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SKYROCKET YOUR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE



To every difficult problem, there is a simple solution. This book is a simple-lasting solution to all difficult academic problems.

If you want to skyrocket your academic performance, this book will show you how best to do that.

The principles in this book are profoundly simple, and yet, simply profound.



Vol. 1













Table of Content

Preface

  1. Introduction

  2. Academic soaring is feasible

  3. Thought makes it feasible

  4. Attitude makes it accessible

  5. SMART Goal makes it attainable

  6. Planning Maps out the road

  7. Time management puts you on the right track

  8. 3D keeps you on the track

  9. Passion accelerates the whole process

  10. Frequently Asked Questions


















The Book–Skyrocket Your Academic Performance

All information, facts, and figures at my disposal suggest that three important conditions must be met for any student to soar academically, these conditions are:

  • Inspiration and motivation

  • Accurate knowledge of how best to facilitate learning process and

  • Approach exam with a touch of excellence.

Skyrocket your academic performance is a series book with three volumes. Each volume is written to handle each of the sections highlighted above. The volumes are as follow:

  • Volume 1: Skyrocket Your Academic Performance.

  • Volume 2: Understand How You Learn and Facilitate Learning Process.

  • Volume 3: Excellent Approach to Exam.

Spices: Each chapter of this book has Golden Nuggets, spotlights, and the Synopsis. The Golden Nuggets are five captures of important point or quotes that illustrate the ideas in the chapter.

Some ideas are too rich to overlook. I used the spotlights to reiterate, summarize and emphasis such ideas. And lastly, the synopsis is used to summarize each chapter.

Endorsements

May I congratulate you for this book in your hands. This book is not about person, but about a proven way to skyrocket your academic performance. Abbey B. Mogaji unveils the undeniable vital principles of good academic performance.  He also analysed critically, the contextual framework of how we can become success academically.

However, the book is one of the best medicines that I can prescribe as dose to all that desire great academic performance. Finally, this book is a must read for anybody who wishes to succeed academically. Read, digest, process, and comprehend whilst going through Abbey B. Mogaji school of thought.

Sam Adewumi (P Sam)

Author (There is greatness in your mind)

"Books are like humans, when you encounter them they either influence you positively or negatively. They never leave you the same. Fortunate to be one of the first readers of this bookSkyrocket Your Academic Performance, I am convinced that just like it did to me, the book will rub off on you positively."

Udom Ndinanaki

This book is a practical guide for success especially in academics. It is highly recommended for as many as are willing to get the best from life and academics.

Olugbenga Olaniyi

Author (Success is who you are)

Bacon Francis said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” This is one of such books to be chewed and digested.

Adigun Folorunsho Ajetola

The Polytechnic Ibadan











AUTHORS NOTE

For someone reading this book, it is a commencement of a new journey to better his academic performance. For someone else, it is a confirmation of being on the right track, for yet another; it is to maintain his performance with a minimised stress and sweat. Whichever category you fall, do not take it for granted. I trust that the words in this book will perform miracles in and for you.

The Aim of this Book

This book aims at changing your academic performance for good with a reduced effort. It is not to impress, oppress or suppress anyone but rather to impact your academic performance.

The Mission

The route to success is veiled; until it is unveiled, unproductive struggle is bound to continue. What a luck this book is on the mission to unveil the route that leads to academic excellence and as a result terminate academic struggles in all its forms. It will also expose the intangible things that engenders noiseless academic breakthrough.

How to Use This Book

If you are in secondary school, certainly, I expect that you read this book every term. If you are an undergraduate, I recommend that you read it every semester, preferably, at the beginning of each semester. If you are a post graduate student, I suggest you read every session. As you read, be slow! But make sure you are steady. For slow and steady win the race.

Warranty

The book only guarantees academic transformation if you understand and practically apply the principles and ideas therein. Anything short, the result is unpredictable.

Special Note

  • Throughout this book, I have used masculine gender, only for the purpose of easy writing. The principles apply to both genders. I really regret any problem this may cause.

  • Most of my examples and stories are cut out of the fabric of real life. But in all of the negative cases, the real name and identity have been changed to protect those individuals confidentiality.




Preface

United Kingdom Philosopher, Bertrand Russell was on point when he said,The very best proof that something can be done is that others have already done it”. In other words, “Any principle that had worked for one can work for all”. The principles you are about to learn in this book are tested and can be trusted. It has worked for me and millions of people who understood and had practically applied it.

The difference between students who perform excellently well academically and those who perform averagely is not necessarily intelligent quotient (IQ); most time not how much they work, but because the former knows and apply some fundamental principles that just does not occur to the latter— I have been in both shoes, so I can relate better.

One may probably be wondering, “What does it mean to Skyrocket your performance?” It means to apply some intangible principles that help minimize our effort to produce our peak performance. Frankly, these principles may appear simple, but they can avert academic failure and help you catapult your performance beyond your wildest imagination.

As you will discover in this book, regardless of your current academic performance level, learning and right application of these principles will make a whole lot of difference. It will command not only drastic change but, also, shoot up your academic performance beyond your thought.

There was a particular time in my life that I would need to work off my hands before I could learn my school works; I would have to sweat bullet before I could retain and recall the little I managed to learn. In fact, I was tempted to believe that academic learning is the most difficult task that ever existed. And obviously, I got some evidence to justify my claim. One of it is this; if academic learning is easy, many people will love and do it.

Despite my logical justification, I was uncomfortable with my academic performance. I struggled so much to learn and learn so little. But, things changed—I mean visible change—when I discovered and accepted that:

  • Academic excellence is feasible for me.

