What if I put a gun on your head and ask you to complete reading a 300-page book by tonight? Well, I’m damn sure, you will complete reading any book within four to five hours.
Now, what if I put a gun on your head every day for the next six months and ask you to read as much as you can, no doubt you will become a saint or Buddha within a short span. You will complete reading such a large number of books in six months that most experts or professionals of English Literature will take a few years to do so.
My dear friend, the answer to studying English Literature the whole day long lies in living every day as if someone has pointed a gun on your head.
I remember I had a gun pointed on my head for so long, and that can be one of many reasons I cracked the UGC-NET examination in my first year of Post-Graduation. I will talk about this gun soon in the latter part of this post.
Preparing for UGC-NET English Literature was not difficult for me. In fact, I used to study it all day long.
As long as my eyes were open, I had my focus on English Literature. I don’t remember a day when I felt frustrated out of boredom. There was no boredom in my life. I was always occupied with reading books and writing notes.
In fact, I’m still engaged in learning new topics and exploring more of this subject. The day I don’t learn something new, I get anxious and regret wasting the day without doing anything worthwhile.
Most of the time, I’m searching for wisdom in the books – something which can help me understand my life in a better way. A spiritual sentence from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha or Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-reliance makes my day.
Having said that, nothing comes easy in life, and whatever interest we have to develop comes with equal challenges.
Getting the good notes and books is only the tip of the iceberg, cracking the UGC-NET examination requires the right mindset and a whole new perspective.
So here are some important points to remember if you have been searching way to find a way to study the subject for longer hours.
Sigmund Freud’s Id
It was Dr Sigmund Freud who came up with the modern definition of the pleasure-pain principle. The theory has its roots in Aristotle’s important work Rhetoric.
According to Sigmund Freud, human beings seek pleasure or in other words, instant gratification to which he termed the Id (Remember Id, Ego, Superego?).
The Id plays a significant role in our day-to-day decision-making process. We human beings are constantly driven by the urges like hunger, anger, sex and other activities that offer us instant gratification.
In case, our needs are not fulfilled we get disappointed and frustrated.
What Is Pain-Pleasure Principle
There are two major forces, pain and pleasure, if do not condition in the right direction, it will pile up a lot more problems to our mental and physical health.
The principle simply says that we are going to do more and more of those tasks which give us a sense of pleasure, and on the other hand, we are going to avoid those activities which are linked with pain.
Due to globalisation and capitalism, we have been conditioned to drive pleasure from time and money sucking activities.
For instance, shopping is one of the activities which is as addictive as the habit of smoking. Smoking cigarettes and shopping both give us utter pleasure whereas doing exercise or reading books is painful for 92% of the population in the nation.
Smoking, doing Friday night parties, squandering money on Amazon and Myntra or Binge-watching Netflix series or frequently eating-calories-loaded junk food rather than staying at home and spending time with the family gives extreme levels of pleasure to an average human being.
However, consuming good food, exercising regularly, and reading a book seems difficult.
The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you. – Tony Robins
Using Pain-Pleasure Principle The Right Way
I used this pleasure and pain principle to develop life-transforming habits, including my love for reading books.
Now, the question is: How can you use this principle to your maximum advantage? The answer lies in the law of repetition. According to the law of repetition, if you repeat a particular activity again and again, you will get addicted to that activity.
For example, spending fifteen to twenty minutes stretching the body causes pain to most people and that is why many of us avoid joining any fitness program.
But if we decide and commit to a regular exercise routine, follow it for the next couple of months, this pain will start giving us pleasure. In short, we will get addicted to an exercise routine so effectively that whenever we skip the schedule, we may get anxious.
The habits get stronger with every repetition.
The older we get the stronger these habits become. So this knowledge about the habit-building process helped me to develop a love for literature.
Like every other student, I too did not feel like reading literature. But I had to do that.
I had a gun on my head. I left my career as a civil engineer and everything was at stake. The expectations of my family were shattered. They gave up on me. I was helpless and anyhow I had to build my career in English Literature.
I embraced the pain that Literature gave me at the beginning of my preparation. No matter how hard it was, I kept on pushing myself day after day, month after month.
This pain soon started giving me pleasure. And now my mind started releasing dopamine.
If you don’t know what is dopamine then it is a hormone that is released when you feel happy. So now every time I read English Literature, my mind released the happiness hormone called dopamine and I felt an urge to study more frequently.
The more I read the subject, the more release of dopamine, the more I felt satisfied.
Every time, you sit and prepare for your examination, your mind tries to avoid the pain, but you have to bounce back and kept on building a routine that will eventually bring you closer to your goals.
Once, your mind starts adjusting to this new routine of studying English Literature every day, you will see a massive increase in your knowledge of English Literature over a period of time.
You decide whether you want to take another step in your career by cracking the UGC-NET examination or you want to remain stuck for years after years studying the same material and losing all the self-confidence.
In the end, cracking UGC-NET examination is more about inner battle rather than having a competition with thousands of students out there.
What are the difficulties you have been facing while preparing for your examination? How you overcame them? Let me know in the comments below. Also, let me know what are topics you want me to cover in my upcoming posts.