This 'How To' article would help different people in different ways as its content will be subjective to how you interpret excellence. If the reader wants to know the secret to scoring A's in his or her exam, it might lie here; if the reader intends to improve his or her studying technique, it might lie here as well. And if the reader wants to know the many ways to practice the virtue of excellence, it might lie here. Therefore, I invite you to read on.
- Set your mind. The human mind is a powerful faculty of the human body and its powers are astonishing. When the mind is set upon a goal, the entire body is tuned into achieving it. Therefore, if the will of a person to strive for something such as excellence in academic studies is strong enough, the chances of becoming reality are much improved. Adding on, the strength of a set mind is powerful enough to influence its surroundings to have its way. So my dear friends, if you put my words and your mind to the test by setting it on achieving excellence in your studies, you are off to a good start already.
- Devise your plan. A mind set on doing something has got enormous amounts of creative juices in making its goal a reality. So you may be taking a lot of subjects in school, or you are doing a double degree with the many things on the side to make your resume look prettier -- once you have your own individual plan, it all becomes a route to excellence. But just because you want to achieve excellence in your studies does not mean your plan is in a vacuum and you can ignore your other priorities or responsibilities just to achieve it. A well conceived plan takes in every detail of your life and cohesively binds them together to be in a direction of placing you with the virtue of excellence. Do not rush this step as the failure to plan is planning to fail.
- Execution of the plan. This is where most people fail to continue on. But be of faith and you shall be victorious! A good plan is only as strong as its execution. Discipline and determination here are great pillars of virtue to hang on to or build if you are new to them. We often find it hard to execute big plans for the doubts that they might be too big for us or that they might be flawed from their conception. Many times we decide to give them a halt. All I can say here is to have faith. Following your plan through, though it be flawed, is more important and a more rewarding experience than abandoning it and having gain nothing at all from it (not even learning from your mishaps). To strengthen this strength of yours more, read on to the next step.
- Focus the energies. So let's have a look at what is around you that may influence your pursuit of excellence. There is prayer, the will of others, the fate/luck/chance percentage and other less significant ones like the weather. As powerful as your mind can be, it is only one out of the many billions in this world, so having the help of other influences would not hurt. When I talk of prayer, it would be between you and the God irrespective of what your religion is. Having the Creator on your side would help a big deal especially if you believe in Him.
As for the will of others, your own will to strive for excellence is vital but when others such as your friends and family start supporting you and especially start believing in you, then you have a rather large influence on your surroundings to help you achieve what you desire.
Lastly, for those who believe in it and those who calculate it, chance is there for us to meddle with. Forgive me if I do not explain explicitly the difference of fate, luck and chance and interchange their usage and meanings. We must be mindful that to some extent we are influenced by luck in our daily life; our best hope is to increase its percentage of the chance of it favoring us. So study more for your next paper, for the more you study, the higher the chance of you being able to answer it, even on a lucky guess.
- You are what you think you are. What could be more distinguishing about the excellent you from the inadequate you? Walking like the excellent you of course. Not literally walk but imagine yourself as a person who practices excellence in his studies. Not many can pull this off because they lack confidence or self esteem. Most need recognition by paper or some higher authority to prove to themselves that they are excellent academic individuals. I will let you in on a secret here. Do as well as you can and set your heart towards it and He (God) will confirm your efforts. Imagine the degree of confidence you will walk with if He (God) told you are excellent in your studies. Well, put your heart and soul into executing your plan and you will get such assurance from Him (God). So fellow brothers and sisters of excellence, I will only see you to be excellent when you yourself see it first.
- Praise and gratitude. Behind every great man is a woman they say, well that might be true but I like to believe that behind every great success is our Creator. No matter what the outcome is in your endeavors, be it scoring the A in your trigonometry paper or having a setback in your economics assignment, be grateful and praise the Lord. If you have followed the steps this far, then you have no regrets for you have strived this far and done your best. Everything else is left up to Him (God) and His Will for us is for our best interests. We should be especially mindful to remember Him (God) in our best of times because when we are in our worst of times, there is no doubt that we will call upon Him. The virtue of excellence does not precede the vice of arrogance but rather finds a parallel with the virtue of humility.
To conclude, I hope this piece has helped the reader in any way it could have. As to you readers out there who thought you would find your desired secrets in here, I hope you did though I am almost certain that you found other secrets instead. As my last words, to excel in your studies does not imply a single letter but a path you can proudly say that you have trodden when you look back on it.