Parents, teachers AND students, here’s an awesome comment that a student recently left me: “Hey Seth I’m a student. I am struggling in school. I am trying to do my best for the grades but I doesn’t come out right. I study but then the grades come out bad. My parents get mad at me when I do get the bad grades. On the other side my sister gets great grades when she is in 4th even though she doesn’t study. Can you plz help me??” Here I offer excellent insight for students, but parents and teachers, you’ll definitely want to see this one, because it WILL HELP YOU HELP STUDENTS. I give some practical insights and 9 solid tips that all have to do with one overarching idea, “overhauls.”
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Video Transcript: Click here to download the transcript PDF.
Hey, what’s up parents, teachers and students? Parents and teachers, this one is for students because a student asked a question. Students, this one is for you. Parents and teachers, you should watch this one because it’ll give you a lot of insight into how I would specifically coach a student, because that’s what I’m going to do right now. Sao Ethan, what’s up? Students, I got this awesome email from somebody named Ethan, or comment on a YouTube video, and I don’t usually get students who comment to me. And this person specifically wrote, you know, “Hey, Seth,” here’s, here’s what they said, actually, see if you can relate to this. “Hey, Seth, I’m a student. I’m struggling in school, trying to do my best for the grades, but it doesn’t come out right. I study but then the grades come out bad. My parents get mad at me when I do get the bad grades. On the other side, my sister gets great grades when she’s in fourth grade, even though she doesn’t stud. Can you please help me?” So if you are trying your best for the grades, but it’s not coming out right, this video is for you. What’s up? My name is Seth Perler. I’m an executive function coach. So I help struggling students, which is what I was, navigate this thing called school so you can have a great life. Not so you can please your parents, or your teachers, or do what everybody asked you to do or be perfect or anything like that, or get straight A’s or anything like that. It’s so you can have a good life. That’s the purpose of education. And we often lose sight of that. So first thing I want to say to Ethan or to any of you who are in Ethan’s situation, who reach out to somebody and ask for a little bit of help. Your honesty says a lot about you in a very good way. Your ability to say, “Hey, I need a hand here.” And that is called humility, that that is called asking for help, which is one of the hardest things to do. People who are strong, ask for help. People who tried to look strong and act strong, who never asked for help are really not strong. They don’t know how to ask for help. That’s not a sign of strength. So you are a strong person who is willing to ask for help. That is amazing. So you’re honest, you’re being honest here. A lot of people lie to themselves and lie to their parents, but you’re being honest. So I just want to start off by saying that, like, you need to understand how big that is, that in and of itself is good. So for any of you who are being honest, humble, reaching out for help, that says a lot about who you are. That’s really important.
Next thing I want to say is just put things in perspective, grades are a story, we made them up 175 years ago or so we made up these things called grades. I hate them. I think they’re outdated. I don’t think they work. I don’t think they do what they’re supposed to do. I don’t think that they’re appropriate. I think that they should be done away with. We should have other ways of evaluating how a person’s learning. So grades are sorry, like you said, you are trying to do your best, but the grades aren’t showing it. I think you need to give yourself credit and effort for doing your best too, that’s important. Stop and pause the video be like, “I actually am doing my best.” And one of the things that Seth often says is, “I do my best. And sometimes my best thinks sometimes it’s horrible, but it’s my best.” That effort in doing that is what counts, because that’s what gets me to the next level. So my best doesn’t have to be perfect. So give yourself credit for doing your best. By the way, I have nine tips for you. I’m gonna get to in a second to wrap this up. So you said it doesn’t come out right for you. You’re not getting the grades that you’re trying and it’s not showing. Well, I feel for you, I went through the same thing. Other people are watching this go through the same thing. And the students that I work with day in and day out in my courses and my programs and my office, they are going through that. You said it doesn’t come out, right. That’s hard. It hurts. And you have strengths, and you have talents, and interests, and passions, and curiosities, and good things about you. But they’re not noticed by how the classroom is evaluating you. Don’t forget you have those strengths. That’s what you’re going to build your life on. But I feel for you, it stinks. It feels horrible. And as far as your parents getting mad, while them getting mad at you doesn’t give you any solutions. If they’re dysregulated, meaning their nervous systems are frustrated, then that just helps makes you feel frustrated or want to hide or get away from them or get angry or whatever. And maybe you can ask your parents to sit down with you and problem solve. I don’t know your parents, but you’re asking me for help and that’s awesome. So ask them for help. They may not know how to help though, but they do want the best for you. But you may have to sit down with them, and maybe if you say and say “Hey Mom, Dad. Can you sit down with me and help me? I want to figure this out.” Maybe that’ll help Excuse me. And as far as your sister, maybe she has great executive function and or maybe things are just easier at that age for who knows why it is. But if it’s because she has strong executive function, those things come easy. Good, that’s great for her. But she has different strengths than you, that doesn’t make her better or worse than you. You need to know that. So, alright, here we go. I’m going to give you nine tips for Ethan and any students are going through that. What does your best mean? We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know what we don’t know. And what I’m going to give you is nine tips. So now that you know these, these should be able to help you. Parents and teachers, I think this will help all of you. This is the coaching that I do this is the answer.
