Keys to Success
Important Lessons You Can
Borrow from Athletics
(from Chapter 1: “The ‘Secrets’ of Success”)
Recognize the Important,
Cost, and Benefits of Making
The Greeks: “A sound mind in a sound body”
The single most powerful predictor of
success in the long run is commitment, the
willingness and desire to work hard toward
achieving clearly defined goals.
Top achievers are more than just willing to
work hard: they want to work hard.
Benefits of Making a
Commitment to Strengthen
Your Reading Skills
• You will feel better about yourself as a person and
as a student.
• Your grades will improve.
• You will have more confidence.
• You will become more and more motivated.
• You will have better career opportunities.
• You will have an improved personal life, be
happier, more sure of yourself, and be more
What is the Cost of Achieving
These Wonderful Benefits?
A few hours a week; it depends on what
“shape” you are in when you start.
Regardless of your shape, it is a small price
to pay for very important gains.
Everyone wants a “quick fix,” but that’s as
unrealistic for improving your reading skills
as it is for achieving physical fitness.
“Work Out” (Study) at the Right
Time and in the Right Place
Identify the time of day when you are most
alert and rested.
Then, study at that same time every day. If
you give it three weeks, it will become a
Avoid Negative Self-Talk and
Many students have the habit of negative
self-talk: “This is too hard.” “I’m not smart
enough,” “I’ll never get this,” or “This is
hopeless.” When ever you have a thought
like this, STOP IT.
Don’t accept negative comments about
yourself, and don’t make them.
Decide What Kind of Person
You Want to Be
If you want to change the kind of student
you are, change the kind of person you are.
You are what you say and do.
Train the Way
You Want to Play
In practicing your reading skills, you need to do
the same things in the same way as you will when
you use them in actual situations.
This means practicing with the real thing, college-
level material. It means thinking, focusing, and
preparing yourself ultimately to use these same
skills to help master your college textbooks.
You get out of it what you put into it.
Train carefully. Train regularly. Train hard.
Expect to Hit Plateaus and Be
Prepared to Deal with Them
Learning doesn’t occur as a smooth, seamless,
Learning involves integrating new information
with existing information. The brain needs time
for restructuring and consolidation. It takes time
for the brain to accommodate new input.
If you hit a rough spot, keep going.
Even when you feel discouraged, do the
Champions keep playing until they get it right.
To function, your brain needs glucose and
Drink plenty of water to hydrate and
oxygenate your brain.
For your brain to function well, you need to
feel relaxed, yet alert.
Use this simple breathing procedure to calm and
1. Take several slow, deep breaths when you sit down to
study. Sit up straight. Put you feet flat on the floor. Rest
your hands in your lap and close your eyes. Exhale
completely through your nose.
2. Now inhale through your nose and fill your lungs from
the bottom up.
3. Hold your breath for several seconds and then exhale
slowly and completely through your mouth.
Practice this slowly. You may feel a bit dizzy at
This means imagining yourself doing
something successful before you actually
It’s like a move you run in your head.
“If I can conceive it, I can believe it. If I can
believe it, I can achieve it.” Jessie Jackson
Imitate a champion.
Pattern yourself after someone who is
Focus on Your Own Game
If you watch what someone else is doing,
then you are not focusing on what you need
Learn from others, but improve yourself.
Just because someone wins the race, don’t
assume it was easy for them.
Develop Mental Toughness
and Maintain Focus
Stress and setbacks are part of everyone’s
You have to be tough.
Everything depends on your mental outlook
98% of success is in your head.
Learn to Distinguish between
Problems and Facts
A problem can be fixed.
If you are dealing with a circumstance that cannot
be changed or fixed, then it’s no longer a problem:
it’s a fact.
Because it’s a fact, there’s no reason to waste
emotional energy feeling frustrated. Let it go.
Save time and energy for problems you can do
Have High Expectations
You have to expect things of yourself before you
can do them.
Keep in mind that it is what you expect of yourself
that matters, not what others expect
Set your academic goals, and know what you are
wiling to do to achieve academic success..
Show Up for Practice--Even
When you Don’t Feel Like It
Nearly all “good students” work very hard
for their success.
Success is not a matter of luck.
Discipline is remember what you want.”
“The only discipline that lasts is self-
Monitor Your Workouts and
Evaluate Your Progress
Monitor your “workouts” in this book.
Assess your own performance; know why
you missed an item.
If you don’t find out why you missed the
items you, then you’ve lost the opportunity
to learn—and you’ve wasted the time you
spent doing the activity.
Always Give Your Best Effort
“There are three types of baseball players—
those who make it happen, those who watch
it happen, and those who wonder what
happened.” Tommy Lasorda
“Shoot for the moon—even if you fall short
you will land among the stars.” Gil Steinke
Go for the gold. Make it habit to try to hit
the ball out of the park.
Read, mark, and follow every set of
Follow the philosophy of “Do it now.
Do it right.”
Following directions is a relatively simple,
but very important skill.
Following Written Directions
Read the entire set of directions carefully,
even if you think you know what you’re
supposed to do.
Circle or box any clues that signal steps in
Underline key words that tell what you’re
supposed to do (especially in test directions)
Carry out the steps in order.
Get Help from a “Coach”
Ask for guidance in class and outside of class, too.
Good coaches--and good teachers--will not let you
get by with sloppy work, missed “workouts”
(missed class sessions or missing assignments), or
a bad attitude. Because they care whether or not
you learn, they’ll push prod, and nag. They won’t
Good coaches and teachers “see what you can be
rather than what you are.”
Understand and make a commitment.
“Work out “ (study) at the right time and place.
Avoid negative self-talk and verbalizations.
Decide what kind of person you want to be.
Train the way you want to play.
Be prepared to deal with plateaus.
Focus on your own game.
“Secrets” Summary (con’t)
Develop mental toughness and stay focused.
Distinguish between problems and facts.
Set high expectations and commit them to writing.
Show up for practice even if you don’t feel like it.
Monitor your “workouts” and your progress.
Always give your best effort.
Get help from a “coach.”
Time to get moving!