Academic Performance and Out Of School Life Skills
When the Bentley Continental GTC car approached the school compound’s gate, excitement and anxiety grew deeper within students. This was a big day for them, and it was evident from their radiant smiles and eyes towards the school gate.
Lei Noorhman was visiting them. A man that was above all the others in intelligence, wisdom and success. Many people perceived him extra-ordinary, and extra-ordinary he was. When he was a youth representative in the government, and this was shortly before joining higher education, the country talked about him with respect, zeal, admiration and homage. He changed the youths in his area of representation and bettered their lives. He transformed them with values of civility, credibility, integrity, honesty and thoughtfulness. He was a marvel and wonderment in the eyes of all.
Then he joined Crownzone University, the most prominent university in African soil, and continued changing and bettering lives. He became the Student Leader in just his first year at the university and maintained in the post as a dedicated, inspirational and disciplined leader until the end of his four years. At the end of the four years, the entire university never wanted him gone. They were compactly attached, and it even touched Lei heavily at heart that he was leaving. But it had to be.
Now he was the country’s most successful and intelligent person, having a multi-billion shilling company and inspiring millions of people around the globe to a better, fulfilling and successful life. He had said, two weeks prior to his visit, that he was going to tour one of the schools in the country to share with his insights and wisdom. It never occurred to any of the students’ minds that it would be their school to have such a well-regarded honour. It was a very simple mixed day school. They were not even the best performing and well recognized in the area, let alone the region. And they were only five hundred students. According to them, the odds for the visit in the school was at minimal compared to the other schools in the country. But even with this, a few were hopeful and pessimistic because the visit was a random pick of any school.
Lei’s car slowly drove on the gravel driveway in the school compound and stopped near the administration block.
The school’s principal and four of his staff stood just before the administration block with welcoming smiles.
Lei opened the rear passenger door of the car and stepped out, dressed in a brilliant black Hugo Boss Suit. He was a man of fairly built physique, and this was clearly shown from his suit. He had a handsome brown complexion with a crew cut hairstyle and neatly-trimmed sideburns. He looked an esteemed gentleman.
He walked to the principal and his staff.
“Welcome, Mr. Lei.” The principal started with an effusive air of welcome, unable to hide his delight, “Welcome to Kihero Secondary School.”
“Thank you, mwalimu.” Lei offered a handshake with a gracious smile.
The principal shook with him, “We are very pleased with your visit.” He continued after the shake, “I am the Head Master of the school, Mr. Samuel Kiprotich.” He turned to his four staff and began introductions, starting in order from his left where he stood, “This is Mr. Kennedy Tibet, my Assistant Head Master; Mrs. Rukia Saleh, the Disciplinary Master; Mr. Boniface Mobutu, an English teacher in the school; and Mrs. Sarah Kamet, a Mathematics teacher.”
“I am honored to meet you all.” Lei kept his smile while shaking the staffs’ hands.
When he was done, the principal continued, “Whenever you are ready to start, Mr. Lei. The hall is this way.”
“Thank you.” Lei said and started walking together with the principal and his staff towards the school’s hall. Following behind them dutifully was a young man who came with Lei. He was carrying an electronic system with two speakers.
The school hall began to silence when Lei, the principal, and his staff walked in. All the students’ eyes landed on Lei. Not a single one of them wanted to miss the opportunity of seeing him in person. They only saw him in television and written materials. Now seeing him in person felt different. It felt good and prestigious. Others felt awe-inspired.
“Good morning.” Lei started with a smile, standing on the hall’s platform. His eyes captured everybody that was inside, easily and effortlessly.
The entire hall responded with enthusiasm and delight.
“I am happy to be here with you, guys.” Lei continued casually, “I am always filled with honour and pride in shaping and directing the future generations. It makes me happy, especially when I see people reformed and transformed because of me. It feels really nice.” He paused, expressions from students eager and fervent, “Today I am going to talk to you guys about your education and future. How you are going to make your future successful and great.”
“Making a future great is not easy. It is not a walk in the park. It needs SACRIFICES and PERSEVERANCE. And it is here in high school where it starts. This is where to start the foundation of the future you desire. Do you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, millionaire or billionaire? It starts here. What you do at this stage will determine the success of the future you desire. This stage is the bridge to your success. It is the pathway to your desired future. Many students either don’t know this or are ignorant about it. They don’t know that high school education is a privilege.”
