Have you ever wondered why we might invest countless hours into learning about the lore of a book, TV series, simply play a ton of hours of a certain game, but don't (want to) study mandatory classes for school (even when we might be paying for it)?
A couple of years ago, shortly after getting a 3DS for my 17th birthday, I decided to download the "Smash Bros" demo and see if that game was for me.
I decided to buy the game a couple of months after that. It's technical, the kind of game that you can easily pick up, but takes a significant number of additional hours to come anywhere near being at a good competitive level.
Some characters are harder, more technical than others. Some are weak and useless if you play them incorrectly *cough* *cough* LITTLE MAC *cough*, but absolutely devastating when correctly handled.
I soon began studying the game in my free time: learning about dairs, arials, tilts, edgeguarding…
Why did I feel so compelled to study something I 1) don't need to study to enjoy and 2) that's not going to be that useful in my life? (considering I'm not planning to go on tournaments).
Well, the secret is this:
I felt compelled to study "Super Smash Bros" because I knew that what I would learn would be useful to me directly.
Think about this: why are many students in schools not compelled to read books they are required to read? Or choose to wing tests? Yet, at home, are experts at their favorite series (book or TV) or favorite video games? Because they are curious about these things. Why were they curious about it? Because 1) they are interested in it, and 2) they know the information is useful to them.
Think about it. If you love the "Harry Potter" series, you want to be able to converse with people that have the same interest. Thus, acquiring knowledge about the "Harry Potter" universe becomes directly useful to you. Or, even if you're not planning to do that, if you love immersing yourself in that lore, then learning more about it becomes useful to you, in an entertaining sense.
Now, back to the school case.
If you're a student (what I'm about to say applies to basically any profession) and want to improve on bad grades/performances, or are having good grades but not feeling as great as you should about them (because you don't exactly know why you're getting them), you need to get curious. Don't study what you need to study because a teacher or your parents are making you, but study because you want to learn more about the world. Leo Gura from actualized.org has a great video about it, that you can find here.
To summarize, I'll end with this:
I study for school like I studied "Smash" and practiced combos. Sure, some of the facts that I've memorized will never be of any use to me in the grand scheme of things, but I study them because I want to. I study them because I'm curious about the world, and will never know when that kind of knowledge will come in handy. I studied Smash because I was interested in it. I practiced combos because I knew they would be useful to me, even just for entertainment purposes. I study and work on my school work not because "I need to", but because I truly know that in some way or another, it will be useful to me. And if not, then purely because it feeds my curiosity.
Now that "Ultimate" came out, though, I'm kind of glad I don't have a switch because I would definitely be playing that more than reading my textbooks.