How to Be the Best January 16, 2016 – Posted in: Blog, Inspiration – Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Everyone has a different background, but we all follow the same rules. That’s what allowed me to help many children that seemed to be doomed to fail forever. And I do know I couldn’t really help many because the cultural pressure and family pressure they were receiving was overwhelming. If their parents prohibited them from using my methods, because they don’t think that is how a person should study, or the methods look weird, then they destroy everything I did. And the children, despite seeing the obvious results, can’t do anything about it.
I remember one very interesting experience, in which the grandmother told me that her adopted son couldn’t remember anything and was a bad student. In front of her, I made him remember a huge stupid sentence. But she kept looking at me as if I was using some kind of weird ritual, so she decided to put the kid learning with another person, that actually charged her much more money. The kid was very happy with me and excited in noticing he could actually become a great student. But what could he do?
The problem I saw in college students is worse because, at this point, the whole pattern of thinking is already controlled, crystalized. The gap between the identity and the thinking pattern is huge. I did try to close the gap, but then I’m seen as talking weirdly or interfering with politics, which scared some teachers.
First of all, a human being is not naturally programmed to do mistakes. That’s something learned. So, the “stupid”, “negative” and “wrong” people of my stories are also the components of your brain working against you.
[bctt tweet=”‘A human being is not naturally programmed to do mistakes’ -Dan Marques”]
What makes a person stupid? Lack of understanding.
What makes a person negative? Lack of perspective.
What makes a person wrong? Lack of conscience.
The “others” in my stories reflect the “us” within that we often don’t know about. So here we have a way to make us analyze what makes us “imperfect”, as that’s ultimately what we’re talking about. How can you become less “imperfect” and more “perfect”? Let’s see…
Understanding – Do you know the purpose of what you’re studying? How it applies to life? How others apply it? That’s the process I took into consideration, when bringing documentaries to class, when telling others to study languages with movies,…
Perspective – Usually, you only know one: the professor. That’s why I always made my students share their thoughts. There was never a “real” or “true” answer, and the students could never guess “what I wanted”, because the purpose was to make the students learn from each other, to listen to what their classmates said and understand the same topic from many different perspectives. That develops a wider way of thinking, which leads to positive thinking. An entrepreneur, for example, is constantly seeking for this wider analysis, in order to expand his awareness. An academic research also shows an analysis through a huge amount of different perspectives. Again, the techniques you can use are many, but one of them consists in actually asking someone to study with you, or at least challenge your knowledge. And I do know this is virtually impossible, because education promotes competition. And there we have a major problem with the educational system. So, the other option you have is to try to differentiate materials, pick up different books, and see different ways to study the same topic.
Conscience – This is another common problem among students and adults in general. You don’t really know what you know until someone tells you, in an exam, right? That’s lack of conscience. You shouldn’t need that! When students asked me why there isn’t ONE correct answer in my exams, I always said that it’s because there are MANY correct ways to interpret the same thing, and I assume my limitations in seeing them all. Therefore, there is one correct answer that I predict for the exam, but the student is free to surprise me, and get a high grade with another answer. Well, it rarely happens, but it does happen. However, it can only happen if the student is TRULY aware of the paradigm behind the answer. In other words, he can see the same answer from different perspectives because he reached the understanding. Can a person from the bottom of a mountain see all the villages beneath? No, only someone at the top could see that.
Education doesn’t give you the power to be self-conscious because that’s against the politics behind any educational model. So, you have to gain that power yourself. Why are you afraid of an exam? Because the exam has power over you. How can you take it back? Well, self-evaluate yourself so much that the exam will look like a kid’s play to you!
Here is how I did it in my life:
Exams: I collected all the exams I could get, from other students, other schools, other teachers, other years, up to the previous 5 years, and analyzed them all, to a point in which I could even predict the questions. That ability is what later allowed me to see how teachers I never met would exam my own students from the tutoring classes. I was not only helping students understand, but predicting the quesitons and their exams. So, indeed, the students would then come to me smiling, as if the exam had been a joke, a kid’s play. I had made their problem so small that is was like joke to them.
