This is the Introductory Chapter to the book.
“WITHOUT A STRONG WHY, THE EASIEST HOW WILL BE TOO HARD.”
Most students have one reason for doing well in school, which is to get a job after graduating with a diploma from a college or a degree from a university. Their parents tell them, “Study hard and score good marks so that you can graduate and get a high-paying job.”
However, this is but just one motivating reason. In this book I present eleven other reasons why I think students need to study hard while in school. These reasons are discussed in the twelve chapters of the book.
WHY THIS BOOK?
I have written this book because of the observation that people who succeed in life work hard because there is either one reason or several motivating reasons behind their actions. In other words, they have a burning reason or reasons for doing the things they do.
Where motive is not strong or compelling enough, people give up along the way. They may start well but run out of steam midway through the journey. They give up because the reason or reasons for taking action have not been forceful enough. Unless and until people become convinced about why they should act in a certain way, what they do will lack power and vitality.
As one of my mentors says, “Without a strong enough why, even the easiest how will be too hard.” What he means is that people who do not have a strong, burning reason for doing certain things will not take action even if it is the easiest thing to do.
A horse will drink water only if it is thirsty. If it is not thirsty, you can lead it to the water but it will not drink. You can force its head down so that its nose touches the water, but it will still not drink, because it is thirsty.
What this means for you as a student is this: You can learn as much as you can about how to score good marks, but if you do not have a good reason for scoring those marks, you simply will not study hard. Your parents can encourage, coax, bribe and even threaten you to get you to concentrate on your school work but if you do not understand why you should do so, you will refuse or pretend to work hard.
This is my first book of several books in the Academic Excellence Series. The second book will provide useful tips on how you can excel academically. But without understanding why it is important for you to study hard, you will just pass over the information in that book. So my intention is to provide you with the reasons why you should study hard and score good marks first, then I will discuss how you can do it.
Having a reason for doing something is like filling your tank with petrol before you go on a journey. An empty or half-full tank cannot take you far in your journey. Likewise, a weak reason for doing something will not take you far. You may start off well but lose all enthusiasm along the way, like it happens to most students who are excited about going to school at the beginning of the year but the interest wanes out as they go through the academic year.
I believe that students need a lot of motivation to stay focused throughout the whole course of their student lives during each individual academic year life. Being young and in many ways mentally and emotionally immature and weak, you are naturally vulnerable to a lot of attractions and distractions which can easily sway you from what you are really in school for, which is to succeed academically and graduate with an educational qualification that will empower you to live a good life. One of the ways to help you to stay on course is to present to you the benefits of working hard on the subjects you study.
I have met many students who think that they are doing their parents a favour by going to school and studying hard. But I want you to realize that you are doing yourself a huge favour. You go to school and study hard for your own good. It is for the kind of life you will live later that you go to school. Your parents pay school fees and meet other education-related expenses because it is their duty or responsibility to do so. They will not live long to see how you do in life. So it is really in your best interest that you go to school.
But for you to really comprehend that, you need to be presented with the benefits you will receive in life personally as a result of working hard in school. That is to say, you need convincing on the question, “What’s in it for me if I study hard and do well?” This book will hopefully answer that question.
The 12 reasons I present in this book are:
Reason # 1: You make your parents feel proud and honoured when you do well.
Reason # 2: You need to study hard to make it up the education system’s ladder.
Reason # 3: You can attract scholarships or sponsorships.
Reason # 4: Good marks will attract the attention and confidence of employers.
Reason # 5: You must do well seeing that the opportunity of being a student comes only once in life.
Reason # 6: By doing well, you demonstrate that you can survive in a competitive world.
Reason # 7: Studying hard is like sowing good seeds which will bear good fruits later in life.
Reason # 8: By studying hard in school, you can leave the world a better place than the one you were born into.
Reason # 9: Doing well in school can result in you setting a new course for future generations.
Reason # 10: Doing well and getting an educational qualification can open the world to you.
Reason # 11: Succeeding academically can bring you into contact with people you would otherwise never meet, who can help you get along in life.
Reason # 12: By working hard in school, you can lift yourself and your relatives out of poverty.
I believe these reasons to be very compelling, persuasive and motivating enough to convince you that studying hard in school has benefits for you individually as well as for your family and the nation at large.
I have six children, four of whom are currently in school. My wife and I always tell our children to do their best at school. But I have found that sometimes kids do not listen to their own parents. When somebody else talks to them, they tend to listen. I believe it is the same with you.
As a parent, I know that this book contains most of what your parents wish for you to hear and know. It exposes the heart of every parent in the country. I can visualize your parents giving this book to you at the beginning of every year and telling you, “Study hard this year. You have many good reasons to do so. You find those reasons in this book.”
I wish you success in your studies. I wrote this book because I know that you can do well. You have the ability to excel. You have the potential to do better than you have done up to this point in time. I believe in you; you must believe in yourself, and let this book inspire you to be determined to do your very best. You have twelve good reasons to do so.
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