“Not everybody can afford high school education. If you can, which is the case of everyone here, take advantage of it. Embrace it and hold it dear in your life. It is not hard to pass, it is hard to make passing sacrifices and live by them. That is what is hard in your stage. If you make sacrifices and commit to them, passing will become easy. Burn the midnight oil, use your teachers and friends, seek and consult in what you fail to understand and in the areas that you are weak at, have friends with positive values and characters, and deny yourself frequent fun and festive. These are the sacrifices I am talking about. If you can commit to them, you will pass.”
“Maybe some of you don’t know the value of high school education, but all of your parents and guardians know. There are parents who struggle to get your fees. Perhaps you have seen the only cow at home sold for your fees, or anything precious at home, or you have seen your parents doing the best they can to keep you in school. If your school fees has ever come through such means or it is coming through such means, then know that education is far more valuable and important more than anything else in your life. If your parents or guardians can go through that, denying themselves the luxuries of life, and sometimes going extra miles to get your fees, then it is time for you to reflect on it. Let that money be worth you. Make it worth you. I did the same once in my life. It was furthermore in high school. If you know me well then maybe you know about that chapter of my life. I was stuck in high school because my mum couldn’t afford my fees anymore. It was a devastating period for me. But a sponsor came to my aid and took me back to school. I worked hard and extra hard to prove worth of his money and aid. I made sacrifices and committed to them- to make him proud of me. And I did.”
“You should also do the same. Make the money from your parents, guardians or sponsors worth you. Make them proud and special. You will also feel good about it at the end of it. I felt good about it. It feels really, really good.” He paused.
“Work hard for an average score, or extra hard enough for higher scores. Average is C+, and it is enough to take you places, though laboriously and tiresomely. With that average score you will go through hard work and steadfast in your life to get to success. But higher scores will make it easier for you to go places. That is the difference. So, I will suggest you go for higher scores. It will at least make things easier for you, and it is never hard to attain these scores. Just make sacrifices, commit to them, and see how easy it will be. Make a tendency of revising and studying your notes and books. Learn and practice every day, because it is learning and practicing that grow potential. Remember to include Mathematics in your studies every day, because Mathematics is a deciding subject in grading and it is important out there in solving world problems. It is a key factor in making the world a better place. What I always did in high school is work out at least ten problems in Mathematics before I went to sleep. Problems from units that I had difficulties in. And it further built and grew my potential in the subject.”
“Seek and consult in areas you don’t understand. Teachers are here for you. Make them your friends and use them. Let them understand you. Don’t let them be harsh and be hard on you when they don’t understand you and know your thoughts. If you befriend them, it will be very rare for them to punish you. They will be correcting you and structuring you to the best ideological ways they know. And trust me, they know plenty. So, make that a priority.”
All the students’ eyes were on the speaker, unmovably and keenly.
“The second information I want to share with you,” Lei continued, “Is when you are out of here. When you complete your four years of study. If your results come and is good enough to make you join campus, and you have the means of joining the campus, keep studying hard until you make your life. But when the results are not good enough or you are unable to find means of joining campus, this is what you do;”
“First of all, never lose hope and revel on self-pity. Get something of meaning to do, and that is a job. It doesn’t matter what type of a job it is or how insignificant it is, as long as it is genuine and pays. Never worry about the society or friends, and never be embarrassed or ashamed. As long as everybody sees you working honestly, that is what is important. If you get the job, put all your heart and diligence into it, and have plans for the future. Plans will be your guiding spirit and will drive you to perform and deliver your best in the job.”
“Maybe you had a dream of becoming an engineer when you were here in school. Never lose that dream. Never let it go. It may take time and hardship to get there, but if you are persistent and determined, you will get to the dream and be an engineer of your liking. You can succeed in anything, so long as you have vision and determination. Take note of that.”
