Category Archives: Psychology

Very few people love taking tests, just as only a special handful look forward to crisis and conflict. The day you are tested–in whatever way that concept is meaningful to you–is the day you must shake off doubt and distractions, marshal your energy and focus, and rise to the occasion. Luckily, in normal times, those days are few and far between. These are not normal times. For teens hoping to take the SAT or ACT, nearly every Saturday from now through early November (along with various Sunday and school day options) features a test. More generally, the start of another academic year under the same conditions that ravaged the last one presents at least the potential for daily trials and tribulations. How do you not just get by but bring your best when every day feels like test day? Consider the words of the great American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson:…

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Too many times, our well-meaning attempts to listen to our teens result in failed one-sided snippets of conversation. Parents and teens tire of the same old questions: “How are you?” (fine) “How was your day” (ok please leave me alone) “What’s new?” (…please just get off my back already!) Teens, unfortunately, don’t come with instruction manuals. But I’ll tell you one thing–teens are new to adulting, which, when you think back, is even more daunting. While some teens discover their life passion from early on, some need help to begin forming their life’s passions, goals, and mission. Parents can help their teen, not by asking her to choose a college major or career path, but by first learning more about her developing personal mission. In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey says, “Life is a mission, not a career. A career is a profession, a…

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Test preparation, at its noble core, seems almost too simple: if you prepare for a test, you will do better on the test. Yet sometimes even the most obvious connection escapes some people! Fortunately, the impact of exceptional preparation on achievement, success, and even luck has been well-documented throughout the ages. If you’re not sure you should be preparing for the next challenge ahead, read and be inspired… Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. — Bobby Unser Be prepared, work hard, and hope for a little luck. Recognize that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have. — Ed Bradley The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today. — Elbert Hubbard There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. — Colin Powell Spectacular achievement is always…

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Nobody has more credibility about achieving success than wildly successful people. Knowing how to get to the top of the mountain is one thing, but summiting that peak again and again until your smiling visage is carved into it is quite another. Why else would a conversation about what it takes to be great between the King of All Media and one of the greatest comedians of all time is worth repeating on a site about learning and performance. Apparently, Howard Stern recently interviewed Jerry Seinfeld, and the conversation turned to work ethic. Howard started talking about how hard he worked everyday to make a living in radio: Howard Stern: “I thought, you know, it is possible to will yourself, maybe not to be the greatest in the world but to certainly get what you want.” Jerry Seinfeld: “I’m going to adjust your perspective a little bit. That was no…

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Face facts… you simply can’t do everything. You can do many many amazing things, especially of you’ve mastered the secrets of time management. But you can’t do everything. So if you want to fulfill your most meaningful goals, prioritize relentlessly. Once we take a hard look at our priorities, we can sort our goals so we devote enough time and commitment to achieving them. We can and should also enlist help, since success is usually a group effort. But does every type of goal benefit from social support? Consider two types of goals: Give-Up Goals define success through subtraction: e.g. less goofing off, weight loss, bad habit cessation Go-Up Goals define success through addition: e.g. better grades, muscle gain, good habit development Conventional wisdom suggests that we should always share our give-up goals, as others are usually very helpful in encouraging us to drop bad habits. But more aspirational goals…

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Sometimes in life, you find yourself a holding pattern, forced to delay when you dearly desire to act. You want to take the field, but the big game hasn’t even started yet. What else can you do but wait? Here’s what you can do: Be patient. As author Joyce Meyer said, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Be strong. As Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, another author, said, “Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.” Be planful. Some wise individual observed, “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” Last but not least, be present in the moment you find yourself. Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you’re living.…

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