Every experience presents an opportunity to learn something new. I won’t spoil the book but in the opening chapters, Patricia Bright speaks about her childhood and her experience having to work from an early age. Although it wouldn’t have been easy or glamorous at the time, this experience taught her how to manage her time effectively, a skill which proved useful as she progressed on to university.
Little actions compound to achieve great results.
In one of my favourite chapters in the book, she explains how you can split a task across a week to make it more achievable. If I was studying for my GCSEs but also wanted to learn a new piano piece every week, I would break that task into smaller actions which I can complete in 10 minutes every day and then on the weekend, I’d spend a bit more time finishing it off. On Monday, I might spend 10 minutes picking a piece and watching someone else play it and on Tuesday, I’d learn the first few bars. If there’s a new project or hobby you’ve been wanting to start, I’d recommend trying this method. 10 minutes every day and by Friday, you’ve done 50 minutes of piano practice! You don’t have to start with massive steps but little and consistent steps can lead to great impact.
It’s ok to pivot.
It’s natural, as we grow and develop, our values, interests and even our favourite food might change! After my GCSE’s, a bit of fear started to settle in. I wasn’t sure which subjects I wanted to study at A-Level (I had about 6 subjects I was seriously considering and you’re meant to study 3-4!) Eventually, I decided to stop worrying about choosing subjects which would give me the best career prospects and I decided that I was going to choose the 4 subjects I enjoyed the most (another pivot – I dropped the fourth). Having completed my A-Levels, I give myself permission to follow my curiosity and interests even when these are outside the remits of my studies. In her book, Patricia explains that you don’t have to know everything when applying for a job for example, you just have to be willing to learn.
Discipline, discipline, discipline.
Being on a gap year in the midst of much uncertainty, I am very grateful for the opportunities I have to develop my skills through things I love doing. That being said, there are some days where I just do not feel like doing the work. It happens. Even if you absolutely love maths, there might be days where your motivation to do it plunges. Some of the things I’ve found helpful for building discipline are setting clear habits and being accountable to someone. For example, in Year 12 I wanted to read material outside of the topics covered in my A-level subjects. My habit was that every Monday from 3:20-4:20, I would spend an hour reading or listening to podcasts on whichever topic interested me. For accountability, I find it so useful to tell a friend whenever I have a big task I need to accomplish which requires consistent work.
‘It’s great to set goals, but not to beat yourself with the goalposts!’
I love this quote. When I read it, I immediately highlighted it because it reminded me of something I’d learnt earlier this year. Setting new goals and achieving new levels of success isn’t the most important thing. he process you go through, the lessons you learn and the person you become along the way are much more important. Let’s imagine you set yourself a goal of writing one extra essay every 2 weeks but at the end of the term, you managed to write one essay every 3 weeks. Have you accomplished that goal? Technically not. ut you have given yourself an opportunity to improve your essay writing skills and your discipline! Don’t be so fixated on the end that you forget the entire journey.
As a bonus point, I wanted to revisit discipline but from a different perspective. Whilst I love to have clear habits and systems, sometimes my motivation isn’t there. , I try to ask myself ‘Why?’. If the response is that I’m tired because I slept late then I’ll have a nap. If the issue is that I’ve gotten bored of working alone at home, then I’ll see if a friend is free for some co-working via Zoom. I’ve only recently started implementing this but it turns out, listening to your body and how you might be feeling is an extremely useful activity. So, next time you find yourself procrastinating, ask ‘why’ and you might discover what it is you need to address.
I’d love to know what you’re currently reading or if you’ve read something good recently, so leave a comment with your current/recent reads and any lessons you’ve learnt!
Written by Kofo
Kofo is a gap year student and tutor, one of her goal is to develop her writing/publishing skills. Kofo loves to read and write, taste desserts and encourage other young people to dream (cheesy, I know!). Kofo will be writing on topics including academic and personal growth and of course, reviewing the best books in town!