“So, remember to have plans for your future. Plans of making it big. Don’t settle on the usual and ordinary aspirations. Dream big and bigger. If you have an inventive dream, maybe you are thinking of an invention that will better lives and make it easier- like making an alternate source of power or building a machine that will do or run things easier, hold on firmly to the idea and dream. Think and imagine the idea aiding the entire world, not only your local area or country. That is how to think big; how the world is going to know of your invention or idea.”
“If you have such plans, you will give full commitment and strong will to the job, because you will know it is a bridge to your success. Even if it is a mjengo job, work with evident passion and determination and give it your all and best. Let your supervisor see and know that you are the most competent and hard worker in the lot. Let him search for you if there is work somewhere or elsewhere.”
“And work to please your bosses, no matter how harsh or inhuman they are. Never have negative thoughts in the job, because if your thoughts are negative about something, you attract negative results, and that will be a hindrance from performing at your best. Persevere and keep in mind that you are only there temporarily. Being there and the work is just a road to your future. You might even be surprised by your hard work and commitment. Your boss may come to admire you and give you support to get to your aspirations. Maybe you once told the boss that you have passion in music and would one day work to be a musician, then because you have been the best in your duties and work, and the connections the boss might be having, he may organize a way for you to get to your dream.”
“It happens, boys and girls, bosses aiding their workers and personnel to achieve their dreams. But it can only be possible through hard work, diligence and honesty. These values can bring unexpected rewards to you. It has happen to a lot of people, and some that I personally know about.”
“So, give your best no matter a working condition or the type of work, and save some money, whoever little, for your future plans. Nowadays it is easy to save. You don’t even need to have a bank account to save. You can save in your m-pesa, preferably in lock savings, because it is money for your future. Know what you want to do and save for it. Have strategic goals and work progressively towards them.” Lei paused.
“It is same to the ladies. Find a meaningful job and do it. It doesn’t matter if it is cleaning or washing jobs. What matters is building and making your life in the right way. If you make it in the wrong way, consequences and repercussions will catch up with you, even there in your future, and trust me, it is not something you would want to experience and live with. It is haunting and sickening, especially if you get a man who you have come to love and like. If he comes to know of your past and what you used to do, your relationship will have occasional tensions and strains whenever you have differences or misunderstandings, and it will hurt. It does always hurt, especially if you are true and honest to the man. And that is just men. We are naturally like that. All men on the planet, myself included.”
“So, value yourself and your body. Be decent and self-restrained. If there is a boy you admire, learn to know him first before you commit yourself to him. Make sure you have similar values and beliefs, and they must be responsible and positive values. Don’t settle on a boy who seems to value sex the most in your relationship. Settle on a boy who values his dreams and future the most. A boy who values education, and when you are with him, he talks of things that encourage and inspire you.” Lei paused, walking to a table on the platform where laid an electronic system with speakers, “I want you to listen and picture this type of a boy.” He pressed a button on the electronic system, and voices started talking from it, coming out clear through the system’s two speakers.
“… I told you if you feel horny, you can come to my place.” A young male voice said from the electronic system’s speakers.
“But I came and found you with that girl.” A young female voice replied back.
“I told you it was my friend who brought me the girl.” The male voice said, “I didn’t go searching for her.”
“But you had sex with her.” The female voice said.
“It wasn’t my fault. She pushed me to it.”
“Listen, babe,” The male voice was almost impatient, “You have said you are horny. Come and let me satisfy you.”
“I am not free now. But what about_”
“When are you free?”
“Let us first talk about_”
“Can you find time this afternoon?”
“I will inform you if I do…”
Lei pressed another button, stopping the conversation from the system. This was followed by light laughter across the hall.
“It is saddening, that you have stooped this low, girls.” Lei continued, “This is your boyfriend. You visit him and find him with another girl. He doesn’t even hide the fact that he slept with the girl. He says it as if it is not a big deal. Then you still keep up with him?” Lei sadly shook his head, “Girls, if you have strong values and beliefs in your life, settle with a boy who has the same values and beliefs, not just with any boy- not because he is handsome, cool or popular. There are boys out there with similar values and beliefs you have, and they are handsome, too. Boys who think like you and behave like you. If your boyfriend doesn’t have these values and beliefs, cut him loose. If you don’t get a boy with these values, then stop pressuring yourself to have a boyfriend. Concentrate and put priority in making your future and that boy will show up on the way. The world out there is harsh. One wrong or ignorant move and a part will be taken away from your life. A part that you will never recover no matter what. Yes, you will heal, but the wound will create a scar, and scars don’t heal. They are the life lessons, and a part that will be taken away from your life.”
