With the internet at your fingertips, it’s easy to find an abundance of articles about learning strategies aimed at improving your learning lifestyle. Despite absorbing all the information targeting external factors that may reduce your learning ability, none of them may be helpful.
Although you can apply effective learning strategies to things like time management, productivity, organization, etc, you may still struggle because your mindset is limiting.
If you don’t have a growth mindset and are not determined to stay positive about your progress, you may suffer along your learning journey. Being confident about your capabilities and working consistently towards your learning goals are fundamental to your success.
Successful learners are determined to view life positively and remember why they started their learning journey. This is so, especially during challenging times.
As a lifelong learner, I know learners struggle sometimes with even the basics of learning. Whether it relates to study strategies, time management, organization, memory retention, or exam preparation. We all have off days when we may feel like giving up. We could use some extra inspiration to boost our limiting mindset.
I know exactly what it feels like to suffer from a limiting mindset when learning. It took a long time for me to recognize and then apply the traits of a growth mindset for learning. When I did, it was worth it because, in doing so, I benefited greatly from applying the actions of highly successful learners. Besides doing the things that highly successful learners do, what also helped was my avoidance of the things that highly successful learners do not do.
From years of trial and error, I’ve discovered some of the best things highly successful learners do and what they do NOT do. I’m sharing the latter with you so that you can avoid suffering from a limiting mindset and become a better learner. This will help you enjoy your learning journey on your path to success.
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11 Things Highly Successful Learners Do NOT Do
Highly successful learners DO NOT…
1. Doubt Their Capabilities
“In life, there will always be greater and lesser people than yourself.”
This is a saying my grandfather taught me at an early age. Whenever I doubt myself and my capabilities, this saying reminds me that even if other learners are doing well, they should inspire me. Their success is not an excuse for me to give up, be distracted, or become depressed. With focus, consistency, and determination, I can also achieve my learning goals. It’s all about confidence in your capabilities.
Keeping your eyes on the prize and being confident in your capabilities is a key component to being a highly successful learner.
2. Avoid/Abandon Challenges
When my little one was about 3 years old, and we were watching a family movie where she heard or saw something frightening, she would always run to me screaming, “SCARY! SCARY! SCARY!”
I would comfort her as she buried her little face in my chest to feel safe and avoid whatever she was afraid of.
As she got older, when we watched a movie and she found something scary, instead of running and screaming, she would walk to me and sit on my lap. She continued watching the scary part but felt safe knowing I was close to her. Soon, she realized that when she used to hide her face, she missed some of the most interesting, entertaining, and exciting parts of the movie. However, when she faced her fear and watched even the scary parts, she enjoyed the movie more because the overall experience was much better than when she refused to face her fears.
The moral of this story is that it’s important to embrace your challenges in life and learning, despite how scary they may seem. If you do, you’re likely to enjoy the overall experience more and you’ll have a more rewarding and successful learning journey.
Highly successful learners know that achieving their learning goals is no joke. It takes time, patience, persistence, and hard work. There may be days when you feel like giving up because success seems impossible. I know many learners (including myself) who felt this way countless times.
However, to be a highly successful learner, when you face challenges, instead of running away from them, your success depends on you embracing your challenges and not giving up. Facing your fears may be hard, but the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. When you embrace your challenges and overcome your fears, you can become a highly successful learner.
Highly successful learners do not avoid or abandon challenges.
3. Waste Time On Things They Can’t Control
I hate being tickled!
My husband loves to tickle me because he loves seeing me laugh out loud.
I keep telling him I hate being tickled because I have no control when I’m laughing my head off. He does it anyway because he knows that sometimes, I just need to take a breather and stop being in control all the time. Laughing is a great way to destress, even if it means not being in control for a moment.
As a learner, being in control is an asset. It’s important to be organized, take control of your schedule, and be on top of things. This enables you to lay a solid foundation for your future. However, it’s also useful to know that although being organized is essential, and preparing for the future is wise, there are some things in life that we just can’t control.
Constantly worrying about things you can’t control, and becoming crippled by the fear of the unknown, may cause your mental and physical health to suffer. Instead, it’s better to be flexible and adaptable to change. This allows more resilience and reduces the risk of becoming stagnant or obsolete.
In short, all you can do at times is let go and let God. This involves believing in your capabilities, focusing on your goals, and working hard to achieve your dreams.