  • My thought is indispensably important.

  • My attitude determines my altitude.

  • Setting SMART goals are indispensably germane.

  • I have to plan and follow my plans to achieve my goal.

  • My time deserves to be properly managed.

  • I have to do what I love or love what I do.

  • My feelings impacted my performance.

  • It takes discipline to achieve anything tangible.

  • God is the ultimate giver of good and perfect gifts.

  • The best learning approaches that best suit me.

  • I have to facilitate my learning process.

All these worked together to change not only my performance but, also my life. It will do the same for you if you can take the pain to learn and apply them. So, I recommend that you do not read this note to be enlightened but consume it to be illuminated. Trust me, if you can devour, digest, and apply the content you are holding, your academic performance will experience a visible turnaround.

Zig Ziglar was correct when he said, “Just any dummy can succeed if he cares to know what it takes.” But I think the statement earn more credit when re-coined this way “Just any dummy can succeed if he cares to know and do what it takes”. This is because knowing is one thing but doing is another entirely different but important one. The former is important but more important is the latter. So, I recommend a Bruce Lee idea that, Knowing is not enough; we must apply what we know. Willing is not enough, we must do what we are willing to door else, what we know will be of zero use to us.

Spotlight: “It is more blessed to be the doer of God’s word than even to have been the mother of Jesus.” The same way, it is better to act than to read all day and night.

Finally, I strongly believe that no matter how well you think you learn, after reading this book, you will be able to achieve more, in less time, with less effort.

Happy Reading!!!



















1

INTRODUCTION

Every person created by God is not only eligible to excellent academic performance; he also has the potential to raise his performance to a desirable level.


Golden Nuggets

  • Disregard the philosophies, principles, theories and stories that degrade academic excellence. As long as you are a student, academic excellence is indispensably germane.

  • I am not telling you it’s going to be that easy, what I am saying is that it is going to worth it. Art Williams

  • To plummet requires little or no effort; it can be automatic. But to upgrade your academic performance, you may need to sweat bullet; it must be consciously worked out.

  • For those who do not know, you do not have to be all down smart before you better your academic performance; you do not need to score 180 in IQ test either.

  • What you need is:

Motivation—this volume handles that.

Know how you learn—well treated in 2.0

Facilitate the learning process—Volume 2.0 handles that.

Approach exam with excellence—Volume 3.0 holds that







The Concept of Skyrocketing

Encarta dictionary defines the term ‘skyrocket’ as, “To go up dramatically or quickly or make something do this”.

In this book, to skyrocket your academic performance means to dramatically shoot up your performance with a drastically reduced effort. Thus, the central aim of this book is to “Help students reach their maximum performance with minimal effort.”

Skyrocketed’ Vs ‘Unskyrocketed’ Performance

Skyrocketed performance is when one’s performance springs up with the least required effort. That was my experience during my Higher National Diploma (HND) program. I applied minimal but calculated effort to produce a skyscraping academic performance. What baffled me was how fast this improvement happened.

Graphically:


Interestingly, I had experienced ‘unskyrocketed’ performance too. These experiences put me in a better position to teach the subject of upgrading academic performance. Before I knew and applied the principles you are about to learn—during my ND programme, I invested a lot of effort and resources and yet got irritating grades. My effort did not commensurate with my performance. This graph explains it better.



Get the Point

Fingers are not equal. I recognise the fact that we do not have equal talent. Our abilities vary, so is our performance peak point. As a result, skyrocketing does not necessarily mean to graduate with a first class. But it essentially means to maximise your potential—get the best possible grade for you. However, the least potential that anyone can have will produce the grade next to a first class.

Spotlight: Skyrocketing is not necessarily being the best; it is being your best. It is getting the best you can by doing the best you can.

The Importance of Academic Excellence

It seems too obvious to mention that academic excellence is important especially to students. Yet I believe it is of utmost importance to say it because many people take what it involves—learning—for granted.

They see learning as a natural function of life; they talk about it as though it happens automatically. This belief may be true but it is incomplete. We obviously learn some things automatically. For example, we do not sweat to learn our mother language; nobody practically taught us how to eat, cry, laugh, or frown. Nevertheless, nothing can be learned to a ‘professional level’ without an additional effort aside natural functionality. A good example is learning to fly a plane, carry out a surgery, learning academic work, and many other professional or technical tasks. To effectively carry out any of these tasks, intentional learning is required.

The truth is that an intentional and effective learning is not commonplace. It requires conscious belief, effort, and action to make it happen. This explains why an English proverb said, “There is no royal road to learning.” Until you realise and accept this fact, you may not learn for academic excellence.

Spotlight: Regardless of what anybody says about you, no matter whom they think you are; you have the potential to learn than you give yourself credit for.

The importance of academic excellence was as obvious to me as water is to human survival. Not until a few years ago when I heard some religious fellowship leaders so degraded it. One of them would always say, “I know people who graduated with ‘Pass’ working in Oil Company and top government agencies.”

They read the King James Version of James 1 vs. 9 which reads, “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that, he is exalted” to justify their position. My friend, Elvis hated such messages with all his fiber. He called it ‘consolatory message’. He would ask, “Does graduating with first class disqualify one working in Oil Company?” The truth is this; the vast majority of people at the top today enjoyed academic excellence.

