#4 - Mr. You Can Do It
Aleem Graduated with a 4.0 from McGill. In his own words: this is false advertising. Aleem did not have an easy time getting to this point in his life, his journey was very hard fought and a simple 4.0 does not do these years of his life justice.
People tell us we have to work harder to achieve more results. He tried this and his grades actually went backwards. Once Aleem figured out how to change his thinking he began to work less (on the right things) and see more results.
What has been the most memorable moment in your life? When Aleem graduated from high school he applied to MRU and UofC. He did not get accepted to MRU but surprisingly he got accepted to UofC (they had low enrollment that year ). The most memorable moment in Aleem’s life is the fact that he now gets paid to work at MRU, when they would not even accept him as a student.
Putting in hours and hours of study was the default approach Aleem took to school, working harder for more results is all he knew. When he hit a 2.5 GPA he had figured that he had to ramp up effort staying up until 3am at night, thinking this was normal. He put more effort in but grades went the other way and his life became very toxic. Aleem stopped sports, spending time with friends and having fun in his days which lead to a lot of resentment. Aleem achieved academic probation with a 1.98 GPA in his third year, being told if he could not pick up his grades they were going to ask him to leave. Aleem was not a pleasant person to be around at this time. It was time to see an academic counsellor.
The counsellor saw that Aleem needed a 3.7 to be accepted to Mcgill but could not even achieve a 2.0. On top of this after looking at his high school grades, which were also low, she urged him to give up on this effort and to choose another path forward. “Get any degree and leave.” This forced him to make a decision, one that had the immense pressure of, figure It out or go nowhere. There is a saying that when the student is ready the master will appear. This master was Tony Robbins and he came forward while Aleem was routinely harassing his sister one night. He found Tony Robbins upon her bookshelf. His sister was an academic natural and simply did not understand the position Aleem was in. Naturals cannot articulate how to improve and her advice was: do not be so hard on yourself. Pretty useless advice for improving ones life. This book re-wired his mind giving him insight into beliefs, emotions and how we operate. After reading this book the next semester was a 3.2. Aleem started believing he could actually do it and that was the missing piece he needed to accel. You need the belief in yourself to create change before big change can happen. At this point Aleem went all in to his schooling and told everyone around him that higher education was something he was going all in for. He lost a few friends and also solidified many relationships which lead him to a 3.75 the following year. He made the feat to get into McGill! It was hard work but there was also luck and the burning desire to not quit, even when nothing seems like it is going right.
Self-worth is an epidemic in our culture today, it is a virus. When we are young we joke, laugh, put our hand in the cookie jar and the world is ours to take. Then we grow up and are told we are not good enough in school. We are told on TV that if you want to be rich, buy this car. If you want to be cool, buy these clothes. It is always: you will be happier if… That is why it is an epidemic because they are always selling you that you are not enough. Aleem looks at our self-worth as an engine to a car which we can always improve and develop.
When building our self-belief, it is important to understand the other side of the scale. This end of the scale contains narcissism. People on this end believe the normal rules of living do not apply to them.
What exercises can you recommend for someone looking to build their self-belief? We must first understand which end of the scale we are at today. Most of us live in the lower end with low self belief. 1 way to increase your self-belief, at the time you need to make a decision is to ask yourself this question- If I was a genius what would I do? Let your mind soak the question in and get inventive with it. You will come up with ideas from the genius mindset question which would be different than all of your ideas before. This is the problem, because we do not see ourselves as an intelligent person we cannot think as an intelligent person. Once you then solve the problem it starts building self-worth because you prove to yourself you can think like a genius!
The 2nd way to increase your self-belief is to look at times when you thought you were going to fail. The times you were convinced you were going to fail but you didn’t. During these times you did something, you had persistence. Even though you thought you were going to fail you pulled through. Pay a lot of attention to these times and internalize them. Your mind is not the best future predictor for success, it often tries to talk you out of good things in life. You want to listen to something much deeper, your intuition, gut and emotions. Your mind can be your best friend and worst enemy.
“There was this thing called my mind. It talked me out of all these great things in life. Good thing I lost it.” – Calvin Simpson
When we look at naturals they all have one thing in common. They are forgiving of themselves. They are never hard on themselves and very rarely get serious with themselves. When we are hard on ourselves it clouds our ability to think clearly. This trait of forgiveness allows them to be successful. Those who struggle are hard on themselves and not very forgiving.
The 3rd way to increase your self-worth is to spend your energy within your locus of control. Instead of focusing on the test you are going to fail, focus on the hours you can put in and where. When you can focus on what you can control you will feel better. Instead of being worried about what your boss may think you can control research put in, understanding what the best outcome looks like and what has worked in the past. When focusing on what we cannot change in life it is very worrisome and draining.
Stop accepting negative blank statements about yourself. I am not good enough, I could never do that. People can tell you that you can never do it, but there is one big problem with them judging you. They do not know who you are deep down, they do not know your passion, your desire. They do not know how much you want it. If you want it bad enough you will get it. Do not ever listen to an expert telling you what you cannot do, because they do not know you. The reality of our logical mind is that it often holds us back from success and originality. If students do not know the strategies and outcomes, then the hard work may take them farther from where they are supposed to be. Figure out the areas which you need to work and the areas that will not propel you forward. It is the 80/20 rule for what you should spend your time on. Identify and get rid of the minutiae while at the same time focusing on what is the most important.
Aleem warns you to not take any action until you have a plan. Get a plan that you know will work then take action. Learn from those who went before you and dissect the path ahead to know what matters most.
What does your weapon of mass happiness shoot? It shoots laughter. Laughter is contagious and this would spread happiness!