I’ve observed these Failure Factors from nearly 25 years of teaching at the college level.
- You hate college—the entire experience, driving to campus, finding a parking space, sitting in class, studying, gathering the necessary materials—but you attend college to please parents, a girlfriend, or to get financial aid or whatever. You have to have the hunger for achievement within yourself to succeed. Otherwise, you’re doomed to flounder in a haze of apathy, laziness, and despair. No one on Planet Earth is responsible for you having this fire. You’re responsible. As some Americans like to say, “Get in the game.”
- You have unnecessary drama in your life. You’re in a destructive, addictive relationship that consumes all your thoughts and energy. You find yourself always fighting and making-up with your Other. Or you hang out with knuckle-head buddies, immature troglodytes, who are always getting you into trouble.
- You engage in the Hot and Cold, studying like a maniac for a few days and then retreating into intractable laziness. In other words, you lack consistency and you don’t pace yourself.
- You feel sorry for yourself for whatever reason and use your self-pity as an excuse to fail. The Psychology Department calls this loathsome condition Learned Helplessness.
- You’ve got money problems. No matter what the reason, justified or not, responsible living or not, money problems usually result in you working more hours at work or taking on more jobs and the more you work the more you compromise school performance.
- You’re addicted to BS. BS includes chatting on the Internet, text-messaging, gossiping on your cell, watching crap on TV, etc. All these addictions take your focus off college. The Psychology Department calls this behavior Motivational Priority Inversion in which lame addictions take priority over more important matters such as excelling in school. According to Dr. Drew on his Loveline radio show, addiction is all about the addiction taking priority over everything else.
- You have no social skills (you’re too shy, you’ve got low-self-esteem, you’ve got an inferiority complex, you’re still licking your wounds from your last breakup, you’re still grieving over some family tragedy, etc.) so you don’t communicate with your instructors and other students resulting in an ability to clarify important issues that will help you succeed in college. Social skills also help you to build alliances and to network, skills that are essential to succeeding in the real world.
- You eat crap and you eat sporadically. I’ve got students who come to class who haven’t eaten for 8 hours and they’re in my class noshing on a bag of Funyuns and gulping a fruit drink made of high-fructose corn syrup. If you don’t feed your brain nutrients, you’re brain-dead, which means you’ll absorb less than 1% of what the instructor is saying.
- Sleep deprivation. Simple math: If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re worthless—to yourself and to society. Period.
- You exaggerate the difficulty of college so that you convince yourself you can’t succeed at it. The Psychology Department puts this under the category of Learned Helplessness.
If you have 3 or more of these Failure Factors, then you are at a high risk for failure. Identifying these risk factors is not pleasant, but it’s the beginning of you doing the number one thing you were put on Planet Earth for: TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.