“If you are out there and engage in intercourse, STDs will happen, pregnancy will happen, and trust me, you don’t want to wish living with that. It will crush your dreams and end it in an instant. If you get a baby, the baby will become a priority in your life. If you get HIV or any of the sexually transmitted diseases that don’t have cures, the disease will be a priority in your life. Your future will cease to be a priority. So, take care and reflect on the choices and decisions you make. Give priority to what counts first and think before you act, and know what is right and wrong. What is right is getting a boyfriend you share similar values with, or one who is responsible and caring, because he will care about you and your future. He will be a responsible person. But what is wrong is getting anybody to be your boyfriend, like our boy, here…” Lei pointed at the electronic system, “A boy who looks to be worshiping sex. You will destroy your life with such a boyfriend. It is one hundred percent not worth it. Cut such a boy loose in your life, and stand firm on your decision, no matter how he pursues you or follows you around.”
“To you, boys.” Lei took a short pause before continuing, “Manhood is responsibility and care. The role of a man is to lead, protect and provide. Both science and religion agree to this. Science says that men are endowed with more of active qualities which make us qualified in tackling responsibilities outside the home, while religion says men are the providers and protectors of the home. This means carelessness and irresponsibility should be out of the picture in a man’s life. You will not have a responsible and fulfilling future if you live with careless values. Always keep that in mind.”
“When you are out there, making and building your future, have a girl who understands you and where you come from. Settle for a girl who knows you, and tell her who you are. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed about it. A girl who likes you for who you are is the best girlfriend you can have. This is not a girl who asks for this today, and that tomorrow, and yet she knows you are a hustler. A girl who if she doesn’t get what she wants, switches moods and becomes a burden in the relationship. This is a girl you should cut loose in your life.”
“But I would recommend you not to involve yourself in relationship matters at your ages, especially when you are out of here. Don’t be in a hurry to have a girlfriend. At your ages girls are naïve. They are still discovering life, and that makes it hard to find a girl with decent principles and values. It is rare to find these girls.”
“Girls in your ages fantasies about good life and good stuffs. They perceive material things important. If they see their friends with this, they would also want it, and they wouldn’t care by whichever means they get it. They are easily swayed by peer influence. That is why you should let them mature first. They can cause you unnecessary heart breaks. And these heart breaks hurt, they really do, especially if you are completely into a girl. It happened to me, in my first year at the university. I had entirely given myself to this girl. I gave her my heart and everything that I had. But something happened, although it wasn’t her fault, but it completely crushed me. That was the time I experienced how a heart break feels like, and brothers and sisters, it is ugly. It affects deeply enough to even take hope away from you. So, brothers, don’t let yourself experience the feeling when you are still making your life. It can affect you badly enough to put a halt in your plans or even disrupt the plans. Don’t let that happen.”
“If you can’t find a responsible and virtuous girl, leave it alone and concentrate in building your life. Don’t put pressure on yourself to find a girl, put pressure on yourself to make your life. Girls will come falling like rain when you are successful. You wouldn’t even struggle searching for them, because when you are successful, you are handsome. Even your shadow is handsome, just like Mugabe said. And when you are successful, you are complete as a man. That is what women perceive.” He paused.
“Remember, both of you, when you are out there, and even in here, and if you really have to, get a boyfriend or girlfriend who has positive values and good morals and social standards. Somebody you share durable qualities of characters and common interests. This will make your relationship responsible and easily manageable, and trust me, this is what you need in your stage. This is vital in your stage. Don’t be pressured or pressure yourself in sex, or any other thing that the society perceive wrong. If it is sex, there will come a time you will comfortably enjoy it without repercussions. Right now don’t dwell on it. Don’t see it and make it an important aspect in a relationship. Pressure yourself, and your partner, in making a life you both wish. That is what you should dwell on and see important. Study together, go to the libraries, inspire and encourage each other, talk of your futures, always be occupied with positive and helpful intentions, and you will see the rewards that will come out of it. You will see how easy your life will be. But if you put a deaf ear and close your eyes on the facts I am giving you, you will always learn through accidents, and you will see how hard and difficult living your life will be.”
