I’m going to shift gears here. Your gears actually.
You might feel exhausted, plateaued, and generally not inspired to go at it even though the bar exam is looming on the horizon.
Whatever calmness you may have had before ago is now fair game for anxiety to go after.
It’s right before the finish line we lose steam, leading to a “failure of the last mile.”
I won’t let that happen.
Here are 5 reminders for you so that you don’t give up now. Here’s how you can shift into second gear. (Is that an accurate analogy? You get the point)
1. We CAN do hard things.
Sometimes we forget that we have the capability to do extraordinary things when we push ourselves.
There was a challenge several years ago where I had to do a plank for 21 minutes straight. It seemed doable until I actually got on the floor for a few minutes. I could feel every second of the burn.
But I did it. A 21-minute plank.
Sure, I had to get on my knees at points, but it showed me that there’s plenty of space between what we think we can do and what we can actually do. One second at a time.
This year has been the most challenging period in my life, where I’ve been really stretched thin, between an overwhelming new job that came with new stresses, keeping MTYLT afloat, a big new project for essays in the works, managing relationships, etc.
But I’ve seen that people can do things beyond my imagination to achieve their goal of passing the bar exam. You are also an inspiration.
You’ve also done extraordinary things in the past. We can find motivation everywhere, from others, from our own past. Constraints also force us to be better with our time and energy…
So don’t give up. Keep going. Again. One second at a time. You did not come this far just to come this far.
Are you the kind of person who can do hard things?
2. It only takes a moment of strength for the lifetime privilege of calling yourself an attorney.
You’ve heard me say this for years.
You’ve invested untold amounts of time and money in an optimistic future. No one will ever know the true extent of the bet you’ve made on yourself. Will it pay off?
This uncertainty is all temporary. If you made a commitment to do your best on the next exam, don’t give into temporary temptations. This is still in the “active income” grind stage.
Are you going to mortgage your future career as an attorney just so you could spend the next few weeks in a haze (because you “don’t have motivation”)?
Are you going to trade in comfort now for months of anxiety and more studying down the line?
With your bar card, what possibilities will open up? Who will you be able to support, and what will you be able to do?
The calculus is clear. This is just a second of discomfort compared to what you could gain: the “passive income” status of being an attorney. It’s going to be worth it.
What you gain from discomfort is remembered long after discomfort has faded.
3. Your future self is currently talking shit about you.
Because you aren’t doing any self-care.
Self-care is doing what will benefit your future self. Not being childish and selfish, only caring about your present self.
Self-care is actualizing your dreams of becoming an attorney. Not breaking promises to yourself and sending a signal to yourself that you aren’t worthy of self-esteem.
Self-care is investing in your future too. Not mortgaging the future for the present.
It’s not too late. Your past doesn’t need you anymore. Your future does.
4. You aren’t trying to win the day. You’re trying to win the match.
Your match with the bar exam is scheduled. It is time to train.
You can’t control what your opponent will do. But you can control what you do each day.
It’s not always going to look pretty during training. But the point isn’t to look pretty during training. The point is to win the match.
You try to solve questions and feel like shit because you didn’t get it right. GOOD! You’ve learned something.
You don’t get mad that you aren’t as strong as your sparring partner yet. You learn from getting in the mock ring and sparring with someone who has graciously offered to let you test your skills.
You’re not training to beat the person you’re training with. You’re training to beat the person you’re going to fight in the ring.
5. The bar exam is like a puzzle, a game.
What’s more fun than interesting stories and games?
But even games need to be in the right difficulty. If it’s too easy, it gets boring. If it’s too impossible, it gets frustrating.
Just challenging enough that you earn your progress? You can’t stop playing.
Enjoy the process. Have fun with it. That’s what MTYLT is about.
If you need a little extra help with that, you can use streamlined outlines and issue checklists to make bar prep more enjoyable, balanced, and playable. A condensed outline is a better use of your valuable time for grasping the law than getting carpal tunnel flipping through a thick book, especially as you enter the final stretch.