Chapter 6: Expanding Your Capacity to Study


Do you recall the time we spent earlier in this program, when we discussed the principles of behavior shaping and reward? What follows is the final calculation in my formula – follow it, and you will have reason to be confident of success.

The two most difficult aspects of any study program are getting started and maintaining concentration. It’s said that procrastination (or the art of dreaming up reasons not to do things) is the thief of time. In your case, as a student with an online institution, you cannot afford this, because your study program, as you now know, is tight and there is very little slack. If procrastination is the thief of time, then a lack of concentration robs you of your mental power. Thinking about other things while you try to learn distracts you, and, again there really is no point in going on.

The secret, as you already know by now, is to build up an appropriate pattern of behavior when seated in your special study place. The first part of your journey begins with a single step – point yourself in the right direction, and you can only move on from here.

It has been said that the human mind can be compared to a large round room with many doors spaced evenly, and the person sitting in the centre busily involved in some other task. Stay with me for a moment on this one please, and you’ll soon understand the relevance.

  • A door opens, and two people walk through the room and out the other side, closing both doors thoughtfully behind them. This is irrelevant to you, you ignore it, and you get on with your task
  • Someone else opens a door, peers into the room, and disappears again, leaving the door slightly open, and tapping in the gentle breeze against the frame. This distracts you. You get up to close it, and then return immediately to your work.
  • A group of people carrying musical instruments that you have not seen before enter through three different doors, closing each behind them, and begin to practice loud music. You cannot concentrate, and they refuse to stop. You decide to do something else, and set your work aside for now.

Did you spot the three principles? When you are studying for your online education, ignore irrelevant sights and sounds, like a dog barking somewhere, or an aeroplane in the sky. If something irritates you, get up and fix it. If the distraction is more far-reaching, stop trying to concentrate for now.

It is far, far more important to study consistently for just one minute, than to think of other things for an hour at a time. As you adopt this simple practice, you’ll find that your power of concentration increases almost exponentially. You become a powerful force for study, as your hours of learning successfully pass by.

Please remember to rest your brain for ten minutes at the end of every hour, and to change your seating position now and then. You could swing your arm around for hours, holding it motionless is impossible. Treat yourself gently while you study, and add variety to your spice. Create a quick break when your head begins to spin. Take a short walk, chat with somebody, anything at all to refresh your inner self.

Chapter 1: Using the Pleasure Principal to Your Advantage
Chapter 2: Thinking in Terms of Goals
Chapter 3: Staying in Touch with Family, Friends and Colleagues
Chapter 4: Creating a Special Place to Study and a Formal Study Plan
Chapter 5: Establishing a Formal Study Program and Balancing Your Time
Chapter 6: Expanding Your Capacity to Study
Chapter 7: The Final Hurdles – Spotting for Success and Examination Time