Focus on Improving

In my experience, students often get discouraged quickly when they make mistakes or get a low mark. Most learning happens when you make a mistake and use it as an opportunity to improve. Never let a mistake hold you back, since it should instead propel you forward. When you get an assignment or test back, do your best to ignore the result and take action immediately to correct your mistakes.

My daughter is learning to ice skate and at first it was a struggle. She spent more time on the ice than on her skates and needed me to hold her up when skating. I encouraged her that she would improve in time if she just kept making attempts. Sure enough, after about 3 hours of skating, she can now skate on her own without me holding on. Her willingness to pick herself up after each failed attempt lead her to success!

Your learning journey will continue through your entire life. Never let one mistake or one failure hold you back from improving. There is always another chance to try again, so make sure to take it! I see a lot of students who fail to learn a new concept immediately after it has been discussed in class who stop taking action to learn it. They think it is all or nothing – that they either learn it immediately or never. This is simply not true since you need to sit down and think about the concept on your own in order to fully understand it. Always tell yourself that given enough time and effort you can do anything you want!

I was recently reading a book called, “9 Things Successful People Do Differently” and the author tells us to focus on improving rather than being good. Focusing on being good means you think about results too often. When you aren’t good right away, you get discouraged. Instead, realize you aren’t perfect, but that you are free to make many attempts and learn from each setback. This consistent effort made every day will add up to huge improvement over time. You will eventually be good without focusing on this result. Always do your best with the time you have today, and you need never to have regrets or make excuses.

Remember that nothing is final, including tests and exams, because you always can improve your understanding. This focus on making progress keeps your mind positive and open to new possibilities. You will quickly forgive yourself for mistakes and begin to see them as blessings that guide you on the road to success.

Please let me know how you keep focused on the learning journey rather than the destination. What skills do you have now that you have spent lots of time perfecting, learning from many mistakes along the way? Thanks for reading!

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