Highly successful learners know that it’s pointless wasting time on things they can’t control.
4. People Please All The Time
My brother spends hours doing things for others just to get a “Thank you!” and be liked by everyone. It bothers him if someone doesn’t like him, or instantly approves of something he has done. I honestly don’t know why this bothers him so much. He just seems to love the fact that he pleases people and makes them happy.
Although there’s nothing wrong with making others happy and pleasing people, it can become a problem when you neglect yourself and your life because you’re too busy making sure everyone else’s life is improved.
Highly successful learners know that it’s impossible to please all the people all the time, so they don’t even try. If you’re determined to achieve your learning goals, you’ll sometimes have to say “No!” to your friends, family, and loved ones. The time and energy you’ll save can be directed toward improving your productivity, time management, and organization skills to enhance your learning and your life.
Not being a people pleaser may mean:
- You won’t always be able to party all night long as you used to years ago.
- Sometimes you may not be able to hang out with your friends for endless hours on social media.
- Driving your sister to the shops to buy her 100th pair of shoes, or taking your brother to pick up the new game he ordered online, may not happen soon.
- Your old relative will survive if you don’t attend her 70th birthday party because your parents want to show you off to the family.
- Getting someone else to be the event/party planner or the babysitter/caretaker for a change so that you can get on with your studies.
Highly successful learners know that it’s important to say “Yes!” to themselves and their own needs. This may mean saying “No!” to loved ones.
5. Intentionally Procrastinate
Sometimes life happens and unavoidable circumstances occur. This is true especially if you’re a learner with a family, a job, or both. Therefore, highly successful learners use strategies and plan carefully, to avoid the risk of not being prepared. With a mountain of assignments, tests, exams, presentations, etc always looming, it makes sense not to intentionally procrastinate.
The best learners have usually prepared well enough in advance to succeed. So, even if life throws them an unexpected circumstance at the last minute, it doesn’t faze them and cause failure.
Intentionally procrastinating, especially when you have due dates and deadlines to meet, is a recipe for disaster and disappointment. It’s no secret that hoping for the best without working hard to get to your goal is foolish.
Highly successful learners know it is sensible to avoid intentional procrastination.
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6. Obsess Over Past Failures Or Mistakes
Have you ever received an unexpected grade you weren’t happy with?
Did it upset you?
Were you thinking about it for days or even weeks?
My grandmother used to say,
“The past is over. Why worry about something that’s done and gone?”
As simple as these words were, my wise old grandmother was very sensible. She knew that obsessing over past failures and mistakes distracts from progress in the present and the future.
Highly successful learners know that if you have a setback, instead of letting it consume your time and energy, it’s best to acknowledge what went wrong, learn from the experience, and move on.
7. Resent The Success Of Others
There will always be some people who appear wildly successful with their learning and in life. There will always be some who seem less bothered to even try.
The world is filled with all sorts. That’s what makes it so interesting and entertaining. The trick to staying on top of things and remaining a highly successful learner is to not resent others because of their success.
If you waste time and energy resenting the success of others, it will eat you up inside, make your life miserable, and distract you from your goals. No doubt you’ll also become unpleasant. Who wants that?
Instead of being resentful, why not be inspired to work harder and use their success as a reminder of the opportunities and possibilities for your progress and future success?
Highly successful learners have no time for resentment. They know it’s better to be inspired and motivated by the success of others.
BONUS READ: How Highly Successful Learners Handle Haters/Toxic People – Ménesa’s Study Motivation
8. Quit When Things Get Tough
“The race is not for the swift, but for those who endure.”
One of my favorite teachers used to repeat this phrase often. It has helped me many times when things got tough, and I felt like giving up.
Although it may seem like everyone else is zooming past you to the finish line, it’s important to not base your progress on their success.
No two people are the same.
This means that no set of circumstances is identical. You don’t know what others go through to get to where they are. Just focus on taking one step at a time and before you know it, you will reach your destination and fulfill your dream.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
It’s true, boo.
Don’t think about quitting when things get challenging, just take things slow and steady. If you are patient, do the work, and never quit, you will win the race.
Highly successful learners know that you’ve got to be in it to win it. If you quit when things get tough, you’ll never win and be that success you dreamed of when you started your learning journey.
9. Avoid Self-Care
The life of the learner is usually filled with an abundance of deadlines, due dates, assignments, essays, and exams. This demanding schedule may make self-care a luxury the busy learner cannot afford.