My findings even showed that most of the leading religious leaders in Nigeria enjoyed academic excellence. E.A Adeboye of Redeemed Christian Church of God was an exceptional student.1 W.F Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Ministry is a first class graduate of mathematics.2 For D.K Olukoya of Mountain of Fire, he was the first student to graduate with first class in the department of microbiology in UNILAG. As at 2015, Olukoya’s academic record was still intact.3

On this note, I advise preachers and other religious leaders among the students to quit these consolatory messages and start preaching preparatory ones—messages that will prepare students for academic success

Spotlight: Grade does not necessarily determine our success in life. But it can be a temporary thermometer that shows how far one can go.

Does this imply that your academic performance determines your destiny? Capital NO. Your destiny is in the hands of your Creator. He determines and tailors it. Just as the manufacturers determine the purpose of a product, same is applicable to you; God, not your academic performances determines what your destiny will be. He also determines the path that will lead you to the predestined destiny.

Spotlight: Academic success does not determine your overall success. But even the illiterates know that good grades are life’s way of saying that there is a bright future in store for you.

No Substitute for Skill

One of the ingredients required for academic exploit is SKILL. Sir William Curtis (1752-1829), Lord Mayor of London proposed three Rs as the basics skills necessary for elementary education.4 However; I think it should be four Rs. They are Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and leaRning skills—I added the fourth one.

Anointing, grace, and divinity have an undisputable role to play. But, believe me, honestly, there is no spiritual substitute for skills. A Spirit-filled man cannot just choose to fly a plane if he is not a trained pilot. If he does, he is a disaster going somewhere to happen. It requires conscious effort to acquire learning skill; it does not jump on you because you are holy or because you are God’s beloved.

One of hero, Rev Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Center, told a story of his school days that somewhat illustrates this idea better. According to him, he was not quite sound in mathematics. Unfortunately, he failed a mathematics course in his first semester on campus. In a bid to clear this carryover, he tried to handle it as most Christians do today. He engaged in fasting and prayers for several days. After a rigorous prayer and fasting, he retook the paper and scored 28% — pass mark was 40%. Like every student who fails will feel, he felt devastated and said to himself, “I have not prayed enough”.

The following year, he reregistered the course. This time, he went into marathon fasting and praying. He wrote the re-sit and maintains his first score — 29%. Does this mean prayers do not work? Far from it! Prayer and fasting work wonders. But they cannot substitute skill.

Spotlight: Spiritual gimmicks cannot take the place of skill. So, you cannot use these gimmicks and expect an accurate result. Laye! It does not work that way.

Did young Sam fail because he was intellectually dull? Of course, no! Could it be because he was destined to fail? I am afraid no. I guess he only employed wrong tactics. For the third attempt, he decided to change his tactics. He went after one of his friends who understood mathematics like a wizard to put him through. He learnt and practised the rudiment. Then he fasted, prayed and studied hard. When the result was released, it blew his friends and lecturer’s mind.5

It is important at this juncture to understand that I am only addressing imbalance and not criticising fasting and prayers. I incurably believe that fasting and prayers work wonders, but check and balance must be stipulated.

Every Student Loves Academic Excellence

An English Proverb goes, “If wishes are horses, beggars will ride”. Likewise, “If academic excellence is to come on a platter of gold, every student will graduate with a first class or its equivalent.” Good grades are inherently the desire of every student—in their right senses. So do not pretend you do not want or need it.

Some students erroneously accept that academic excellence is out of reach for them. Some others are not willing to put in the effort and time to prepare for this feat. They pretend as though they hated it. Such students are somewhat described in a quote from Eleanor Doun, “Too many people avoid discovering the secret of success because deep down them, they know the secret may be hard work.”

Spotlight: The chief reason why many students pretend as though they hate first class is because they suspect deep down them that what it takes will stretch them.

Why Should You Want Academic Excellence?

What do you stand to benefit if you perform your best? This question must be answered by any student who desires to skyrocket his performance. Positive answers can serve as your source of motivation throughout the pursuit.

Spotlight: If you are aware and convinced that a pursuit deserves your ultimate time and energy, you are not likely to abuse any opportunity it presents.

The answer will also serve as the driving force that will propel you to perform at your best. Here are my personal drives;

  • Make some persons proud: I wanted to make my poor mother and the entire family proud. At least, my mother told me she is proud of me for the first time in my entire life when I graduated with a distinction.

  • Build the future: Charles F. Kettering generously advised that We should invest in the future because that is where you are going to spend the rest of your life.” So, I believed one way to do that as a student is to do what is required, even if they are difficult.

  • Set the pace: I am afraid nobody has graduated with a first class or distinction in my family. So I desperately desire to set the pace. I am grateful to God who made it a dream come through.

  • Significance: Every individual especially in his right senses, want to be significant. I also understand that we have our own idea of what it means to be significant, and these ideas differ. Mine as a student was to be a distinguished student.

  • A great hunger for success: I have an indestructible desire to succeed. I believed academic excellence would provide the confidence and competence required to get my desire. So, I became determined to a fault to do everything in my power to succeed.

  • Commitment to excellence: Anything worth doing at all, they say is worth doing best. I believed and wanted to run with these words. Not only that, I had dedicated my life to excellence and so it becomes impossible for me to settle for anything less than excellence.

  • Be a source of inspiration: I found it motivating and inspiring each time I read or hear stories of individual who had excellent academic record. I wanted my academic record to inspire and motivate people too.

Spotlight: Graduating with a distinction gave me a new lease of life. I trust that it will give you the same if you afford the price.

Overcoming the Odds

Many daring odds threatened the reality of my dream. It does the same for every student who achieved such feat. I think you should expect and prepare for these inevitable moments if you dream as such.

