I’m a 22-year old college graduate, and I lack discipline.
One of the harshest realities of my generation is that every year there are hundreds of thousands of us that graduate from a university and end up not knowing what to do after that. I grew up in an environment where the ideal path was to go to school, get a degree in something I am good in, and then make money to be happy. But even when told what to do, and even though I paid attention to every single lecture, I’m still as clueless as Alicia Silverstone. Call me a tweenager, twixter, or lazy good-for-nothing, but that still does not change the fact that I feel like I’m lacking something to achieve my goals.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was coddled by the privileges I received while growing up. In High School, there were motivational posters in all the classrooms that detailed strict guidelines on how to get into San Diego State University through our school district’s “Compact for Success.” The “Compact for Success” guaranteed south San Diego school district students admission into San Diego State University if they maintained a B average and completed some very basic requirements. No other city in the state of California even dared implementing such a progressive reform to higher education admissions. I used the Compact as a safety-net in case I was not accepted into the other schools I applied to. USC, UCLA, and UCSD. For other students, the Compact was a necessity, or their only real option. When my friend said that it was a practice in rewarding mediocrity, I reluctantly agreed.
Perhaps it’s mediocrity that’s plaguing me, or my generation? Maybe because I grew up in an environment where “everyone is special in the same way;” or maybe because I never noticed the option to learn certain things; or maybe because I was spoiled, I usually have a hard time picking up a new hobby or skill, and putting in the effort to be good at it. I’d like to believe that I’m a competitive guy because I do feel that rush and drive to win sometimes, but for the most part I can’t be bothered to compete. I can’t be bothered to prove myself to someone else because what’s the point? I’d rather read and learn through a Wikipedia page than study for that big test or practice the drums like I used to. It almost sounds like I really am a lazy, good-for-nothing, and I think I know what the culprit is.
Apathy is a troublesome little thing, isn’t it? I can see it in the eyes of my peers and I can hear it in their music, and I can read it in their blogs. It used to be my favorite word. In a weird, psychological sense, for my generation to be generally apathetic, it’s almost as if we’re completing the cycle of rebelling against our progenitors like little hipster-beatniks. While baby boomers fought their elders with flower power, joneser’s with hedonism, and generation x’ers with irony, it almost seems fitting for us to combat the constant supervision and help of hyper-caring parents with a middle-finger to everything and embracing selfishness. I don’t know if this is true, and it’s just a thought, but I think it’s something that would be believable if it comes up in my age group’s version of “On the Road” or “Generation X.”
Though, I don’t want to be grouped with the losers of my generation. I really do want to be the exception. So far I made the right choices to succeed quite a bit, but if my expectations are still not being met, then at least I have high expectations in the first place. At least I have goals that matter to me. And one of those crazy goals is to overcome my weakness in discipline, and to build a strong foundation to become good at anything I want.
Wouldn’t that be the neatest thing ever? To find a neat, new hobby, and making a conscious decision to be good at it, and then becoming good at it relatively quickly? That’d be the best.
So I bought this book, “Practice Made Perfect” when I was at my lowest point this year. It’s a self-published book, with its fair share of publishing errors, and grammatical mistakes, but the lessons in it are sound. It really focuses on skill development research and on how brain adapts and learns. It’s a good book for what it is.
But did the book really make me a better learner of things? If anything, it motivated me and instilled in me the seed of confidence to tackle the hard-work and preparation I needed to become a success. Like most life lessons, it had to be learned in a certain way and at the right time for me to truly listen. This is the first book on this site that I’m giving away with no hang-ups attached because I’ve made my peace with it over the course of a year. This book was a positive step away from the pitfalls and traps many in my generation suffer from.
I definitely have an idea of the type of person I want to give it to: someone motivated, lost, and ready to be the exception of their generation. But who?