I had a full 24 hours entirely on my own this weekend - what a rare luxury!  I didn't do any work or study for an entire day!  WOW! My little ones visited Mum and Dad for a minibreak and I spent the time absolutely responsibility free. I can't remember the last time I allowed myself to do whatever I felt like, when I felt like it, but it was a wonderful, heavenly RELIEF and just the thing to get my creative juices flowing fast and free again. 

In that wonderfully blissful quiet time with just me and my thoughts, I found myself contemplating the title of the Book - Head Space - meditate your way to study success"... the 'study success' part stuck out in my mind and I began to wonder how I define success?  

Think for a minute...

What does 'study success' mean to you?  
What does this imply about your idea of 'success' in general? 
Why did you choose the subjects you are doing? 

I used to be certain about what success was - how much money I had, what I had to show for my money, my job title, how well I did at school (even tho it was years and years ago), how smart I was (according to the 'experts'), the car I drove, etc.  Those things are certainly nice and can be useful!  Seriously, who would complain if someone handed over a tidy sum of cash, a brand new car to drive and eliminated a serious case of 'degenerative baby-brain'?!

When I was at high school, teachers would convince us that unless you blitzed your grades and came out at the top of the class then your future was as good as over. NOT TRUE!   I don't know if high school teachers are still pushing the same line, but being back at University as a mature aged student (gawd that makes me sound so old!), I can say for sure that the general concensus that good grades as a definitive measure of your success is alive and well, if not a seriously outdated ideal.  Over the past three years I've battled with this idea, mostly since it has been part of my psyche since I was a teenager and is basically an inbuilt assumption with me. 

Over the years I've had my issues with 'follow-through-ability'.  One of my great personal challenges in life has been to deliberately and consciously give my best to any task and be disciplined in the process.  Near enough is no longer good enough for me...it's an integrity thing I think.  So when I began my nursing degree, I made a promise to myself that I would give it my all and really committ to being the best that I could be in order to be 'successful' at my studies.  In my mind, this pretty much translated to "I have to be the best, I have to get the best grades, nothing less than a Distinction for ALL subjects is acceptable".  Talk about self imposed pressure... or is it society imposed pressure?!  It's gotta come from somewhere, right?

So far, in terms of grades and sticking to what I started, this thought process has seems to have served me well... apart from the stress I found myself under (hence the meditation and subsequently this book).   However, since having kids and consequently dramatically less time and energy I have had to re-define my priorities and my notion of what study success is.  For me, now, study success can be as simple as remembering to turn up to an exam!  It's doing the very best that I can with the time and resources I have right now, in this moment, rather than focussing on the eventual grade I may receive.  Not only that, but ACCEPTING that this is the best I have at this time and letting go of the outcome.  This has been hard!  I've become accustomed to getting really good grades and I enjoy seeing them on my reports.  But at the end of the day, I can only do the best I can with what I have available in the moment...and that's perfectly okay!  At the end of the day, no employer is going to care about whether I got a GPA of 6.67 after I graduate.  And its not about what the piece of paper says, its about WHY I did the degree in the first place. It wasn't to get good grades, it was to learn about nursing and the medical industry!

What I've discovered is that success is far more than a grade and its definition is absolutely a personal thing which morphs and evolves as we do.

So... when I think about what 'study success' to me now, in this moment...

1. Being fully present and concentrating on the study immediately before me without getting sidetracked and interrupted (for as long as my kids will allow me to!).  Sometimes this means 15 minutes, sometimes 2 hours, but never the days and days I had before kids came along!
2. Being calm in the face of exams/deadlines so that my brain can function at its best.
3. Maintaining my health with good food, sleep, vitamins and minerals and exercise, so that I am at my best for study (and life in general).
4. Focusing on the process of study rather than the outcome, ie... give my best in the moment while I am studying and then trusting that this is enough to pass the subject/exam/report.
5. Being able to accept that it's okay if I don't get the top grade.
6. Finishing what I started.

WOW... just reading back over those points, the word 'best' comes up a lot, doesn't it!  hmmm. I guess then that 'study success' means to me "to be the best version of myself that I can be in every moment, and being allowing of mistakes and accepting of life's curve balls"!   That leads me to feel that for me, I 'success' in general is about being your authentic self and having integrity within that.

What does 'study success' mean to you?  
What does this imply about your idea of 'success' in general? 
Why did you choose those particular subjects? 

It's 11.56pm. Today's success will be getting to bed before midnight!  :)