Mind Over Matter

Many people believe that studying for a major exam like the Bar Exam (Licensing Exam) requires only studying the materials. However, success depends a great deal on how stress hardy you are.

Many students have told me that they feel a great deal of anxiety when preparing for the Bar Exam. This anxiety stems from  unconscious mind chatter, which many people do not even know exists.

It’s like having someone standing behind you and constantly telling you that you are not good enough, you are not smart enough, you can’t remember things well, you have never taken the subjects tested on the exam in law school, and so on.

This endless mind chatter  makes you so exhausted that by the time you start studying,  you may feel so down that retaining any information becomes very difficult. The most interesting thing,  is that you are not even aware that this  negative mind chatter is going on in the background.

It is therefore very important to understand that you are not your mind. It likes to “talk” because that is it’s “job”.  Many people who meditate have used the term “monkey mind,” to show that the mind just jumps around without purpose from topic to topic and creates chatter that is completely useless, especially when we just want to sit quietly or concentrate on a certain  task.

By recognizing that the mind does this, hopefully you will also acknowledge that whatever thoughts you have about your abilities are false  and do not serve any purpose. Therefore,  you must re-assess your beliefs before starting to study.

One way to change your negative self talk is to make a list of ten beliefs that you have about yourself that may be holding you back. You have to be really honest with yourself since it’s not always easy to admit that you have these negative thoughts.

The next step would be to ask yourself if those beliefs are true? If the belief is false, then then write a positive, true belief and cross out the old one.  It’s important to actually cross out the old belief and write the new one so that your mind can get used to a new way of thinking.

Once you complete this exercise,  you may want to repeat the positive beliefs to yourself every day for a few minutes per day. This is a good thing to do before studying or starting a task that you may feel is difficult.   Remember, the more you repeat that you have these positive attributes, the faster you will start to believe them.

Doing any task including studying for the Bar Exam, becomes so much easier when the mind is not holding you back with it’s negative chatter, but rather uplifts you with a positive outlook.