Yesterday, we started looking at the quality of being persistent and how important it is just about every area of life. It seems to be present in every success. Today we’re going to look at the how we can become persistent which interestingly enough might just be related to another question.
How do we develop our ability to press on in the face of difficulty or opposition? The ability to be persistent seems to be rare. We certainly have no shortage of examples of people who give up at the first or at least second sign of difficulty. I confess that I’ve been that person at times. Then again, developing the skill of being persistent can’t be that hard. Look at any two year old. Those little people know well how to keep going after what they want in the face of difficulty or opposition – namely their parents. Some are better at it than others. They just seem to be born knowing how to persist in getting what they want and they often get it. So if it’s a skill most toddlers have mastered, shouldn’t we adults be able to master it too?
Let’s look at a few things persistent people have in common so we can incorporate them into our own lives.
Persistent people are connected to their why. They know why they are trying to accomplish a certain thing or reach a certain goal. Their why helps keep them on track when things get tough or uncertain. I once read an account that illustrated how important our why is when we’re faced with difficulty. My apologies to the author – I can’t remember where I read this or the exact details. I think it was Darren Hardy that asked how likely one would be to walk across a one foot wide board sitting a few inches off of the ground to get to something they wanted. Most people would take this low risk walk. Now, would one walk that same board if each end was sitting on top of a 5 story building? I’d say that difference significantly changes a person’s willingness. Now what if your baby was on the other end of that board. Difficulties, fears, opposition pale in comparison to rescuing your child. The why you’re crossing that board becomes everything.
Persistent people are helped by their habit of being consistent. We might ask, what’s the difference? While consistency is about regular repeated actions or dependable happenings, things that are unchanging. Persistence is continuing action with a refusal to stop in the face of difficulty or obstacles. Persistence is a drive to keep going. Being consistent helps us to persist, though because it becomes a habit. In fact, research shows that consistent actions change our brains, cause new connections to form. These connections make it easier to continue those actions we’ve been taking.
Persistent people also use momentum to reach their goals. This can definitely be seen in those 2 year olds. If something works, they will do it over and over and over again. It worked. Persistent people use their victories too. Once they get some momentum with forward progress they use it to propel them forward. Unlike People who haven’t practiced persistence or might not be aware or connected to their why who become bored or complacent when victories start moving them toward their goals. We can choose to be persistent overcoming the obstacle of boredom and using momentum to move us closer to our goals whatever they may be – professional, personal, or physical.
Tomorrow, we’re going to continue our discussion of the power of persistence and we’ll share the story of how Harneet Ballah who started life in poverty became a millionaire before his 26th birthday.
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