Here are some quotes that kept me moving even at my weakest moment. I read them every time I felt dazzled. I recommend that you write and paste these quotes in a conspicuous place in your room. They will do you more than good.

  • Do something today that your future self will thank you for.6

  • Do not quit, suffer, endure now and live the rest of your life as a champion.-Muhammad Ali.

  • Do not put till tomorrow what you can or should do today.—Benjamin Franklin

  • Winners are not people who never get tired, exhausted or fail, but, people who despite all these never quit.7

  • Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

  • If I fail to do what is right now, a year from now I will wish I done it. Studying hard is what is right for now. It is better I rigorously engage with it now so that I will not regret tomorrow.

  • When you think about quitting, think about why and how you started.

  • You never prosper in the affair of life until you know and accept that you are the architect of your own destiny. Anomalous

  • Surely, there will be obstacles, but, with determination and perseverance, there are no limits.

  • You have to fight through the bad days in order to earn the best days.

  • What you are going to be tomorrow, you are becoming today. However, the determinants are the choices you make and the ones you fail to make.

  • To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the crown. Why? The crown is meant for those that will give their best.

I strongly recommend that you pause at this junction and go through these quotes again, this time slowly. Meditate on them. If possible read them aloud or memorise them. They are powerful incentives that can help you go through the inevitable discouraging moments ahead.

SYNOPSIS

  • Transforming your academic performance means taking your performance to a whole new level with a reduced effort. It means getting to your peak performance with minimal stress.

  • Whoever you are, wherever you are, you have the potential to learn anything whenever you feel compelled to learn. If you can learn, then you have the potential to uplift your performance.

  • Assimilation is not always automatic. Students do not necessarily learn because the teacher is teaching—you do not learn either because you are reading. Effective learning is deliberately triggered.

  • Academic excellence is important. As far as you’re a student, it should be important to you; it should be a priority.

  • Not only will this book show you that academic struggling has overstayed its welcome. It will also unveil how to show her the way out of your life.

2

ACADEMIC SOARING IS FEASIBLE

Hold me by my words, whoever you are, wherever you are, whichever course you chose, whatever your present performance is, YOU CAN SKYROCKET YOUR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE whenever you so desire. The first step is to believe that excellent performance is possible for you.


Golden Nuggets

  • If you can conceive and believe it, I have no doubt in my mind that you will receive it. Though not by merely believing but by right work towards it.

  • Academic prosperity is feasible for every student. It is not for some selected few, but for every student who will be willing to pay the price.

  • Accept the fact that academic excellence is feasible for you. Admit that it is your birthright and watch yourself learn more; perform more than you ever dreamed possible.

  • The students who perform exceptionally well are students who know, admit and believe that they deserve excellent performance.

  • Doubt the feasibility of academic success and it eludes you. Believe it, and you will walk in the reality of your belief.


The Most Fundamental Step

What grade would you love to graduate with? I asked a 200 level student. After a long pause, “I love second class lower division.” He replied. I could not believe my ears. “Why for crying out loud do you love lower division?“ I demanded. “It is not as if I hate first class but I felt it is not meant for students like me. And besides, it requires a special expertise that I cannot afford.” Most students are like this student. The upshot of this erroneous belief is that such students will never know excellence.

The first and the most fundamental step to academic success is to believe convincingly that academic exploit is feasible and also accessible to you. Not only you, so it is for every student who is willing and ready to work for it. You can graduate with that your desired grade; you can perform at that your desired level, only if you accept convincingly that you can.

Not too long ago, I overheard another student telling his friend that “First class is meant for the intelligent students, not for your or my type of students.” This boy’s claim could have been more valid if he viewed intelligence correctly. Truthfully, everybody created by God has an appreciable intelligence that can help him go through the world successfully.

If this is true, why did many students perform less than expected? My case for example, when I was in ND, I was struggling between average and below average. I never knew that I had genius lying fallow in me. An encounter changed my performance. In a space of months, the same average student became an academic high-flier. Like old me, many students have no idea of the potential deposited in them. Some others know but are physically and mentally lazy to engage it.

Spotlight: There is a genius in you. If you perform less than a genius, you choose to—this choice may be a consciously or unconsciously made.

Permit me to clarify myself so as to avoid misunderstanding. How well you can possibly perform is illimitable. Basil Walsh understood this when he declared, “We do not need more ability or more strength or greater opportunity. What we need is to use what we have.” As a matter of fact, no matter the level of your performance, we all have been given more brain power, more potential than we can possibly exhaust in a lifetime- even if we are to live longer than Methuselah. So, why on earth do you think academic soaring is infeasible for you?

Like I have noted, most students conclude that first class or distinction is meant for some set of special people. A good example of such student was a guy I met at our campus market square—while I was in school. I left him with a tip on his demand. This guy, who was so grateful and happy, could not hold but show his excitement. He among other things prayed for me that “God will empower you to graduate with an upper credit”. I smiled, thanked him and walked away.

What baffled me was that this handsome guy was not concerned about my present academic status—and obviously, I was doing better than he wished for me. This guy, from my distant assessment, was a well-meaning young man. He never meant evil, but, he was a product of his society; the society that believes academic excellence is meant for distinguished few. So I guess he thought I was not looking like one of those precious few.

Spotlight: ‘Academic performance upgrading’ is possible for every student. The precious few who get it are those who took their time to find out what it takes and follow through.

Like this boy, if you have in any way internalized this counter-academic development belief, I think it is high time you reconsider and unlearn those beliefs. It will do you more good if you embrace the possibility belief system. The belief that academic exploit is feasible and accessible to you. Though, it does not happen on a platter of gold; but on the platform of right hard work.