One word for you today, Ethan, or any students who are going through this. It’s the end of the semester, you got a little bit of time left, you’ve got to pull your grades up. You’re doing all this work, you’re trying but it’s not paying off. One word: overhauls. That’s what I’m going to base this on. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s doable. And it’s okay that it’s not easy actually. It’s cool because it’ll help your life overhaul, that’s the word of the day. Overhauls, the word of the day is overhauls. What do we need to overhaul here Ethan and students who are in the situation?
Number 1: First thing you need to overhaul in my opinion is your clutter. What kind of clutter do you have? Do you have mental clutter? Well, that’s the hardest to overhaul. So let’s put that on the back burner for now. But you do have digital clutter and you do have physical clutter, we can remove clutter. Removing clutter also means removing distractions. We have mental distractions, we have physical distractions, we have auditory distractions. So first of all, what kind of clutter in terms of distractions do you have? Do you have auditory distractions? Sounds that bug you or that get you distracted from doing your work? Get rid of them. Do you have music that you have on that’s distracting? Be honest with yourself if it’s actually distracting or helping. Do you have physical clutter? Is your room a mess, or desk a mess, or backpack a mess, or head a mess, or inbox a mess? Downsize, minimize, declutter, get rid of clutter, remove distractions and general. Declutter. Start with a clean slate. People have so much stuff and that stuff makes the mind foggy. We need to get rid of stuff that it’s cluttery, whether it’s visually cluttery, auditory, mentally clutter, physically cluttering, get rid of stuff. Downsize, minimize, overhaul your clutter. Number one. Number two. Oh and it’s going to take time, you’re going to have to take time with your backpack, time with your desk, time with all this stuff to overhaul it, clean it up. Really you’re going to have to spend a whole weekend or something doing that or several nights during the week, like hours. Do it though because it’ll give you a clean slate. It’ll help.
Number 2: Next I want to say overhaul your inbox. Number two is to overhaul your inbox. Even though I said digital clutter already. Look at your inbox look at who you need to reply to, delete the emails you don’t need, and unsubscribe from things. But get a handle on especially what emails that teachers have sent that you need to be aware of
Number 3: And number three, overhaul your sacred study space, your study space where you study. So I already mentioned that.
Number 4: Overhaul your backpack, your folders, your papers, your supplies, your school stuff. Overhaul it. Get rid of papers you don’t need, recycle them. Get rid of supplies you don’t need, like broken pencils, anything. Dump out your backpack, see what you really have in there, see what you need to keep. You only have a month, month and a half left to school. Get rid of everything in your backpack, folders, papers, all that stuff and just keep what you need.
Number 5: Overhaul your portals with a fine-tooth comb. Look through your grades, look through your syllabi, look for your teacher things, look closely. Why? Because the students I work with often miss details that are in the portals. Like right now, I’m gonna have students saying “Yeah, Seth. Yeah, we don’t have any final exams,” and I’m gonna be like, “Are you sure?” and they were like, “I’m sure.” And then we’re gonna go ahead and fine-tooth comb it and look through it and we’re gonna find out yeah, they got some final exams or final projects or final papers because they didn’t notice the details. There’s no shame in that, just know if you miss details do this. I miss details. So you got to use a fine-tooth comb, go through your portal carefully.