“When you are here, as you are now, work for higher grades. I am repeating this again. Navigating through life with higher grades is easier than navigating with average grades. I am not saying it is easy, but easier. Note the difference. You may get high grades but due to circumstances, mostly financial, you will be unable to further your studies. It happens, and when it does to you, do what I have just talked about. Occupy yourself with hard work and honest living, and live true to your value system. It may take long to have the future you desire, sometimes barriers and challenges blocking your way, but always remain determined, positive, persistent, faithful and hopeful. Never let the challenges and barriers weaken or overcome you. Sometimes the challenges can come too much and barriers exquisitely large, but remain focused, determined and hopeful. I won’t lie to you, but sometimes there comes a time when life is so hard that almost everything goes all wrong. It happens to all human beings, and it will happen to you. If or when it happens, never lose faith and hope. Challenges and barriers only come temporarily, they are never permanent, not unless they weaken and overcome you. You have seen people who seem to be living with challenges permanently. These are people who were weakened and dropped their guards of determination, direction, focus and self-belief. They now live with finality thinking- thinking that they can’t achieve anything anymore. Don’t be like them. Never let challenges and barriers overcome you, even if they are too much and take too long. Never drop your guards. Never allow that to happen, my students.”
The students maintained at Lei, keenly and absorbedly.
“I want to believe my speech will be of value in your lives.” Lei continued with a smile, “I want to believe you will do your best to apply what I have talked about in your life, yeah?”
The students nodded YES with fervid enthusiasm.
“Good!” Lei proudly smiled, “Now, any questions?”
The students started staring at each other, as if searching among themselves who was bold enough to start the questions. After a couple of seconds, a hand got raised in the middle of the sitting arrangement.
Lei looked to see the student behind the hand, then smiled at her, “Yes, please?”
“Thank you, Mr. Lei, for your advice and insight.” The student stood and said. Lei nodded with appreciation before she continued, “I have a question regarding the famous say of You Not Only Work Hard But Smart As Well. I kind of miss the meaning of the say, or I may have a wrong assumption of its meaning. What is its meaning? And if you may, can you show us how to work hard and smart? Thank you.” She said and took back her seat.
“An impressive question that is!” Lei proudly nodded, “The say, in the context to you as students, means finding easier but efficient and sufficient way of working. It is making sure you don’t struggle too much to achieve an objective, and that you succeed in the objective contentedly and proficiently by the means of achieving it.”
“Sometimes working hard isn’t enough to guarantee a success. You have to develop means and ways that will boost the work to success. These means and ways is what we call Working Smart. Let me give you an example; Richard studies every day. He reads volumes of studying materials- his notes, revision books and course books. But when exams come, he doesn’t find himself among the top achievers. Then he wonders why he can’t be among the top achievers, because he always stays until late hours of nights studying. His time is always in books, yet he can’t see himself at the top, or among the top. This can happen to any student. A student who only works hard. But what most students don’t know is that it is only in manual or physical work that one needs to work hard. When using your brain, that hard work will exhaust it, and this now comes to your studies.”
“Getting higher grades is not about studying everything you find around, until late at night and waking up before the birds do, but it is about organizing your study. The brain is a very delicate organ. If you give it information without plans, it will fail you. It won’t process the information the way you need it. That is why you will find yourself forgetting the information or having difficulty recalling them. Give the brain information with a plan, and this will be having a study format and manner. That is where Smart comes in.”
“Let me share with you my study format and manner as an example to the question that has been asked. How I worked hard and smart. It gave me an A at the end of my four years in high school, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t also give you the grade.”
“First, I made sure I was in ALL of my classes so that my notes were up-to-date. If I missed a class, I updated the notes from my friends or teachers. That was important to me, and it is to you, as long as you want an A at the end of it. That is working smart number one. Second, I ALWAYS went through the day’s notes, from every subject the day had, daily. I read the notes and made short notes of what I learned. These short notes were helpful to me when the exams period approached, and also useful every week. I chose a day from a week, it was every Sunday, and revised all the short notes of the week in that day. I committed myself to this and abode by it. That is working smart number two.”
