A Plan for Your Education, A Plan for Your Life

The P.O.W.E.R strategy is discussed in detail in P.O.W.E.R. Learning and Your Life: Essentials of Student Success – a book that many of the largest universities in the United States use for incoming freshman. Having read the book a few times, I highly recommend it. In the book, Feldman uses the term “POWER” as an acronym for Prepare, Organize, Work, Evaluate, and Rethink.

Prepare:

Whether you’ve decided to attend college, writing papers or are planning a vacation – having a vision for what you want to do, and why you want to do it are critical. Without a vision for what we want to accomplish in life, we walk aimlessly without direction. Feldman suggests that we cast and solidify our vision by writing down our long terma and short term goals.  Have you written down your goals? Take a few minutes to put your goals down on paper – trust me, it makes a difference. Whether it be to earn a college degree or to write your best paper yet, set a goal and make it so concrete that there’s no question about your goals.

Organize:

Some of your goals will be so large that they will seem overwhelming. But, if we break them down into smaller chunks (technical term) we can make our goals within our daily reach. The idea isn’t to tackle major goals every day; it’s to set small, short term goals that allow us to feel successful and make forward progress toward our larger goals.

For example, if I want to earn a degree, I can’t tackle that all at once. Instead, I will have a yearly plan (4 years total), then break each year down into semesters, along with the classes I want or need to take. Each of those classes will be purposefully arranged so that I have some difficult class with some easy ones – which will help me maintain a strong GPA. Part of organizing includes being strategic about the process.  Finally, each class can be broken down into weeks and days using the syllabus, which I would put on a calendar.

Work:

After a strong vision is in place, it’s time to go to work! Remember that there is no substitute for hard work. Our lives were meant for work, and we shouldn’t try to avoid it. It reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my son, who was five at the time.

“Dad, why do you have to go to work every day?”

“Well, we have things that cost money, like our car and house. A job pays me money so that we can afford our house and car.”

“But why can’t we just live in a tent, that way you wouldn’t need to go to work.”

“Right, if we want to live in a tent, that’s an option – but how would we afford food?” I asked.

He thought for a minute and said, “Well, we could just grow our food!”

I smiled and said, “Well, honey, in order to grow the food, we need to plant, care for and harvest the food. So, we end up having to work, even if we live in a tent!”

People often waste more time trying to get out of work than working hard and completing whatever they were trying to avoid.  While we can’t avoid hard work, we can work smart. Search around this site and you will find examples of how to do that or sign up to receive my daily tips!

Evaluate:

It has been said that if we were to add up all of our choices in life, we would find ourselves exactly where we are now. It’s critical that we understand how powerful our choices are. Our choices how we assert our will into our lives. The most successful people in the world have the ability to evaluate their circumstances and ask, “What is working for me to achieve my goals” and “What isn’t working for me now?” This is part of the evaluation process – and two critical factors in being able to evaluate circumstances is honest and responsibility.

When we honestly evaluate our lives, we will get a truthful picture of what is working and what isn’t working. Then, we can take responsibility for our circumstances, our success and failures, and own the process of changing our lives as needed to accomplish our goals.

Rethink:

Life is all about revision! Having the perfect life is nothing more than a mirage. The richest CEO’s have just as many problems as we do. Everyone struggles with the human condition, the big questions of life, and personal happiness – we are all in the same boat. The only difference between you and a multi-millionaire is the backdrop of your life.

Tim Ferriss once said that, if you want to be a millionaire don’t do what millionaires say, do what millionaires do. Personally, I don’t want to be a millionaire. I want to have an impact on the lives of students, to inspire them to do their best and help lead them into the life that they want. As I go through life, I have to review how I do that. Each generation is different and requires different things. The point here is, as time goes on, we will always need to be rethinking our vision and how we approach it. Are there things that we are missing? Things that we could do better? Books we should be reading? All of these are “rethinking” kinds of questions.

These are my thoughts about the P.O.W.E.R. strategies – what are your thoughts? Does this make sense? Would you think about putting POWER success strategies like these into practice? Remember, success isn’t defined by perfection – it’s defined by persistence. Stay focused and stay the course – no matter what.

 

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