One of the very first motivational phrases we ever hear as a child is ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try again.’ It’s imprinted on us as a message from a very early age, and yet many of us fail to pay attention to it. Too many times, when faced with a failure or a difficult situation, we curl into a ball and accept defeat. We often never find out how close to success we were at the time. It’s one of life’s great tragedies.
We don’t want that to happen to you. We’re big believers in the power of persistence. It’s one of the most vital life skills you could ever learn. Talent will get you a long way, and so will learning. Luck will play a part. Persistence, though, is what will make the difference in the end. Your level will determine how hard you try, and how long you try for. If you look at the most successful people in the world – those who have earned their wealth as opposed to inheriting it – you’ll see that their persistence was every bit as important as their knowledge and talent.
Think of it this way. We mentioned luck earlier on, so let’s use luck and turn it into a metaphor. Imagine you’ve just logged on to an online slots website, and check out the best Promos, you’d like to win some money from it. You select an online slots game, and you place a stake on it. You lose. You place another stake. You lose. You try a third time. You lose. You now have a choice. Do you put more money into the online slots game and chase the jackpot down, or do you stop and walk away? You know you have a chance if you stay and play, but you have none at all if you quit. As any online slots player will tell you, so long as you can safely afford to bet again, you should always do so. The law of averages says you’ll get there in the end. That’s all down to luck, though. The best thing about persistence with work is that there’s barely any luck involved at all. It’s just skill, application, and persistence!
If you’ve found yourself giving up too early too many times in life, here are a few tricks and tips that might make the difference for you next time.
Several centuries ago, John Donne wrote a poem in which he wrote the line ‘no man is an island.’ It was a poetic stance against isolationism. Nobody can succeed in life alone, even if they work alone. You need to have a support network around you, and that goes for the personal as well as the professional. Choose your allies wisely, and don’t be afraid to lean on them when you’re struggling to see the way forward yourself. When nothing seems to be going your way, you can lose focus and miss the obvious. Someone who has your best interests at heart may be able to find a way ahead that hadn’t occurred to you. Consider whether you should employ or retain a personal coach if you’d rather keep the personal separate from the professional. Also seek out a mentor – someone more successful than you and has already done whatever it is you hope to do. They’ll not only be able to guide you, but they’ll also be a permanent reminder that your goals are possible.
Schedule, Don’t State
Elsewhere on the internet, you might have seen more than one article that extols the benefits of writing down your dreams and goals. The articles are usually presented in a way that suggests the simple act of writing a goal down might somehow make it tangible. While we’re sure the authors mean well, there’s no truth in it. Writing your aspirations down is important, but only if they’re backed with a schedule. A list of goals is just a list. It doesn’t tell you anything about the when, the where, and the how of getting to your goal. A schedule provides more direction. It’s a map to your success. You should have a schedule for every single day of your working life, and you should adhere to it. If you don’t schedule it, you won’t do it. Trust us!
Put Yourself At Risk
No matter how much we work on our mindsets, there are still several universal truths about humans. One of them is that we care more when we have ‘skin in the game.’ If you’re unfamiliar with that phrase, it means to have a detrimental consequence for failure. Don’t borrow money to fund a business endeavor if you don’t need to. Use your own. It gives you more of a reason to care about the fortunes of your business, and an incentive not to give up. We’re not telling you to position yourself on the edge of disaster, because that would be stressful, but make sure something’s always at stake. There should be rewards for success and consequences for failure, and if they don’t exist, you should create them.
Sometimes, the issue isn’t so much that we don’t make enough effort with our work as the fact that we procrastinate and get distracted. You can’t claim to have persistently applied yourself to a task if you’ve also spent time checking your phone for non-work related reasons, staring into space, going for walks, or anything else that’s taken you away from what you needed to get done. Where possible, work without your phone near you. Block out sections of your calendar where you don’t take calls from anybody for any reason. If someone needs you for something important, they can leave a message. Close the blinds if you catch yourself staring out of the window. Leave yourself with nothing to look at other than the work you need to do, and you’ll find that it’s suddenly easier to get through it.
Find A Purpose
Here’s a tip that not enough people understand – if you’re doing something purely for financial gain, you’ll probably eventually come to hate it. You’ll also struggle to keep yourself motivated to do it. Money is fine as a motivator for a while, but once you’re comfortable, the motivation goes away, and so does the persistence that it brought with it. What would truly motivate you to stay persistent is a vision – a clear goal that isn’t just about your bank balance. It might be a dream house, or a dream job, or whatever it is you’re working toward. Make it plausible and obtainable and incorporate it into your daily schedule. If you’re always working toward it and you can see you’re making progress, you’ll get there in the end.