An acquaintance was confused with the phrase “accessible to all”. He mistook it for “possession of all”. Something that is accessible does not mean you have it. It only means that with complete yet accurate knowledge and effort, you can have it. It means it is achievable or obtainable.

Do not Mix It Up

To say that ‘academic uplifting is feasible and accessible to every student’, does not mean academic success will drop on your lap. It requires a conscious decision backed-up by deliberate effort. A wise saying goes, “A man who jumps from a high place intentionally, does not suffer as much as the man who is pushed”. The reason is simple; the man who jumps is prepared for the worse. The same is applicable here: “A student, who consciously decides to come out with flying colour and intentionally work out his decisions, will enjoy academic success than his mates who waited on their fates alone”.

To say that ‘believing and willingness is the most fundamental step’ does not mean it is the only step. An English proverb says, “If there is a will, there is a way”. It is the believing and willingness that empowers academic highfliers to find the way.

Academic Excellence Is Predictable

Academic breakthrough is not a random occurrence. Rather, it is predictable. It obeys some principles. Satisfaction of these principles assures immeasurable success.

At some point of my life, I was an average student scoring average grades. Later I began to score marks that are below average. I was uncomfortable with these ugly grades. And so, it caused me an inner ache which became unbearable for me—that is another story anyway. I was confused until I learnt the principles that governed academic success. The application of these principles revolutionized my academic performance. I was taken from where I used to be to where I wished to be. It is easy to conclude that I was fortunate. Yes, I was. But so can everyone.

For years now, I have taught these principles in academic seminars and private discussions with countless individuals. Many of these folks have attested to the validity and authenticity of the principles and ideas shared in this book. It has done to them the same thing as it did to me. And I am persuaded that it will do the same to you if you will learn and apply them.

Spotlight: Academic success does not just happen to anyone. It only certifies those that satisfy its principles.

Many Stories Are Around

If you are a student in Nigeria, I can be sure you have heard different versions of stories that spelt how difficult it is to achieve academic excellence. I plead with you not to buy any of those stories. They are single stories; they are incomplete and are not to be upheld.

Nigerian author and storyteller, Chimamanda Adichie has an insightful take on single story. She says, “Single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story becomes the only story.”1

Spotlight: Here is the balanced story, “To perform excellently in academics requires hard work. Countless odds will threaten its reality. But, a good number of students had experienced it despite these daring odds.

Popular among these stories are summarized as follow; “Students who merited academic excellence had been victimized by some kind of sadistic lecturer”, “You need to be a superman to perform excellently well”, “The process is just too difficult”, “To graduate with first class, you must be from out of this world.” “Students who have graduated with a first class lived what Shakespeare would call ‘charmed life’”, I can go on and on.

I must say here that, there is really no scale to measure how easy or difficult it is to Skyrocket your performance. But you can be rest assured that it requires strong desire, determination, discipline diligence and dedication to your academic work. Why am I particularly reiterating this? I do not want you to be like Adelabu who once told me, “If I hear a story about how something did not work out for others I used that as evidence that it will not work for me.”

A student walked up to me after a seminar, according to her, I was particularly worried about the issue of these many erroneous stories around the campus. Wearing a confused face, she asked why? Yes, I am bitter. I replied. “I should be more bitter” I said. Then I told her how I was victimized by these stories in my National Diploma (ND) days.

Spotlight: The fact that something does not work for others is not evidenced that it will not work for you. This can only be true for you if you get convinced and internalize it.

When I gained admission, I heard different versions of these stories but disregarded them all. But this time, it was coming from a cousin who I respected. After describing how difficult it is to pass with flying colours, he went on to offer me this piece of advice; “Work very hard to score at least 60% in all your courses. If you do, you will definitely make our family proud.

Unfortunately for ignorant me, I yielded to this faint-hearted advice and set a goal to score 60% in all my courses and make my family proud. I went through hell to get close to that goal. And at the end, I was not sure if my family members were proud of me. Fortunately, I was opportune to have a second chance—(HND). Yet again, I remembered my cousin’s advice that informed my then goal but got it struck out. Because the result it produced was unpalatable for me.

I do not know how best to describe what happened. I just know that “Either by design or by default, I realized I was under utilizing my potentials and something must be done to make a difference. This I did and got my desire”. The “Something” and many other things that I learnt afterward is the contents of this book. So, sit back, make sure you are in a relaxed position as you learn what makes academic giants.

Spotlight: If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done.

Misconceptions about Academic Prosperity

There are a whole lot of popular mistaken ideas and beliefs that most students have internalized. The painful thing about this is that some of us got so wrapped in these misconceptions that we miss the beauty of the truth. I strongly believe that is why the Bible says, “You shall be indeed free the day you know the truth.”

Spotlight: Until you identify and discard your misconceptions about academic performance, improvement is not feasible for you.

Popular among these misconceptions are as follows:

Destiny Is the Deciding Factor

There are bunches of mistaken thought about destiny. I have seen people who credit every happening to destiny; I have heard severally that you cannot outrun your destiny. Many people talk about destiny as an external force that arbitrarily pushes us into a situation that cannot change or be altered. To further confuse us they say, Destiny can only be delayed but cannot be denied.

Amaka and Uche were course mate. Amaka graduated with a first class and her friend, Uche, with a pass. When asked, Uche described Amaka as a young progressive lady who is destined to graduate with a first class. I cannot help but ask if Uche was destined to graduate with a pass? The subject of destiny will eternally be controversial. But I will only recommend that you cooperate with God to decide your destiny and not allow destiny to decide your academic performance.

