Friday, June 9, 2023

Less external motivation and more internal discipline: the secret of success in university

In studies or at work, discipline is a habit of commitment and self-control, which together with personality and behavior, can lead us to achieve our goals.

According to the first meaning of the Royal Spanish Academy, “habit” is the “special way of proceeding or behaving acquired by the repetition of the same or similar acts, or originating from instinctive tendencies”.

An internal impulse, not imposed

Scientific studies show that the student learns more the more motivated he is. However, this motivation must not depend on an external factor: we must internalize what we should want to do and what we have decided to do. It is this intrinsic motivation, accompanied by the experience of freedom and autonomy, that matters most, not that derived from teacher pressure and control.

A recent study by the University of Huelva on a sample of 938 university students indicated that students “study to have a better future, a secure life, to be competent in their homework and to earn money, to be successful in life and also to know … to a lesser extent, they study to be able to help others, for social responsibility, to integrate into society and promote justice, to understand the world, to develop their creativity and to improve self-confidence”.

Why did we decide to study?

To understand why it’s hard for us to maintain discipline and fight laziness, it helps to ask yourself questions like:

  1. Why am I really studying a degree?

  2. What made me sign up?

  3. Am I doing what should be accepted by society or what I have been advised?

  4. What do I want to learn?

Some authors define Generation Z (those people born with the creation of the internet, between 1994 and 2009) as the generation of immediacy.

Faced with the immediacy in which our lives move, with the daily distractions and impediments that prevent us from achieving our goals, it can be easier to fall into conformity or victimhood than to find the strength to be masters of our actions.

Keeping in mind that discipline must be exercised to get stronger and refusing the idea of ​​quitting at the earliest opportunity are key issues.

The importance of the title

A college degree is something in the long run, so you have to be patient. It’s not enough to want: you need to dedicate hours of study, a lot of constancy and concentration. Although it may be worth remembering that the title of a graduate, master or doctor is not the most important thing.

Even admitting that opting for better paid positions may be a factor, and that there is still no way to measure all the knowledge a person accumulates in a job interview. While there are studies indicating that the majority of jobs will go to those with higher education, the goal shouldn’t make us forget the process. It is the pathway to graduation that will make us the person we become, and will allow us to develop skills, aptitudes and attitudes, as well as meet a wide variety of people.

Don’t go to extremes

Everything we do and don’t do has an impact in the short, medium and long term. You don’t always have to do things because you feel like it; rather, we should make them simply because we have to, always asking ourselves if these decisions bring us any closer to the goals we set for ourselves.

Asking for more and being demanding on yourself shouldn’t mean competing with other colleagues, but with yourself. This is not extreme rigidity: excessive self-control can lead to becoming less spontaneous, flexible or creative and even to suffer more stress than necessary.

How to find inspiration

We can all feel lost at some point in our lives and lose our rhythm and discipline. However, there are some mechanisms to get it back again. It is about finding the one that best suits our personality:

  1. The emotional push. Identify which emotions are preventing me from reaching my goal: frustration, fear, guilt… And which ones I felt when I signed up and started my first day of class: joy, hope, triumph , satisfaction… and use these last impulsive emotions.

  2. Have references, ask those who have already experienced the same situation as tutors or teachers.

  3. Exercise.

  4. Don’t deny the situation, but deal with it.

  5. Reading can also make us change our perspective, it can inspire us.

  6. Rejoice with colleagues.

  7. Organize your day, plan, prioritize; Sometimes we think we have a lack of time, when in reality it’s a lack of planning.

Discipline is not a sacrifice, but a personal decision. And one aspect to keep in mind is that “for every discipline there is a multiple reward”, as the American entrepreneur Jim Rohn said.

Consoli Quintana Rojo, PhD in Economics and Commerce. Professor and researcher in the Applied Economics area of ​​the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of Ciudad Real, University of Castilla-La Mancha

This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original.

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