“Third, I always read ahead of the teacher. Reading ahead of the teacher will make you find understanding and flow of a particular unit or subject easy. And as I was reading, I noted down what I didn’t understand so that I could hear it from the teacher. If I still didn’t understand it from the teacher, I consulted him with a question or checked on him privately. It was important for me, and it is to you, to understand all areas in a unit and subject of a course. This is because examination settings cover all areas of units and subjects. So, don’t leave any at chance. I didn’t. That is working smart number three.”
“Fourth, I made sure Mathematics was in my study timetable every day, because as I mentioned earlier, it is a deciding subject in grading. It also needs fresh mind when studying, and I always did it in the early mornings when I woke up. And still yet, I worked out at least ten problems before I went to sleep, every day. I did this at the end of my everyday study timetable schedule. Doing this will at least boost your score and will keep boosting it a grade higher. It is important, and it is working smart number four.”
“Fifth, I made sure I read all the recommended course books of every subject and every form, in my entire four years of high school, from the first page to the last. I read them once, because once is enough, as long as you understand everything from the first page to the last. If you don’t, consult and seek until you do. It is said that the brain can be able to remember the information from these books for up to four years, even if you read them only once, so long as you completely understand the information in the books. And four years is coincidentally great, because it is what you need! So, do it. Make sure you read all the recommended course books of every subject in all the forms, only once is enough, and make sure you completely understand everything in the books. That is working smart number five.”
“Sixth, I read and studied as many revision books and examination papers as possible, then made my own notes while comparing the books and papers. These notes that I made were helpful in my study timetable, and also revision when the exams where close by. I never studied heavily when exams approached. You shouldn’t. You will only over-work and exhaust your brain, and it will fail you. When exams are close, read your notes, preferably the short notes and notes from examination papers. Reading heavily during this time is never a good idea. That is working smart number six.”
“Seventh, I had a group study program. We were three students in the group, and met at least three times in a week. Choose or create a group study with members who perform best in different subjects. You can even have up to nine or more group members in the study, with each member good at a subject you all study in the group. This is important, because most students find it easier to reach at a friend than a teacher when the student has a problem. Meet at least three times in a week and use the time to ask questions in areas you don’t understand and consult widely where you are weak at. Use your friends in the study. I used mine and they used me and we all performed well in the school. In fact, we were the top three best students in our class at the final examination. That is working smart number seven.”
“Lastly, find time to relax and refresh your mind. I made at least two hours every day to relax my mind, and a full day, which was on every Saturday, to refresh my mind. Having a break from studying is important to the brain, and more important if you do activities that stimulates the brain. This include activities like your hobbies, interests or sports. Refreshing your brain will need a full day. You can choose the day to be either Saturday or Sunday. Don’t do anything academic on this day, unless you have an important assignment to accomplish. And refreshing it will again still be with activities of your hobbies, interests or sports. If the brain is relaxed and refreshed, it will work and process information effectively and efficiently. You will need your studied information to be processed efficiently. It will be important for that grade you want, and it will be working smart number eight.”
“That is how I worked hard and smart and it is how to go about it. If you commit to the study format and manner and develop a tough personal decision and will, you will be among the top achievers, just like I was.”
Students looked contented and satisfied from the question’s response.
“Let me also give you an important information concerning your studies and academic success.” Lei continued, “This information concerns your brain. The brain is among the most important discoveries that has been made on the planet. This is in relation to what it can do and what it is meant to do.” He paused, “There are three main regions and areas in the brain that are important in knowledge, information and understanding perceptions. These are the neurons, neuroplasticity and neurotransmitter serotonin. Neurons perform different processes that make us who we are in our faculty and cognition perceptions. The more you are aware and conscious of different matters and subjects in your surroundings, the more the neurons link up and make you intelligent. The neuroplasticity concerns with the behavioral perception about us. Different activities and undertakings will create different neural connections that will make one competent and knowledgeable in the activity or undertaking. If a person trains to be a musician for instance, it will create stronger neural connections that link the two hemispheres of the brain in order to make the person musically creative. This is possible through neuroplasticity. The moment you start training in anything, even to be an artist or training to pass examinations, you will be competent and achieve it through neuroplasticity. If we make doing something a tendency, the brain will pick up the behavioral perception of the tendency and will make us experienced in that something through neuroplasticity.”
