The Ideal Mindset for Academic Excellence

The “ideal” is the best measure of success when striving for a goal.  And we all can achieve the ideal.  So why settle for less? But I don’t want to assume I know our ideal courses of action, as we all have different strengths, schedules, and life paths.  But I do know how to problem solve after taking a critical thinking course, so here are what I assume to be ideal academic mindsets and some suggestions of how I’d personally achieve them.  But it’s up to us to conceive our own actions to achieve the perfect educational mindset.  After all, we are the masters of our destinies.  And we can achieve anything, as opportunities are limitless.

Ideal Mindset #1: “I know how to synthesize new information.”

Suggestions: Get exposed to different types of knowledge to synthesize in the first place.  Take courses that bring us out of our comfort zone.  Get exposed to novel things! Explore shelves in the library we’ve never considered before.  And then use tools like commonalities, analogies, humor, metaphors, homonyms, observations, and eureka moments to connect seemingly unrelated ideas.

Ideal Mindset #2: “I know how to memorize information with the tipping point of effort to produce the best results.”

Suggestions:  Use acronyms and wild imagery to memorize information.  For more insight on achieving this, read a book on mnemonics during a break between semesters.  Mnemonics are systems that the world’s greatest memory champions use to memorize facts, names, and numbers.

Ideal Mindset #3: “I can replay knowledge in my head without staring at my notes.”

Suggestions: When we take notes, text ourselves key facts or acronyms to memorize.  Rehearse these in our head and, whenever we forget, quickly review our texts.  Or make a few cue cards with such information and pull them out when we need to promptly aid our memory.

Ideal Mindset #4: “I concentrate on my studies 24-7.”

Suggestion: Review what we learn after each study session or class.  Map out study plans of action.  Dream up creative ideas for essays.  Memorize facts in our heads.  Mentally assess what we have learned.  Sneak peeks at our notes regularly and mentally rehearse them.  Before bed, mentally list what we’ve learned and refer to study notes for what we can’t recall.

Ideal Mindset #5: “I know what extracurricular activities to adopt.”

Suggestions: Choose extracurriculars that advance our fitness, leadership, academics, or desired careers.

Ideal Mindset #6: “I know how to eat healthily and maximize fitness to spike my daily energy, as success requires high energy.”

Suggestion: If possible, research or write an essay on how to eat healthy to overcome various diseases, as medical diets are the optimal ways to overcome autoimmune conditions, chronic conditions, and even diseases like AIDS or cancer.  See if your nearby gym or brick-and-mortar university recreational center offers a course on lifting weights.  Lift weights at least every second day (but eat plenty of protein).  Add fun cardio like dancing, swimming, cycling, or a combative like martial arts or wrestling to keep the heart strong.

Ideal Mindset #7: “I know how to make the learning process highly satisfying and enjoyable.”

Suggestion: Love and respect our tutors and professors.  Get excited about what we learn.  Use positive self-talk to turn mundane learning tasks into highlights of the day.  Overthink exciting ideas for essays and presentations.  Most importantly, study as often as humanly possible while optimizing performance so the mind stays engaged with academics.  The more involved we are with academics daily, the more breakthroughs we’ll make regarding academic growth.

Ideal Mindset #8: “I know how to avoid negative thoughts; instead, I think optimistically and positively.”

Suggestion: When a negative thought comes to mind, generate love for everyone and return to the goal.

Ideal mindset #9: “I know proper study techniques.”

Suggestions: Read study tips online or, better still, through books.  When doing mundane tasks, play an audiobook of study advice or listen to a study advice podcast.

Ideal Mindset #10: “I have enough time to study to acquire A’s.”

Suggestions: Assess the current grades.  Are they not A’s? Increase the study time or take fewer classes until the A’s are realized.  Once the A’s are realized, invest more time and effort by adding an additional class.  Repeat this process each semester until we find the right balance.

Ideal Mindset #11: “I constantly evaluate and fix my academic weaknesses.”

Suggestions: If we can’t get an A in a class, we have a weakness, whether it be limited time, limited study skills, or a knowledge gap.  It’s all fixable–every last bit.  If writing is a weakness, read a grammar book and Helen Sword’s books on how to write academically.  If math is a weakness, hang out on Khan Academy’s website or hire a tutor.  Whatever shortcomings might prevail, there are solutions.  Nothing can beat us when we bust and move—even in light of imminent failure!

Ideal Mindset #12: “I journal my academic successes, what I did wrong and how to avoid it, what I did right and how to repeat it—and ways to improve my performance.”

Suggestions: This is like the sports playbook.  It’s a great way to figure out what to repeat and fix.  Strategy is critical to success.  It prevents us from going into limbo and helps us avoid repeating the same mistakes repeatedly.  The strategy enables us to take risks and grow.

Ideal Mindset #13: “I set big goals.”

Suggestion: Do you want a Ph.D.? Straight A’s? Gold medallion?  Big scholarship that pays for all of our graduate studies? A research grant?  A professorship? A phenomenal career? It’s all ours! We just need to set big goals! All it takes to get the ball in motion is desire.

Ideal Mindset #14: “I don’t quit! Instead, I accelerate!”

Suggestion: Step on the gas and race the academic Indy 500!  Get swept away by the persistence, resilience, and determination that genuinely represents your grit.