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PERSISTENCE: How to Persist

One of the main principles of success is persistence. Persisting is to continue even when faced with great difficulty and opposition. If your strategy of making money fails, would you just give up and say: "This doesn’t work, let's try something new." ?

Vince Lombardi said, "Winners never quit, quitters never win." And I’ve always thought to myself – How wise, but how is it done? How does a person NOT quit and persist?


(1) Not achieving the results that you are expecting is one of the main causes of quitting. This is evident in everything; when someone goes on diet, and doesn’t see the results of weight loss a day or two later, they’ll be inclined to dump the whole diet program and decide not to lose weight again (until perhaps a long time later).

The key to persisting in this scenario is to understand that results are not produced instantly or achieved overnight. Instant results are close to mathematical impossibility.

Consider what Thomas Edison said about his success: He did not fail. He found thousands of ways how NOT to make a light bulb. Thomas had to try a thousand times (literally) before the desirable results were produced.

This just goes to show that the chances of an undesirable result occurring is obviously far more significant than the chances of the desirable result because that's just the law of success: Each unsuccessful attempt only brings you closer to the successful one, and through this rationale, persistence is the sensible solution.

Even when results do not show, it does not mean it cannot be done. Thomas did not come to the conclusion that an electric light bulb is impossible to invent -- even though he had thousands of reasons to support the "impossible" mentality. He just persisted.

(2) The second most common cause of giving up is FEAR. When confronted with an obstacle or a difficulty, your "Fight or Flight" instincts kick in. Fear causes you to take flight. The most common fear is the fear of failure and it is also the most irrational type of fear.

Think about it: If the fear of failure causes you to give up, and giving up actually means failing, doesn’t that make it a self-fulfilling prophecy? i.e. You are afraid of failure, therefore you choose to fail.

Courage, on the other hand, is to press on in spite of fear, like how persistence is to press on in spite of difficulties. The two best ways of building courage are -- Believing in yourself (building self-confidence and self-esteem) and surrendering to the outcome.

Surrendering to the outcome means you will not sit and ponder about the chances of what's going to happen if it fails. You should be completely obsessed with finding success, up to the point where there is simply no time to stop and think about failure.

By overcoming fear, you’ll have the courage to choose to fight instead of flight. "Try and fail, but don't fail to try" -- Stephen Kaggwa.

(3) When you start to fight back, you start to persist. But constant fighting leads to fatigue. This is where you’ve been persisting consistently, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, tackling problem after problem, and feeling physically strained and mentally drained in the end.

Under the most trying circumstances, your persistence will be put to the ultimate test. Fatigue affects your ability to think and allow many more irrational things to get to you: Self-doubt, negative "what if’s" such as "What if I’m wrong?" "What if this strategy is not sound?" which puts you back into the FEAR zone and ultimately causes you to quit.

To persist in this scenario, one must be fully aware that feeling tired is just a small and recurring phase of life. Throughout your ENTIRE lifetime, you will feel tired about a lot of things. There’s no escaping that. The solution is to take some time OFF from the battlefield.

Just take a break, walk away and stay away (for a few days if possible). Get some well deserved rest. When you’ve gotten sufficient rest, you will then have the energy to persist. "Energy and persistence conquer all things." -- Benjamin Franklin.

Stop when you’re tired. Continue when you’re not. This ensures you reserve a healthy level of energy at all times.

(4) While persistence is practiced in order to achieve the right results (or in other words getting things done right), reflection helps you in determining if you are doing the right things. Doing things right and doing the right things are essentially different but equally important.

It would not be productive if you are persisting or persevering towards the wrong goals/objectives (even if your persistence is effective). And on the other hand, it would be highly motivating and empowering if you are persevering towards a true want or a true purpose.

Reflection is the conscious evaluation and reasoning of one’s own thoughts, perception, judgment, feelings and actions. You can ask yourself 3 main questions to evaluate whatever it is you are persisting towards:

- Why am I persisting towards this?
- Should I be persisting toward it?
- Am I persisting correctly?

Reflection can also increase the efficiency of your persistence, this is done by determining:

• If you are thinking the right thoughts: Were you thinking about how to improve the profitability of your business, or increase the size of your income source? Were you worried about not achieving the goals and objectives you set out? Were those the right thoughts?

• If you are interpreting and perceiving information accurately: Was your perspective accurate? Did you understand or interpret the given situation correctly? Can you further/better expand your perception?

• If the judgments passed based on your knowledge, experience and reasoning were sound: Was your rationale reasonable? Did you come to the right conclusion? Were these reasoning correct in the end?

• If your feelings or emotions are in check: Were you energized and empowered, or are you de-motivated? Were you impatient? Are these emotions helping to carry you towards your objective or stopping you?

• If the actions you took are correct: Did you react to the circumstances or did you respond to them? Did you make the right decisions, right moves and take the right steps?

As you reflect upon yourself, you will find answers to the questions above -- use each answer to plan what to do or try next. And by changing strategies, switching plans, expanding perceptions, shifting thoughts, or reasoning differently, you are already practicing persistence more effectively.

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." -- Peter Drucker

(5) Learning is the process of achieving a higher state of consciousness and a deeper level of understanding through knowledge accumulation. In the course of reflection, you’ll be identifying mistakes along the way and this gives you ample opportunities of learning.

"Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous." -- Confucius

Learning through your mistakes is the most important aspect. It helps you persist further as you accumulate knowledge and wise up through your continued attempts. Constant failure will not lead to success if you are just trying the same things over and over again.

Albert Einstein said that Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you are just persisting by means of doing what you did previously, that’s not persistence at all; that’s just repetition and stubbornness.

Closing notes:

To persist effectively and efficiently, we have to continue when results are not immediate, master courage to overcome our fears, schedule our efforts to ensure we don’t burnout, reflect on the objectives, strategies and the mistakes of our attempts, and learn from each failed attempt so that progress is made through your persistent efforts. All success are achieved this way.

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