Number 6: Advocate for yourself. What the heck does that mean? Talk to your teachers. It’s not that hard, but it is asking for help is hard. But ask them say “Hey, teach,” exactly what you said to me, “I am trying my best and it’s not working. I’m getting bad grades. How do I improve?” ask that question. Write it down right now. You should be taking notes right now as you’re watching me by the way. Ask them for a break. Say “Hey, I’m overwhelmed. Give me a break here.” You know, “How do I improve? Okay, that sounds really overwhelming, I can’t do all of it. I don’t even know where to start. Where do I start? And can you give me a break? I’m not trying to cheat. I’m not trying to whatever. This has been a hard year. Give me a break.” Be human with them and be honest. Ask them where to start. Then advocate getting a tutor, or have an older kid that you know that’s a decent student help you, or a cousin or a relative, or somebody. Just advocate for yourself to them to be like, “Hey, can you help me?” Advocating means asking for help. Which you already did with me, you asked me for help. That’s advocating and now I’m responding because you asked for help. So ask people for help.
Number 7: Overhaul accountability. What that means is don’t do it alone. We don’t have to do life alone. I don’t run my business alone. I didn’t get through college alone, I almost failed in high school, I failed out of college, dropped out of a second college before I failed out. When I finally went back to college, I didn’t do it alone. What does that mean? I had accountability. What’s accountability? I had study groups, I had what’s called co-working, working with friends, working on homework with friends, working with parents, even your sister. Even if your sister’s annoying or something, you can say, “Hey, let’s work together.” And you can see things, even learning from a fourth-grader, you can see things that she does. It’s all about co-working. Co-work with your parents. Accountability means that we talk to somebody and we say, “Hey, can you make sure I do this?” Like, hey, for example, I’m learning new guitar stuff with a new guitar teacher. So I don’t always remember to practice, so saying to a friend, “Hey, can you remind me to practice? Or ask me if I’m practicing? Or can we practice together?” Whatever. So accountability, don’t do it alone. Co-work.
Number 8: Eight, this is big. Number nine is the most important but eight is big overhaul. How you all study. Students listen to me. A lot of my students, when they start working with me, we find out that the way that they study is meaningless. Like let’s say I wanted to work on getting giant biceps. And I wanted to get stronger my arms. And let’s say that I was going to use these to do the exercises, I’m going to like use a marker to do the exercises. It does no good. A lot of my students are doing things like, what is the online flashcard thing? It seems like you’re doing something but it’s not doing anything, or they look at a study guide the night before or the morning of the test, that doesn’t do anything for you. Or they skim through a chapter, they don’t read the chapter. They don’t take their time, they don’t slow down, they rush through everything. They do poor quality work, they’re not learning anything. So everybody’s in such a hurry, slow down. How do you study? Overhaul how you study, But I don’t know what the problem is with any of you got to find out what is your problems with studying? Is it that you have missing work? Is that what you need and that’s bringing your grades down? Late work. If they’re always late, and you’re getting partial credit, qhat can you do about lates if they’re missing? What can you do about that particular issue? Missings? Is it that you don’t give yourself enough time to do quality work? Is it that you have anxiety about the test? You study hard and then in the test you freeze up. Well then you have to deal with the anxiety. Is that that you’re forgetful? Well, then you have to deal with how do you work with forgetfulness. Do you not redirections? Well, then you have to read directions. Ask your teacher how to study. First tip, ask your teacher how to study. Teachers will tell you in middle, high school, and college, you ask your teacher and you’ll be surprised. Ask everyone and they’ll all say, “Oh, well for my class do this for my class, do this…” Write this down, “Hey, teacher, how do I study for your class?” and see what they say. Ask them all and you’ll get some great tips from them. And you might find out that it’s easier than you thought because a lot of times that’s the case. Some of the things that I teach people to do and that I do is draw your notes. Amazingly powerful for artistic, creative visual people. So next thing, record your notes. So in other words, go home, look at your notes and record yourself on QuickTime or an audio recording and listen to them over and over. I couldn’t have gotten through college if I didn’t record my notes, I would record my notes when I got home, just in my own words. And then I would re-listen to them over and over and over when I was walking to class. Anytime, you know, when you’re falling asleep, when you’re waking up, when you’re eating breakfast, you can listen those. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was cheating because I remembered so much by listening to those notes. Take your time. I had to learn to study. It takes time. I couldn’t rush it anymore. I had to be proactive, meaning starting to study early. If I have a test in two weeks, I start two weeks before the test and I study periodically up until that test. I don’t just study the night before. So you have to be proactive. Use YouTube, another great tip. If you’re studying something, let’s say you’re in a chemistry class and you’re learning this lesson about a certain thing, look it up on YouTube. You’ll find some interesting YouTubers that are not your teacher that are more interesting than your teacher, or speak it in a different way. Watch multiple on that thing, you will integrate so much more depth of information. And the number one best way to study in the whole world ever is to teach other people. Having accountability, like I said, study groups, study partners, and teaching them, or teaching your parents or teaching your cousin or a friend. Be like, “Hey, I got this science test. I got this math test. Let me teach you how this work.” So you might teach somebody, you know, the some math concept and they don’t even understand what you’re talking about. But you trying to explain it to them makes your brain learning more. I’m telling you that is the number one way to learn is to teach someone. The number one way. So do that when you study. I mean it. If you want your studying to be easy, I’m telling you do that. And then as far as anxiety, if it’s anxiety, you got to find solutions that I just wanted to start with.