I have used the same strategy to help my students win speech, writing, theatre, and, basically, any type of competition in which they participated. I always told them that they can’t predict how to win, only do their best, and the best would have to be the truth, and the truth ALWAYS combines different perspectives. So, in fact, there was only one way to help them. And it consisted in analyzing both perspectives, combining them, and move to a higher ground (the top of the mountain). However, their problem remains the same in any area. They actually didn’t understand the application of the theories like I did. So, the process in itself forced them to gain a higher conscience. And winning was just natural, if the jury wasn’t composed of dumb idiots, which fortunately for them often wasn’t. They were wise enough to see the value of the work. Their words, even the speech, could be trained, but truth is something you feel, so I never worried much about how they should talk or present themselves. A person that has conscience has power in his or her own voice. That power is felt. Can’t be faked.
[bctt tweet=”‘The best would have to be truth and truth always combines different perspectives’ -Dan Marques”]
What makes people different includes many components that you may not be seeing. For example, children with parents that work in politics or business usually have the components I described very well developed, so it comes natural for them to be good. It’s not that they are good as students, but that their brain has been developed during their entire life, by merely hearing their parents talking to each other, the vocabulary used, the terms applied to express themselves, the questions asked to their daughter or son, etc. Yes, even the way people ask questions can make us think differently. So, you can’t really compare yourself with others. That’s a common mistake students do when trying to improve. But the educational system hides this truth. The educational system is actually formed as a pyramid, despite the illusions it has. If you come from the bottom, you will remain at the bottom.
[bctt tweet=”‘The educational system is formed as a pyramid; If you come from the bottom,…’ -Dan Marques”]
My father has always been an idiot, with 4 years of school, and a horrible thinking. He never played with me when I was a kid, and when I had problems, he would tell me: “You deserve that”. Result: I became introverted and stupid.
A cousin of mine had similar problems. But his father, which loves to read and self-educated himself by going to night school while working, never blamed his son for anything. Instead, he would put him in a different school, give him suggestions on how to behave with others, and pay for special tutors and travels to England, for special summer courses, for his son to improve himself, both socially and academically. And the result of that is obvious. My cousin became a very confident person. He isn’t necessarily better or smarter than me, but his background gave him the tools he needed to succeed, while I had to find them by myself.
This is just how life is. However, I wouldn’t have turned out to be a writer if I hadn’t suffered and learned so much at the same time. So, there’s really nothig to regret. Don’t compare yourself to others! For example, I realized that I’m very emotional, and some emotions affect me more than others. So, as my parents were very violent, verbally and physically, I noticed that feeling nervous and afraid affected me much more than any other of my colleagues. The emotion of fear or nervousness, would block my thinking and make me forget.
People react differently to their emotions, based on their repetitive patterns. It was studied by Pavlov. Well, when I was a kid, and my parents made me angry, I would answer something they didn’t like, and get slapped hard in the face, or punched in the head. So, fear and stupidity became a program in my head related to protection. A really Pavlovian result. So, when I noticed this, I started to control my emotions externally, which is easier than controlling them internally, and that implied arriving late to exams. Because, if I arrived late, I wouldn’t see and feel and hear others students talking about how nervous and afraid they are. They could also make me nervous with their conversation. So, I would just arrive and immediately start writing. And the reason why I would arrive late, it’s because, on purpose, I would often meet a friend that made me laugh before the exam.
Even though negative emotions have a stronger impact on me than others, reason why I rather be angry than worried, many studies in psychology have consistently proven that happiness improves thinking. So, there you have it! In fact, that’s why in the Olympics, before an athlete enters the swimming pool, he is listening to music. Have you noticed that? Yep, they know this. I can’t really say that Lady Gaga or any other famous artist can help you, but the emotion does. I’ve done the same experiment in my students, and noticed that when I played video games with them, or made jokes, their speed in learning would improve a lot.
[bctt tweet=”‘I can’t really say that music or artists help you but the emotion does’ -Dan Marques”]
I basically realized that I’m a very emotional person. It has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages are that I tend to be more empathic, helpful, altruistic, caring and very fast in creating good music or books. The disadvantages are that I get angry easily, I can’t handle stupid people, fear makes me stupid and sick rather fast, and, as a man, tend to be perceived as either gay or bisexual. In other words, I match well with the artistic lifestyle but would always struggle in other sections of social life. To succeed, I need to raise that self-awareness and know very well what type of people I surround myself with.
What you can take from this to apply in your life, is that you self-awareness raises your success rate. As Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.
[bctt tweet=”‘If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will believe that it is stupid’ -Einstein”]

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Daniel Marques

Author of “The Efficient Student”

The Efficient Student