The art of persevering
It is not easy to create change in your life, and even harder to realise your goals and dreams. You will most definitely struggle and more often than not, it takes you more time than you initially expect to achieve these milestones. It is almost certain that you will have setbacks and short-term failures along the way, especially when it involves creating new habits, developing new skills and sustaining these learned habits and skills. This explains why most of us fail to achieve our New Year’s resolutions.
The good news is the hardships and short-term failures we go through do not have to drain us of our motivation. They do not have to make you want to quit halfway through what could be an amazing journey of self-growth. In fact, psychologists who study motivation and achievement say it could be just the opposite; as long as you adopt the right mindset.
Through the aeons of research, psychologists found two belief systems that we humans rely upon when we are met with obstacles in life, the first belief is discouragement and despair, and often leads to us falling out with our initial plans. The second belief is to embrace these difficulties and push through to your goals. This second belief is also known as perseverance.
Perseverance: The continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition.
The success stories
For some encouragement for us to use the second mindset more often, let us name a few people who adopted the perseverant mindset and were rewarded bountifully for doing so. J.K.Rowling is an English author and is a great example for her billion-dollar Harry Potter franchise was rejected by 12 publishers before one single publisher finally agreed to publish her work. Despite the rejections and living on welfare fund, she did not give up and persisted in reaching her goals.
Another notable billionaire who is known by his perseverance is Bill Gates, who failed his first business venture “Traf-O-Data” but did not stop and instead, continued to better his program and gave life to the Microsoft empire we know of today.
Admittedly, these people are also blessed with raw talent and intelligence but having those two can only get you so far. The defining factor in these two cases was their choice to press on, to keep learning and moving forward no matter how hard it got.
For those of you who are inspired by our stories to adopt this second mindset, here are three tips we have for you:
Take on a ‘1% better everyday’ mindset. While it might sound like a small goal, it is imperative because the end goal is not to plateau, which causes our type one mindset to kick in, but rather, to continue progress, no matter how small progress it is. For example, if you can only do one push up today, your goal for the next day would be to do two and slowly progress from there.
- Take risks
In order to grow, one must take calculated risks. When you take risks, you are more likely to put yourself into difficult positions and while that sounds counterintuitive at first (I mean, why am I taking a path that could hinder me from my goal?), remember that these situations will groom you to adapt for tougher obstacles. Moreover, our minds learn and find solutions to the situations we are dealt with, building for us a bank of ideas for the future.
Always remember your motivation
“It’s not the most talented people that make it, it’s the ones with the most endurance.”
When the going gets tough, always ask yourself “Why am I doing this? What was the original reason I set out on this path? Reflecting on that reminds us that this journey is worth the time, and more importantly, giving us the much-needed motivation to see through till the end of the tunnel. One good way to aid in recalling is to take a picture or a physical memento of sorts at the start of the journey. The physical presence of the ‘before’ will spur you on by being a positive affirmation of your progress, or a positive reinforcement to move forward.
Just remember in times of darkness, that you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, persistence, and the courage to face your fears, so the fact that you are pushing through these tough times is very commendable.