Spotlight: Those who see destiny instead of their input as the deciding factor are slaves of destiny. As a matter of fact, such individuals have a limited chance to become their best.

IQ Is the Principal Factor

Contrary to the popular belief that one must have an outrageous Intelligent Quotient to skyrocket his academic, is the reality. I have seen students with high IQ struggling academically. I am sure you have seen one too. I have met students who scored low marks in IQ test graduating with first class.

I am not saying that IQ is irrelevant. For sure you need IQ to upraise your performance; my point is that one can fail with an astounding IQ. In the same vein, you can get ahead of your class with what seemed to be low IQ. At least, I have seen students who came from the rare end of the class to take the lead.

IQ has an unquestionable advantage in the process of shooting up your performance. My point is that it is not the principal factor. Plenty others things are more or equally important as IQ. If I am to say, IQ is just as a raw material needed to manufacture a product. If nothing is done to or on the raw material, it will remain a raw material till pig flies.

Spotlight: It is not enough to have a high IQ; the main thing is to use it to better your performance.

For those who insist that they must have an out-of-this-world IQ, and those who believe they have a low IQ; do not feel buried, here is good news; Intellectual ability is not fixed. It can be improved; it can be cultivated.

Today Albert Einstein is synonymous with genius.2 It may shock you to know that this same man was once described by his teacher as a slow learner. He may be a slow learner before, but before his demise, he built his intelligence to the highest possible in his generation. Like I have stated above, I used to be an ordinary student with ordinary result. But now, many people who know me described me as genius—and my performance attests to that.

After studying the relationship between IQ and academic performance, Max Lucado concluded that “In academic endeavor, ‘I CAN’ is hundred times more important than IQ”. I stand by his conclusion.

Spotlight: Intelligent is not static. It changes not with age but on usage. It can be improved, and deteriorate as well. It all depends on how much or well you used it.

Mathematically:

Frequent usage of mental power = Improvement

Infrequent usage = deterioration

Luck Plays the Leading Role

Too often than not, many people used the word “luck” to describe things that seem to be unexplainable to them. One of my course mates once told me; you are lucky to graduate with a fine grade. I looked, smiled and replied, “Thank you”. Such thought is erroneous. Success in all ramifications has and will never answer to what most people call luck. It will only do if the luck will put you on the right track—the track that will help you pay the price that success demand.

Spotlight: Academic achievement can be torpedoed by the idea that it is mostly a matter of luck, wealth and native ability. This is why I recommend that you exclude the term ‘luck’ in your pursuit.

From the little experience I have gathered, and from the accumulated experience of other experts that I have studied, I felt justified to say; “Nothing happens for nothing”. Academic success cannot and will not drop to your laps if you do nothing to get it. It can and will always drop on the lap of the students who have tirelessly worked for it.

I have always believed that “God is the author of all true success”. This is the rugged truth. But it does not happen like a magic because God is not a magician—though His deeds are incomprehensible to the world even more than magic. He is a simple-complex and principled God.

Spotlight: The process of upgrading your performance has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with the law of cause and effect. This law simply reads, “For every effect in our lives, there is a cause(s).”

Background Is a Differential Factor

My ears burn when I hear people attached their ugly academic performance to their background. I, like most people who grew up in a village, had a horrible educational background. I was out of school for two years while in primary school. I attended a village secondary school where it was uncommon for a student to pass Senior Secondary Certificate Examination once.

A school where the only English words some of us learnt for six-year is “Forget me not Abbey” or “Always remember me—Abbey”, that we write everywhere in the school compound. There was a slight improvement in my set as our new principal insisted on the yardstick for promotion to SSS 3. If you care to know, the benchmark was an ability to read in English language. More than half of the class failed.

All the same, some of us—not all anyway—got back on learning track. And we are doing well now. I said this in one of my seminars. Some of the participants thought it was an exaggeration. The truth is that I am not exaggerating. If you have been to the village before you can bear my witness. Some of those guys you see riding bike—Okada—are secondary school leavers. I make a bet; vast majority of them cannot fluently understand English language let alone speaking or writing it.

Spotlight: But the same lackadaisical system had produced lawyers, medical doctors, bankers and much more. Why should you then use it as an excuse?

I got the same pathetic training as those boys. But, it has a negligible effect on me. Get me right, I never meant it has no effect, but I mean the effect is negligible. After all, like most of my school mates, I wrote four SSCE exams. There is no single ‘A’ in the four results. And I had to combine two of those results before I was considered for an admission.

Here is a quote that summarizes this idea better, “Men are limited not by the place or circumstance of their birth or by the colour of their skin, but by the size of their dream and the content of their character.”3

Spotlight: Your background cannot put your back on the ground except with your permission. Thus, it is best if you deny it of such permission.

Age, Skin Colour, Gender and Physical Appearance Influences Our Performance

Age, colour of your skin, height—whether tall or short—has zero effect on our academic performance. Being bright academically is guided by some principles. Every single person who understands and satisfies the requirement at anytime in anywhere will get the expected result.

I have heard someone blame his inability to do well in school to the colour of his skin. The boy told me, “I would have been very intelligent if I were Oyinbo—a white man”. I will continue to wonder what on earth makes this guy thinks that way.

I tried to educate him. I told him that intelligence has absolutely nothing to do with the colour of our skin. Science has not found any connection between intelligence and stature—at least not yet. I cited examples of thousands of white-coloured skin students, tall-slim students who drop out of school on a daily basis.