Number 9: Last one, number nine, last one. Ethan, students, anybody, the most important thing to overall? The most important thing overall is your self-compassion. Your parents may be mad at you, coming down on you about this stuff, yelling at you, getting frustrated, asking you why? And you may give an honest answer, maybe I don’t know why I’m not doing well. I am trying. And it’s daunting, and it’s hard. You may feel pressure from your parents, you may feel pressure because you see kids around you and it seems so easy for them. It’s not easy for everybody, by the way. You may, you know, hear some of your teachers say things like “Why didn’t you turn it in? It’s late.” And you may hear just like a lot of pressure from the world, from people. And if you’re like me and you’re a square peg in a round hole, and you feel like you don’t fit in the box and you never will, well, that’s okay. And that’s good because you will find who you are. But you have to overhaul self-compassion. You have to be compassionate with yourself. You have to be gentle with yourself. You have to be kind yourself. You’re going to have an inner critic, we all have an inner critic. We all have a voice inside of us that says, “I’m so stupid. I’m so dumb. Oh, I can’t do it. Oh, I give up. Oh, I hate this. Oh, I’m bad at school. Oh, I’m bad at math. Oh, I’m bad at friendships. Oh, nobody likes me. Oh, everybody hates me. Oh, the teachers hate me.” We all have inner critics. We all have different versions of an inner critic. Mine used to say, “Seth, you’re a lazy failure, and you’re not going to amount to anything.” That’s what mine said, “I’m a lazy failure. I can’t do anything. I can’t do anything right. I’m a lazy failure.” Well, those were stories that I believed and I no longer believe it. I’m not a lazy failure and I can do things right. What I couldn’t do was do everything right the way the world expected me to. That’s okay. I had to learn self-compassion, to be kind to myself, to find what my strengths were. What are your strengths? What are you good at? If school is always a struggle, and it always has been and it always will be, okay, so be it. Still, be kind to yourself and look for what your strengths are and develop those. That is what you’re going to build a life on. So no matter how loud the inner critic gets, no matter how mean your inner critic gets, no matter how bad the things are that are in there, those are only thoughts. What’s the thought? You can’t even touch a thought. You can’t even see a thought. We don’t even know what a thought is. It’s just a thought, let it pass. Don’t hold on to those thoughts too long. And you can get help from counselors and therapists and people and friends and books, but whatever you do, figure out how to be self-compassionate.
That was long video, that was an amazing question. I hope you took notes, watch it again and take more notes. Apply this stuff. If it’s the end of the semester for you, apply it now. Start with your overhauls, rethink these things. I know it’s gonna take you probably a week to do what I just said in this video. It will pay off. What was the most important one I said? Self-compassion, be okay with yourself. All of you watching, you are a good, valuable person. You have amazing strengths, talents, interests, and gifts. Maybe nobody sees them, it doesn’t matter. Build them. They will become the things that you build an awesome life out of. I promise even if you get all F’s and everything. And you do what I did and fail out of college and drop out of another college before failing out and feel like you’re a failure. Those are stories. You have a purpose here on this planet. You have some work to do to help people and to do cool things, things that give you meaning. And EGU, you never ever give up. You got this. Yes, it’s hard, but you got it. Don’t give up. If I can do it, you can do it. Take care. Have a good day.