Standardized tests. Job Interviews. Auditions. What do these situations have in common? Despite your best efforts and all the preparation that you do, you can’t control the result. This can cause a great deal of anxiety. You might be an excellent candidate for a given job – but the hiring manager will decide to hire the candidate who was in his college fraternity. Though you can’t control the outcome, what you can control is your approach to and attitude about these situations. You can create your own personal, measurable goals which will make the experiences valuable and productive – regardless of whether you get the job, the part, or a 36 on your ACT.
Let’s look closer at the example of an ACT student. Rather than fixating on the score she ultimately receives, the student can instead focus on what she can control. She can say to herself, “Okay. I’m going to focus on using my elimination strategy, on percent and proportion word problems, and on not getting distracted during the reading section.” These are measurable, achievable goals the student can set for herself, and most importantly, can hold herself accountable for achieving.
Rather than focusing on an unpredictable outcome, it’s empowering to focus on your own personal goals instead. This will allow you to be introspective and evaluate your own performance. You’ll be able to develop your own standards and values by which to measure yourself. That way, no matter what happens, it will be a positive learning experience.