Many of us have heard of the 7 cardinal sins, which are different thoughts/feelings/actions that prevent you from reaching your maximum potential as a person. Similarly, here are 7 cardinal sins that will block you from reaching your maximum potential as a student.
1. Indifference/Apathy- “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” (Jim Rohn). Without developing strong habits and routines, you are at the mercy of your motivation. You will not always be naturally motivated to give your best effort in every class, test, and homework session. It is easy to slip into apathy and lose interest in your academics. Apathy happens quickly, but recovering from it can be very difficult. Establish routines and teach yourself how to avoid apathy before it leaves you feeling unable and unwilling to push yourself in academics.
2. Stubbornness- Your natural talents have limits, but your ability to improve only has limits that you create. If you do not allow yourself to be teachable, you create a limit to the knowledge and success you can achieve. Even the best student in the room can learn from everyone else if they are open to listening and remaining humble. “You must always be the apprentice, even when you become the master” (Christopher Cumby).
3. Pride- Pride and ego are obstacles that can impact every aspect of your education. Claude Bernard said, “It’s what we think we know that keeps us from learning.” The more we stop to inflate our ego and take pride in our accomplishments, the less time we have to work harder and strive for even bigger accomplishments. When you feel like bragging or showing off, instead ask yourself what you can do to improve to an even higher level. Never settle!
4. Self-Doubt- “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” (Karim Seddiki). To reach the highest levels of academics, you will face many moments that require bravery and courage. Self-doubt is the silent killer that can cause you to miss the opportunity for growth. If you find yourself making excuses often, especially for a new or challenging academic task, ask yourself if the excuses are legitimate or if they are your own self-doubts holding you back from the student and person that you can be.
5. Comfort Zone- “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety” (Abraham Maslow). One of the most dangerous phrases you will ever hear in school is “I’m just coasting.” A comfort zone is a place where you cannot grow or get better. Protecting your grades, doing just enough to pass, or refusing new opportunities will keep you comfortable, but it will also keep you the same. Refusing to challenge yourself is also a refusal to become a better person.
6. Perfectionism- the ultimate double-edged sword. It is a great quality to strive to do your best. Perfectionism is the extreme that poisons that quality and damages you as a student. If you need to be perfect, you will never be satisfied with what you do and will constantly cycle back to self-doubt. Instead, learn to strive for perfection in your EFFORT. Be satisfied with the work ethic you demonstrate and use that to measure your level of work. If you simply focus on the results and finished products, you will always feel like you could have done better, which is a damaging and unproductive thought. “Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate” (Maria Shriver).
7. Over-seriousness- Sometimes, setting big goals leads us to go all in, forgetting everything else in our life to accomplish the task at hand. While you shouldn’t limit yourself, you also shouldn’t take yourself too seriously. Whether you reach your goal or not, you won’t find happiness in the process or the result. Learn to enjoy the whole process of learning. Take breaks when you feel yourself burning out. Find ways to recharge your batteries so that you can give your best effort consistently. “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither” (Alan Cohen).