Spotlight: A white, tall, fat student is just as likely as a black, short, slim student to be intelligent, innovative and creative.

I did remember to tell him about several Nigerians who had made a long live achievement in the world of academics. People like; Wole Soyinka, Aliu Jelani, Kole Omotosho, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, W.F Kumuyi, Philip Emagweli, Okonju Eweala and hundreds of others. “All these great icons are black men and woman like me and you,” I concluded.

The Undisputable Reality

It will be unfair on my part if I pretend to be unaware of the current realities in Nigeria and the world at large. A lot of challenges that seem to be beyond students are always present to cause frustrations. Some of it includes; poor infrastructure, particularly electricity and internet connections; lack of tools and materials for effective teaching and learning; uncoordinated government interference—strike here and there. The list can continue.

Talking about the epileptic power supply, it frustrates me beyond what I could bear as I work on this book. It threatens the smooth running of my work, but, I encouraged myself with this thought; my unborn children will be sickened by me if they hear that I quitted this project because of epileptic power supply. You can find encouragement in this thought as well.

Spotlight: Creative people do not find an excuse. They are so uninterested in excuse that even when they see legitimate ones, the ignore them. an uncreative fellow on the other side, find excuse all the time. They are so interested that even when they could not find any, they create one.

Ekenze Chigozie was admitted into Imo State University in 2007 to study optometry. In 2008, he lost his father who was the breadwinner of the family. This posted a serious threat to the smooth running and successful completion of his programme. He contemplated dropping out because of financial constraints. But later gave it a second thought. Recounting this experience after graduating, he said, “I became emotionally unstable and psychologically distorted anytime I remember my dad. And I would always remember him whenever I faced a financial challenge.”

Despite all these daring odds, Chigozie graduated with a first class degree and as the best graduating student of the institution in 2012/2013 academic session. When asked how he managed his financial disability, he noted, “I could not afford the required textbooks, I have to borrow from my colleagues. At some point, some of them were not willing to release their textbook. Then I had to engage some 200l students in tutorials just to raise funds.” There is always a way if there is a will. The way seems to vanish if excuses are tolerated.

Spotlight: Chigozie has a will to perform at his best and so, he found a way. He did what seemed to be improbable. So can you.

What Are Your Excuses?

It tortures my patience when I hear students excusing away their woeful performance in test or exam. In many instances, you hear flimsy excuses like: “The lecturer is unnecessarily wicked”, “I could not afford the textbook I needed”, “I had a headache”, or “The time given was not enough”. It is important to note here that “Giant do not give in or give up excusing, no matter how legitimate it the excuse appears to be”. They are responsible for their actions and inactions—whether the outcome of the actions is good or bad.

Spotlight: Howard Wright said, “Excuses are lies wrapped up in reason.” In fact, they are worst and more dangerous than lies, for they are lies guarded.

The leading complaint we have gotten is time-related. Time and again, you hear students say, “I do not have time”, “No time to check time”, “My schedules are just too tight”, “I am too busy”. My humble advice is that you should not be too busy to do what you must do to uplift your performance. The next time you feel like you do not have enough time or energy to do what you must do; think about the people you admire who has accomplished that feat and more. If they could find the time, then so can you.

Spotlight: The only excuse I will recommend is to distracters. Tell them, “I do not have time for gossiping and backbiting”. But for what is necessary, create time.

One lesson I learnt many years ago that delivered me from excuse is summarized in a quote by John Maxwell. It can do the same for you. It reads, “It is easier to move from failure to success than from excuse to success. If you fail, you got enough hope of achieving success. But, if you give in to excuse, only heaven knows if you will know success. So, do away with excuses of all form. They can only make you feel good but for awhile, in the long run, they will produce regret.

Can These Excuses Replace Your Desire Result?

I doubt it. Some students spend a lot of mental and physical energy finding legitimate excuses. What these folks fail to understand is that legitimate excuses cannot replace result—academic prosperity. At it best, a legitimate excuse can only make you feel good but for awhile; in the long run, it will produce ‘had I know’.

My bone of contention here is that you should shun excuse because it cannot substitute result. I recommend that you never complain, do not explain or defend your action or inaction. Instead, take responsibility for every single thing that happens to you.

Another important point is this: when you make progress, trust me, you do not have an excuse. The same way, when you have an excuse, do not expect progress. It is somewhat impossible to have both. This is why you must get rid of excuses and the things that motivate you to make them. If this is done, I am certain you will increase your chances to bring up your academic performance.

Spotlight: You can have a result or an excuse, you cannot have both. Find a way and not an excuse. Do not make an excuse, instead, make progress.

The End Product of Excuse Is Regret

Every cause in man’s life is propelled by an action or inaction. And the truth is that whether you accept or deny it, you are responsible for every of your actions—whether you took it consciously or not. Many people employ excuse to deny this responsibility, especially when the consequences of the said actions are not too good.

From the inception of the world, no one has benefitted anything from making excuse—not even one. Ancient King Saul can explain better because he was a victim. He lost his throne to excuse. Saul in his impatience took the responsibility of a prophet. He did what was forbidding of him. Yet, instead of him to accept and take responsibility for his misdeed, he saw excuse as an escape route and ended up escaping to an unpleasant regret.4

Excuse comes with no benefit except a fast-fading pleasure. It can only make you feel good but for awhile. So why did you prefer it? Why not accept responsibility and gain more chance to succeed?

