Time for an Attitude Adjustment
Studying for the bar exam was stressful but so is waiting for results. Ohio results post on Friday and this last week is the worst. You can only remember your perceived mistakes and friends and family who dare have faith in your abilities just get on your nerves. However, you don’t have to completely miserable. You can make the choice to adjust your attitude and make the best of it. Try this 7-day positive attitude challenge:
Day One: Make a list of five things in your life that you are thankful for.
Day Two: Smile at everyone you meet. No exceptions.
Day Three: Reach out to one person in your life and express gratitude.
Day Four: Choose an activity that makes you truly happy and spend at least thirty minutes doing it.
Day Five: Spend at least fifteen minutes outside. At one time (not two minutes walking from your car to the office, five minutes running across the street for lunch).
Day Six: No complaining. Go the entire day without a single complaint.
Day Seven: Look in the mirror and give yourself an old school Daily Affirmation talk, Michael Jordan style.
You’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And gosh darn it, people like you.
Set Your Pace.
To succeed at any challenge in life, you’ve got to tune out the noise around you- the footsteps of others (ahead and behind), distracting “advice,” doubters who tell you it can’t be done. Instead, focus on your inner voice. Setting your own goal, charting your course and trusting your instincts take courage, but they are the surest route to crossing your personal finish line a winner.
I saw this quote years ago in a fitness (maybe running) magazine. So many years ago that I had to rip the page out instead of taking a photo. I couldn’t Instagram it with clever hashtags.
I old-school taped the page to my desk as a reminder to focus on my goals and to not worry about what everyone else is doing. Over the years it got torn and I had to keep cutting it down to the point that all that was left was the quote. A few weeks ago the paper reached the point of disintegration that it was time to let it go. At the time, I didn’t give it too much thought: It had been there so long I hardly noticed anymore. I was more concerned about scraping the tape off my desk surface. The next day when I got to my office and sat down at my desk, my hand automatically went to the spot where the quote had been. Maybe I noticed it more than I thought. Maybe there is a reason I kept it taped there for so many years. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I’ve downloaded a new version of my quote and taped it to my desk.
I hope this quote can serve as a reminder to all of you preparing to study for the bar exam. You all have the same goal of passing but “[t]o succeed at any challenge… you’ve got to tune out the noise around you… the distracting advice, the doubters…” With about a month until the official start of bar prep, this is the perfect time to think about how to do this: what you need to do to set your pace and run your own race. After all, it is “the surest route to crossing your personal finish line a winner.”
Preparing for the bar exam is more than studying 50+ hours a week for ten weeks. You absolutely have to put in the study time and commercial bar prep companies do a great job providing you an in-depth and structured study schedule. However, the ten-week bar prep period is fairly intense and quite exhausting. You will experience periods of self-doubt, uncertainty, and sometimes feel overwhelmed. Although you cannot avoid this completely, you can be prepared to work through it push forward with your studying. One way to do this is to start bar prep having a strong relationship with yourself.
- Have an open mind. Be receptive to new and different concepts on how to live your best life. Don’t think of it as massive change all at once. This is a process and there are lots of little things you can do.
- Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and accept that you did the best you could. Remind yourself that you don’t expect perfection in others so you shouldn’t expect it of yourself.
- Assess your lifestyle. Identify what is and isn’t working in your life. Break unhealthy habits and develop healthy ones. A little self-care goes a long way (Check out these TED Talks on the importance of self-care)
- Build your tribe. We tend to be like the people we surround ourselves with. Bring people into your life that reflect your best self and will support who you want to be.
- Make time for mindfulness. Introduce a few mindful living techniques into your daily routine. Develop strategies that stop negative thoughts from taking over and learn how to refocus your energies on positive thoughts that move you forward.
- Take control. You are not a passive observer in your life. You may not be able to control every event and person in your life but you can control how you respond. It is this response, not the event or person, which determines the outcome.
Don’t kid yourself into believing that you can simply wake up on May 15th and magically have the ability to push through the next ten weeks. In order for your brain to function at its best, you’ve got to be mentally and emotionally strong. This requires planning and preparation. Professor Dumbledore is right: “It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Make the choice now to be your best self.