“Self-belief is linked with neurotransmitter serotonin. This is an important chemical compound that boosts a person’s interest, self-drive and motivation through neuroplasticity, especially if a person’s belief system is positive and encouraging. Discouragements or negative perceptions interfere with the production of the hormone, and in severe cases, it often leads to depression, self-destructive behavior or even suicide. This means encouragements and self-belief is important to you in succeeding in whatever you do.”
“Now comes to your studies. Let the three core regions and areas of the brain help you achieve academic success easily and conveniently. If you are a student of low grades, particularly C’s and D’s, this is what you should do to ensure you get the best grades; First of all start small in your studies. Let the brain gradually get used to your study format by giving it information bits by bits. Make a timetable with a maximum duration of fifteen to twenty minutes in a given subject of study, and not more than that. If it is Mathematics, start with a minimum of five calculations and a maximum of ten. Even if you exhaust the twenty minutes time duration of the study and feel the need of continuing the study because you are not tired or simply you are motivated to keep studying, NEVER continue with the study. If you are not tired and feel the need of continuing to study, that is important to the brain. Let it look forward to the next schedule of the study. But if you continue studying just because you are not tired and feel the need to keep studying, you will make the brain tired, and that will easily demotivate you in your study format and manner. So, make sure your study time of a particular subject only lasts for a duration of between fifteen and twenty minutes. This will make sure your brain doesn’t tire from the studies. And have a break after every study to refresh the brain. If you have studied all the subjects you intend to study in the day’s timetable and still have much time left, use that time to expand your knowledge of the world around you by reading motivational, inspirational and worldly contents. Use the time to increase your knowledge on world views and modern ideologies that run the world. Why is this? Because your educational knowledge is not enough to make you effectively run the affairs of the world. You also need the knowledge of the world around you. Read on what the modern trends say, learn the current information in the world and learn about careers and opportunities in the world. This will prepare you on what awaits in your life after your studies, here in high school, and you will see yourself easily coping and competently achieving on different circumstances you face in your life. This is because education and information is power. It is what will guarantee an easy life for you.”
“That is what you should do in your academic studies. Feed your brain with controlled information if you are a student with low grades. Neuroplasticity will help you effectively and competently grasp the information as it trains the brain to slowly and gradually take in more of the information. If you see yourself improving in your grades through assignments, course work and CATs, then you can stretch the time frame of your studies to thirty minutes, forty minutes, one hour and so forth. Your improvement will be an indication that the brain can handle more duration of the studies without getting tired, and hence you will not be demotivated or lose morale in the studies, okay?”
There were affirmation gestures from the students, all feeling motivated and inspired from the information.
“Another question?” Lei continued.
Two hands were raised. Lei picked one.
“Sir,” A young boy with a small voice quietly said, “You are a very successful man, already a billionaire at only twenty nine years. I know and admire your company, with your co-founder, Michael Maiyo. Can you share with us the secret of being so much successful when you are still young?”
Lei smiled at the little boy. He had answered the boy’s question a dozen of times in many occasions and events he had been to, “You can only become a billionaire at twenty nine when your dreams are bigger than life.” He said informatively, “Just like I said earlier, don’t settle on common and predictable future. Settle where kings and queens used to be. Settle where if you tell somebody about it, he will call you mad and crazy or will tell you that is impossible. Then fantasies about that dream every single day and night. Write about it, talk about it, let your mind, heart and soul know about it and believe in it. Then work diligently and conscientiously towards it, with hard work, passion, perseverance, commitment and self-belief. Know that challenges are there and remain strong no matter how hard and harsh they strike. Never let challenges overcome you. People like Michael and I are past the assumption that you are supposed to stay strong and never lose hope when challenges strike. We let that be for mediocre and ordinary people, because we know that challenges come with lessons. They strike to correct you, make you stronger, give you more creativity, or better you as a person. If you want to be like me, never be afraid of challenges and coy whenever they strike. Face it and know the lesson it comes with in your life. Always think about the lesson, not the problem.”
