If you look at the kind of people who have achieved ‘success’ in their lives, presidents, Olympians, millionaires, great artists, world leaders, you will find that there are a few things they all have in common.
Now, there probably isn’t a secret ingredient to success (if you find one, let me know) but rather ‘success’ as most people see it, is a result of combining great habits that incrementally lead to a successful and fulfilling life.
I’m no expert, nor am I ‘great’, ‘successful’ or ‘perfect’, far from it. These are simply the habits that I have incorporated, or at least planning/trying to in my life because I know that I can become a better person by doing so.
1. Wake up early. There’s a feeling you get about the peaceful silence of the early morning that you can’t feel at any other time of day. It’s the feeling that you are the only person in the world, solitary and ready to take on the world, whilst everyone else is sound asleep. When nobody else is awake, there can be no distractions, which makes it ideal for focussing. Combined with the fact that (hopefully) you had a good night’s sleep, your mind should be feeling calm and clear. Early morning is also a great time to practice some meditation.
This is a habit that requires discipline and dedication. It can be hard to wake up early after a late night out, but you don’t have to do it everyday if you don’t have to. Waking early is supposed to clear your mind, not make you feel grungy of uncomfortable. Sleeping a little earlier the night before can help too, if you really want to start waking up early, just try 20 minutes earlier, and build up from there. You won’t regret it.
2. Stay healthy. For some reason, it’s easy to forget to stay healthy, especially as a student. You have a deadline, so you stay up late, your bank balance is flashing red so you buy something ready-made and cheap, and social law dictates that drinking is a minimum requirement to be cool.
Most of these can’t be helped, and because they are pressing and urgent, they get bumped up to the top of the priority list. Your body, on the other hand, is stays almost silent. It can’t shout or persuade or threaten, so it slowly suffers whilst you put other things first. The only way it can tell you it’s suffering is by that tiredness you feel during the day, or that headache you feel the ‘morning after’.
Your body is your tool to life. Imagine if you didn’t have one, you wouldn’t be able to speak, hear, see…you wouldn’t be able to experience the great things in life, so why not take care of it? Eat well and exercise.
3. Learn new things. Life is what you make of it, and if you just stick with the things you know, it isn’t going to be much fun. The fact that you are at university is a good step towards the right direction, but there are so many opportunities that universities offer, don’t let them pass you by. Read books, join societies and try out new things. Step out of your comfort zone. Be careful not to overwhelm your timetable, but for certain things try to think of them as part of your timetable. Expand your horizons, you get out of life what you put in.
4. Be proactive. Great people seek their own opportunities. They don’t wait for them to fall on their laps. If you want something, go and get it, it probably won’t come to you. The great presidents didn’t get their seats because they sat around at home, the great Olympians didn’t get their amazing bodies from watching it on TV and the great writers and musicians didn’t create their art from just daydreaming about it. Go out and do it, even if it is just a tiny step towards the right direction. Do something today that will move you towards your goals.
5. Be compassionate. Often we forget about the people that surround us everyday and how much they shape who we are. Even perfect strangers on the street have an impact on your life, whether you realise it or not. When people hurt you, you want to push them away, but it will only hurt you more in the long run, being alone is one of the most terrible feelings in the world. Real, true and genuine relationships are the stuff of life.
Be kind. Forgive. Smile. As Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier”. That is what success really is.
I found a fantastic post about how to cultivate greatness via the Daily Mind. Many of the ideas I have are shared here.
Do you have any other ideas about what it takes to be a successful student? Share your ideas below.