a result, I have more energy, feel more motivation—and need less food.
#8: Develop positive habits. “Common keystone habits typically include:
- Daily exercise
- Making your bed each morning
- Daily family dinners
- Waking up early in the morning
- Staying organized and planning your day
- Daily goal setting
- Proper time management
- Daily educational reading / learning” (90%).
On workdays, I wake up early, exercise, make the bed, eat a healthy breakfast, and learn new skills. When doing this, I’m my healthiest and most productive self. But back when I was a student, I didn’t exercise or eat. I just drank coffee and nibbled small squares of humus-dipped pita. If I kept that up, I would’ve blown up. Unhealthy lifestyles soon backfire.
So, now you’ve got habits to hone an academic edge. But whatever habits you adopt, follow the formula: “ACTIVITY X EFFECTIVENESS = RESULTS” (98%).