Spotlight: You have automatically disqualified yourself for skyrocketing if you hire an excuse. Everybody that has hired excuse has something to regret. You will not be different if you do.

Excuses Assassinate Our Productivity

I feel justified to call excuse a murderer. It has killed millions of dreams, terminated thousands of ambitions, and destroyed hundreds of destinies. It diverts our creative ability to where I like to describe as ‘exile’. This is how it operates, “The very minute we start finding an excuse, our creative ability and other abilities that dictate our productivity get confined that same minute.”

To be productive requires effort, so is making creative excuses. The moment we think of making an excuse, we divert the energy that supposed to be used for creativity and productivity to make up creative excuses. By so doing, our productivity suffers dormancy. I suppose that was why Benjamin Franklin asserted, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for nothing else.”

Spotlight: It has been said by a wise man that “If we put as much energy into achieving our goals as they do making up excuses for their failure, they will actually surprise ourselves.”

Excuse Your Excuses

If you are the type that is an expert in making excuses, I kid you not; you have to be sincere with yourself and change. How will this happen? Attempt to answer this important question. Has there been anyone who has this same excuse as I do who is still successful anyway?

In an attempt to answer the question, if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that there are thousands if not millions who have had it far worse than you, and have gone on to attempt great feats. And I make a bet, what thousands or millions of people have done and succeeded, you can do as well if you give it a try.

Spotlight: What we use as an excuse today will, without a doubt, excuse us out of our dignity tomorrow. Thus, if you want to be dignified academically, it starts today. Excuse all the excuses before they excuse you.



SYNOPSIS

  • Academic soaring is feasible not for selected few, but for every student that will be willing to satisfy its terms and conditions.

  • Your background counts little, the colour of your skin is absolutely irrelevant, your sex, shape, height is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. The principal thing is to know and satisfy the principles.

  • “This is Difficult” is the excuse history never accepts. I am sure your unborn child(ren) will spit in disgust to hear that you are poor, uneducated, illiterate, or uncivilized because things are difficult.

  • This world is designed in a way that if you really want to do something, you will find a way. In case you do not, you will find many flimsy excuses.5

  • I do not need to mention that finding a way is profitable than finding an excuse. So, I suggest you go for the worthwhile option.




3

THOUGHT MAKES IT FEASIBLE

How we think determines our ability to skyrocket our performance. You cannot become what you think you are not. A student who performs at his best is one who thinks and believes he can.

Golden Nuggets

  • The feasibility of your ability to advance your performance is at the mercy of your thought. Think you can, and you will. Think you cannot, I am afraid you will not.

  • Henry Ford said and I paraphrase, If you think you can, you are right. If you think otherwise too you are also right. Both thoughts are right but they produce entirely different results.

  • It may seem hard to believe but it is the gospel truth; your thought is the most powerful tool in the universe. With it, you create your world.

  • Think positive, act positive, and positive things will happen to you, do otherwise and get the opposite.

  • This is a truth that must influence your thinking and action; “in no distance, your belief becomes your reality”




Your Thinking Pattern Is Indispensable

Many students are not doing well not because they could not, neither because they should not; not because they are lazy; nor because they lack the potentials; but because they undermine their efforts with negative thoughts and feelings.

What goes on in your mind determines what goes on around you. If you cloud your mind with negative thoughts, you are more likely to attract and experience negativity. For example, a student who is convinced that he will fail an examination has failed already. Similarly, a student who is convinced of getting good grade will surely do with little right effort. The reason for this is simple; the latter will see reasons from his conviction to exert the needed effort; while the former feels justified based on his conviction not to exert any effort.

Spotlight: If you desire to boost your academic performance, prioritize your thought ahead of your action. We both know that a man cannot travel within and stand still without.

How You See Yourself Matters

How and what you think of yourself affect how you approach your academic tasks. Some students have never for a second think of themselves getting an ‘A’. I doubt if a miracle can help such students to graduate with a first class.

In her 1986 book, “Belief can influence attitude”, Nell Mohney wrote a story of a double-blind experiment performed in a school in the San Francisco Bay area of the US. A principal called three of his teachers and said, “Because the three of you are the best teacher in the system, you will be given ninety selected high-IQ students. We will watch you move these students through this next year at their pace and see how much they can improve their performance.”1

The teachers, the students, and the students’ parents welcomed the idea as a great one. And they all especially enjoyed the school year. The teachers gave their best and the student put in their best as well. When the school year ended, the students had achieved from 20 to 30 percent more than other students in the entire school.

Spotlight: Who and what you think you are, has a lasting effect on your performance. You cannot see yourself as a chicken and yet fly like an eagle.

At the end of the year, the principal again called the three teachers and told them, “I have a confession to make; you did not have ninety of the most intellectual prominent students. They were run-of-the-mill students. We took ninety students at random from the system.

The teachers naturally concluded that their exceptional teaching skill must be responsible for the students’ great progress. “I have another confession,” said the principal. “You are not the brightest of the teachers. Your names were the first three drawn out of the hat”.1

The big question becomes, why did these students’ performance skyrocket? Why did the teachers perform at such an exceptional level for an entire year? Let’s explore these questions in alignment with how our thought influences our performance.

The Game Changer

Competence: This is the ability to do something well. It remains crippled if we are not aware of it. The principal instilled and awaken the awareness of both the teachers and student by telling them they are the best. I believe that the previous chapter of this book will do to you what the principal’s words did to the teachers and students.

Confidence: means to believe in your ability to succeed. Because the entire school community had entrusted their confidence in the teachers and the students, they became confident. They thought of themselves as worthy.


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