I am writing my final year project, and it’s on how education shapes interaction among countries. The experience has taught me lessons which I find valuable as a student, as a writer and as an editor.
These lessons include: the reality of rigour in research, the inevitability of facing stark facts during the research process, the power of accountability to a supervisor, the fact that a bad draft is better than no draft, and the reality that every supervisor is different.
The accountability part stirred me to write this piece. Have you ever wondered why teams as well as organisations ask for and receive reports? Why do people have mentors and coaches? Have you asked why experiments, projects, events or practicals must be followed by reports? Why do people set alarms and reminders, mark calendars or write to-do lists? Why is it that assignments have lifelines?
The simple answer is that humans need methods of checks. Yes, we can be self-motivated and disciplined. However, the part of us that hates persevering and wants to quit easily creeps up occasionally. It needs to be kept at bay.
I noticed this, even though I am super interested in my project topic. Even passion can wane, after a while. It helped to keep in mind that someone was waiting for my work.
Those who set up and follow through with measures that keep them accountable tend to do better in meeting specified targets. They hold themselves to higher and better standards, than many other people.
The moment December comes around, memories are triggered and relived. While it is commonplace for people to review their goals and tick off their to-do, to-be or to-have lists for the year, there is a part of it that is missed out.
Beyond the use of general lists, goal cards and vision boards, we should set goals for, and evaluate, different aspects of our lives. Physical health, finance, career, academics, relationships, business, spiritual and emotional well-being are important and deserving of attention.
‘Life is like accounting; everything must be balanced. ‘ Unknown
Evaluate specifics. Look at each month of the year. What did you learn, in each aspect of life, in each? In which month did you grow the most, in each area? Which resources spurred this?
How do you study as a student? Cumulative, all semester? Cramming? Group study? Videos? How do you manage your finances? Has it worked, so far? What relationships moved you forward or did otherwise? What part did you play? How is your business doing?
It is true that life is an exploration, but of what use is an experiment if it is not cross-checked?
Goals are not an end in themselves. They are simply posts or measures. What we should evaluate is how we get things done, so we can optimise the ‘how.’ That’s a better way to wrap up the year.
It takes a sense of responsibility to be accountable. It takes workable systems to achieve goals. The better the systems, the more that can be done and the more replicable the principles are.
‘Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.’ Bob Proctor