The journey to eventual career success is tough. There are many ups and downs on the path of success. During the course of this journey, life often resembles a roller coaster ride. But, remember that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Recall legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who actually lived this dictum. His success did not come overnight. He had slogged long and hard, for years for this—both physically and mentally. He used to tell people that the secret of his success was a combination of physical and mental health training. During the course of his exasperating and arduous training, he had resolved and committed to himself: “Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” His example is worth emulating by you. Now is the time for you too to train yourself and prepare hard & long—keeping a balance of mind, body and soul—to emerge victorious in your career.
A healthy body is the abode of a healthy mind, which is necessary for successful examination preparation. Like Muhammad Ali, you also need a healthy diet. Junk food slows your mental processes down. It wastes precious preparation and study time as well as precious answer writing time when you appear for examinations. The time-tested benefits of a healthy mind and healthy body are all the more relevant in the present times of Covid-19 pandemic.
You need to get enough rest in order to be able to perform to the best of your ability at the time of preparation as well as when you are writing the exam. You should sleep well. Try to complete eight to nine hours of sleep in every 24-hour cycle. Like all non-nocturnal living beings, human bodies also follow a circadian rhythm. We wake up with the early rays of the Sun or in the pre-dawn hours and we feel the need to go to bed by the late evening hours. You must adjust your study hours to follow the circadian rhythm of your body. Study done during the morning hours is more effective than study done late at night. You should rest when you feel drowsy. You should not push yourself to study when you are sleepy. That becomes a waste of time.
Please remember that human beings are social animals. If you turn yourself into an isolated individual in order to focus on your examination preparation, it can have a harmful impact on your social and mental health. You should be able to find time for your parents, siblings, family members, relatives, friends and loved ones no matter how busy your preparation schedule might be. Spending time with your well-wishers will provide necessary and welcome breaks in the middle of arduous study schedules. These people will also give you tips and guidance about how you can succeed in your career. The human brain does not focus very well on studies for more than two to three hours without a break. The brain needs a 10 to 15 minute break after studying intensively for two to three hours at a stretch. If you push yourself to study for five to six hours without a break, the law of diminishing returns will apply after two or three hours have passed. The amount of alertness and retention of learning will diminish after the first two or three hours of intensive study have elapsed. At the same time, it is also important to limit the number of your social interactions every day so that they do not become a source of distraction. Social interactions should not become time-wasters. These should not eat into your study time. Please use anything that refreshes your mind— like general reading or music—in a controlled and balanced manner to add variety to your study breaks.
You should remain positive and maintain positive influences around you at all times. Any time when you feel a bit low, it is important to check your negative thought patterns and consciously replace them with positive thoughts. Think of neural pathways as pathways in a garden. The paths that you consciously tread on will become better defined and the paths that you abandon in the garden will automatically get overgrown with greenery over time and will disappear. It is the same with your brain. Thought patterns that are consciously and repeatedly reinforced will dominate your brain and thereby define your personality.
I wish you a healthy mind in a healthy body as you move ahead in your career journey!
Surendra Kumar Sachdeva