Posted in Inspiration, Tips for Students

How to Maximize your Education, Part 3 of 6

This series of posts looks at six vital principles for getting the most value out of your education, regardless of how you go about pursuing it.

Principle # 3: Distinguish between possibility-based thinking and fear-based thinking.

Possibility-based thinking will lead to a happy, effective life, whereas fear-based thinking will lead to a limited, miserable life.  The way to tell the difference is that possibility-based thinking is open ended and focused on growth, and fear-based thinking is narrow, confined, and focused on maintaining and surviving.  If you look at the future and see options and opportunities and are mainly concerned with expanding what you are capable of, then you are probably practicing possibility-based thinking.  If you look at the future and see obstacles, risks, and threats and are mainly concerned with keeping what you have or just staying alive, then you are probably coming from fear mode.

You can always choose which mode to operate from in any situation.  At any given time, there are an unlimited number of potential risks that your mind could choose to obsess over, and there are likewise an unlimited number of opportunities it could choose to pursue.  Whether you choose to focus on obstacles or on opportunities is a choice, but it is also subject to habit.

Are you pursuing your education because you are afraid of not having a job, of not being able to make money, or of not fitting in?  All of these motivations are based in fear.  On the other hand, if you are pursuing your education because you are passionate about gaining knowledge and excited about the opportunities you are pursuing, then you are coming from possibility-based thinking.

The worst motivation of all, and a recipe for being stressed and unfulfilled, is doing something because you “have” to.  I am here to tell you that regardless of what you may have heard, there is absolutely nothing in this life that you “have” to do.  Though you cannot choose to do that which is impossible, the number of choices available to each of us, even on a day-to-day basis, is literally unlimited, and we humans have been historically notorious for being comically mistaken about what we deem impossible.


Dane Dormio is an online tutor and academic coach who specializes in helping all types of students achieve life and academic success, especially homeschooled students and those preparing for STEM careers. More information and resources can be found on his website at

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