There is never one thing that determines success when you’re working hard to achieve something significant in your life. At different times you need different things, whether it is courage, support, focus, innovative thinking, rejuvenation, willpower, love, patience… So many things.
Something that sits alongside all these things is perseverance. To achieve significant things for ourselves isn’t all easy going or plain sailing. It requires an attitude that will take us through the storms and dark times – this is perseverance. This will teach us a lot, and make us stronger. Something giving up will not.
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich
Speaking only as I can about my journey, I’d like to share my thoughts on perseverance. At the end of the day perseverance will be the one that rewards you, and pays for your efforts and sacrifice – believe me.
What is perseverance? Perseverance is the attitude that drives the actions that will get you there. It is the grit and determination that keeps you moving. It is getting up after being knocked down, and generally you will have set-backs that will trick your mind into quitting. Just getting up some days and doing what needs doing despite how you feel, despite what others say, unwavering commitment toward your goal.
“Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you really want is really worth fighting for.” – Anonymous
Perseverance is the grit, sweat, late hours, sacrifice, getting up early, staying late, shear hard work, as well as the getting up and going again after obstacle, set-backs, knock downs, stumbles, despair – over a period as long as it takes to get there. It is the perspiration required to make the innovation succeed. Be prepared to play the long game with lots of short bursts. If you’re only used to instant gratification – support to persevere is absolutely essential.
It is also important to understand what perseverance is not.
To me what perseverance isn’t is the blind, obstinate, stubborn persistence of continuing down a path, doing the same thing, over an extended period and not getting the results you want. Blind ignorance. Being “right” in your mind, and not wavering well after it is clear that the results you seek are not materialising.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
So you see, there is a grey and murky area where perseverance and blind obstinacy blend. Where perseverance becomes a fruitless obsession.
In my next article, part two, I will explore some practical examples of how to approach perseverance.
With all this to consider here is something to keep in mind. You must focus on the outcome. Persevere toward the outcome (your dream), not the path to getting there. There are usually different ways, and maybe a different path is required. What do I mean by this?
Let’s take losing weight as an example. Probably an overdone example, but one everyone knows about. The worthy goal you want to achieve is an ideal weight that makes you feel healthy or good, for whatever reason you may have. The goal is not the losing of the weight or the big weight loss diet – these are paths to your goal. You persevere to your ideal weight goal, not the process to get there, not necessarily the diet or exercise regime that does not work for you. There are many things that affect achieving your goal. One of the key things is your mindset. How you view yourself and what you want to achieve, and why – is it really worthy of sacrifice and effort and am I in a position to pursue it?
Where you’re at is a result of social norms, wanting to be accepted, habits, lifestyle, relationships, eating styles, diets, exercises regimes or some combination. To change will take effort and a need to address all these – and there are many different paths you can take. Once you’re on your way don’t get hung up about persevering with the process (path) – persevere toward the goal (destination). I’m not saying this isn’t going to be difficult and require commitment, sacrifice, grit and determination to get to the ideal weight – it will. But be prepared to be flexible with the process – because often it is what and how you do something that determines whether you succeed. This applies to relationships, business outcomes, everything in your life.
Join me with Part Two next week when we look what gets in the way of perseverance.
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