Self discipline is absolutely critical for passing exams. Goal setting and motivation will get you started, but the initial enthusiasm can burn out pretty quickly. I guarantee, I absolutely guarantee, that you won’t wake up every day feeling optimistic and ready to study.
Will power is what’s going to keep you going day after day, it gives you the time to set goals and try out fancy strategies. It is the linchpin – everything else depends on it.
Over the years I’ve read a number of books about self discipline and mental strength, but they have been a total disappointment. Some of them were the usual self-help fluff repackaged, babbling on about affirmations and positive thinking, whilst others were messages about tough love and virtually unreadable discussions of therapeutic techniques. Solid, practical advice was in very short supply.
Kelly McGonigal to the rescue!
Now for the good news: there are a boatload of research studies that tell us how to improve our self control, and now thanks to a psychology professor from Stanford there’s a well written book that tells you how to use them.
The Will Power Instinct/Maximum Willpower (the same book, renamed for the UK) is an incredibly thorough look at self control – what affects it and how to get more of it.
It seems like this is part of a new breed of personal development books based on scientific research, rather than the hypothetical meanderings of a motivational speaker who managed to land a book deal. As far as I’m concerned, this can only be a good thing.
The author runs a ten week will power course and the book takes the same format, encouraging you to read a chapter a week and experiment with the techniques as you go along – the idea being that you find something that works for you. It’s well written, funny, eye opening and packed with solid ideas that you can use straight away.
Like with MCII, the results are just impossible to ignore. If some of these techniques can get people to stop smoking crack, then they can certainly help you to run through some flashcards in your lunch time.
For the cost of a paperback book, this is a brainy no-brainer.