“So, whether challenges come or not, keep working hard and smart, and believe in your ideas. Ideas that are mad and crazy before the world’s eyes but will change the world once you achieve it. Plane and aircraft ideas was once a mad idea before the eyes of all. People wondered and failed to believe that something can go up in the sky and fly just like the birds do. Same with the idea that the world is spherical and it rotates around the sun. The idea itself was abominable, but it came to change the world. And don’t just have an idea, have ideas. Having many ideas and progressively working to achieve them will easily get you to your Grand Idea. And Challenges will give you that. Challenges will give you ideas one after another. If you are from a poor or a disadvantaged background, then you have more advantage, because adversity births creativity and poverty shapes one’s future. It should boost and motivate you to take positive steps and have self-belief. This is where ideas will sprout from. You will find yourself with ideas on how to cope in different situations of life, and the adversity will propel you and carry you on even if things get difficult in your path of success, so long as you are determined and diligent.”
“That is the secret of being a billionaire at twenty nine. Dreaming big and large and pressing on with minor ideas until the dream happens. Success is all about ideas and excellence. You also need to surround yourself with intellectual people. People who also have big dreams, because intellectual values will play a big role in making you successful. You will need these values.”
A thunderous clap filled the hall, students looking fulfilled and pleased from Lei’s point.
“I saw two hands.” Lei continued after the clap.
Another boy stood from a bench seat he was on, “Hello, Mr. Lei. We appreciate your abundant knowledge and wisdom in life. Here is my question; how can one make sure he doesn’t get negative peer influence? This is because I have come to realize that it is a powerful influence, particularly when the environment is also influencing.”
“Wonderful, young man!” Lei proudly looked at the boy, “You are very right. Peer pressure is a powerful force of influence. Sometimes one never knows or realize the influence until repercussions settle in.”
“To counter it, make sure you have information on what the society perceive wrong and right. Read articles and writings on guidance and inspiration, and read wide. These articles and writings will give you knowledge of what is wrong and right, what is accepted and useful, and what is required and necessary. If you keep reading these articles and writings, you will be building your sense of self-worth and self-confidence, as well as wisdom in your mind, and it is these that you need to counter peer influence.”
“If you have the information from these articles and writings, let the information define you. Let it define who you are. Let people know and talk of the person the information has made you become, and it is only possible applying what you have read from the articles and writings and living by them. Don’t be afraid, even if you see your friends involved in what is perceived wrong. Step up, face them and show them the right things. Never be afraid of them. The worst they can do is chase you away from their group, which won’t hurt. It is better to be your own friend than have friends who involve themselves in wrong activities.”
“That is what you do, boys and girls. Seek and search for information. This is the time to feed your brains with information and knowledge, and not only educational but inspirational and worldly as well. Then live to the information you have acquired. Show the world what is right and wrong. Let the world see how influenced you are from the information. If you do that, you will be able to counter any negative peer influence in your life.”
The students once again clapped with cheering.
When the cheering stopped, Lei continued, “Any more questions?” He waited while looking across the entire hall. No hand got raised. The questions seemed exhausted from the students’ expressions. Lei then continued, “If there are no any more questions, it means I have been sufficient to you. Remember and live by what I have shared with you. You will live your dream and be an important person in the society, just like I am. People will admire and want to be like you. They will give you respect and reverence. They will want to be where you are and follow you. You will be their role model, pillar of counsel and leader. It really feels good when you are regarded as such. The feeling is always incredible. Live to experience it. And it starts here. It starts with your grades. Make sacrifices and develop persistence, determination, commitment and strong will. The reward is amazing and beautiful. You will have all the luxuries you desire, and it will feel like heaven. It does, brothers and sisters, it feels wonderful if you can have any luxury you wish upon. Your sacrifices will be worth it. You will look behind and say, wow! I made the right choice to fight for the future I desired. You will be proud of yourself. You will say that I worked hard for what I have, and it really was worth it.”
“So, students, start making your life now. Begin now, and make it whatever you desire. I desired to be a billionaire in my lifetime, and I already am. What do you desire?” Lei concluded his speech with a smile, the students looking satisfied with the information given. It promised to be an inspirational and motivational occasion, and it lived to the promise.