Despite the high demands of life, the highly successful learner knows that it’s important to include regular self-care routines in your schedule. Self-care is an excellent way to manage the stress of a demanding lifestyle.
Although planning, preparing, and being productive are essential to the success of a learner, overall mental and physical wellness depends on the ability to rest, relax, and recharge. This may include pampering yourself with spa treatments or taking a moment to watch/play football. Self-care comes in many forms and is personal and individualized. Whatever makes you happy should be incorporated into your schedule regularly.
Deadline dates may be the ingredients of your nightmares, and you may struggle to find a moment to breathe. Despite this, taking time to treat yourself is vital to maintain your momentum, especially when learning.
Highly successful learners know the significance of self-care and ensure that they regularly enjoy some time to rest, relax, and recharge.
BONUS READ: How to Be A Successful Learner Even If You Have A Busy Job & Family
10. Expect Overnight Success
Although no two people are the same, and we all may have different levels of learning ability, highly successful learners know it takes time to master a subject. This is why it takes years to get a Bachelor’s degree and even longer for a PhD.
Failure is more likely to occur if you expect overnight success or prefer taking shortcuts when working towards your learning goals.
You can’t expect to complete building a castle in a week. It will take time to lay a solid foundation and then erect a sturdy structure that can sustain whatever weather it experiences. This will allow you to live a comfortable life, filled with the stuff that dreams are made of.
Similarly, your learning success depends on time. Time to build a sturdy structure that enables you to overcome whatever challenges you experience along your learning journey.
To build that sturdy structure that will lead to your learning success, you need to have SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
The SMARTer your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them, but it won’t happen overnight, it will take time. When you achieve your goals, it will boost your confidence and increase your motivation. Two factors that are assets to your learning and your life.
Highly successful learners know that it’s important to build a solid foundation upon which to build their learning empire. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s so worth it!
11. Constantly Compare Themselves With Others
With the advancement of today’s technology, knowing about other people’s successes and achievements is as easy as logging on to your computer or checking your social media accounts anytime, anywhere.
As convenient, entertaining, and educational as technology is, it can also cause you to feel inadequate and unsuccessful. If you’re struggling to keep on top of things when learning, it’s hard not to compare yourself and your success (or lack thereof), with others who have passed their exams, completed their degrees, or just received their umpteenth certification. This can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.
Take a moment to stop, reset, remain realistic, and realize that no good can come from you comparing yourself to others. There will always be greater and lesser people than you, so what’s the point of comparing?
Instead of getting upset or depressed whenever someone shares their learning success, your time and energy would be better spent focussing on yourself. Strategizing about what actions you need to take to fulfill your goals will keep you so occupied, you won’t have time to be scrolling on social media and hating on the success of others.
Your desire to compare will also be reduced if you repeatedly remind yourself of the reason you started your learning journey. Focus on your goals and don’t stress about others because you don’t know what struggles and stresses they had to endure to get to their finish line.
The bottom line is, you have a choice to celebrate your wins (despite how big or small), or compare your progress with others and be miserable and resentful. You choose.
I choose to be inspired and motivated by the success stories of other learners. I find this to be a far more productive use of my time and energy. It also helps to remember,
A saying which I find useful when I’m tempted to compare is,
“Do not compare your 1-month mark with their 10-year success.”
Always remember, highly successful learners do not compare themselves to others.
I hope this list of things that highly successful learners DO NOT do inspires and motivates you as much as it does me. Knowing that your mindset, whether positive or negative, is a massive influence on your learning success or failure, and is extremely valuable.
If you don’t remain focussed, confident in your capabilities, do the required work, and keep moving forward, you’re likely to be unsuccessful throughout your learning journey. No one wants this. So, to avoid being unsuccessful, remember the things that highly successful learners DO NOT do:
- Doubt Their Capabilities
- Avoid/Abandon Challenges
- Waste Time On Things They Can’t Control
- Please People All The Time
- Intentionally Procrastinate
- Obsess Over Past Mistakes Or Failures
- Resent The Success Of Others
- Quit When Things Are Tough
- Avoid Self-Care
- Expect Overnight Success
- Constantly Compare Themselves With Others
Can you relate to any of the above actions on this list?
Let me know in the comments below if you struggle with any of the above points, or if you have any more tips on things highly successful learners DO NOT do.