Perseverance. Sticking with it. Getting back up when you’re knocked down. Try and try again. Never give up! Never surrender!
You’ve heard all these before haven’t you? Of course you have. They’re practically clichés. They practically have lost all meaning too because we’ve heard them over and over all of our lives. When you hear something that often, you’ll either internalize it so deeply that it becomes part of you, or you’ll not only mock it, you’ll ridicule anyone who buys into it.
Isn’t that how our culture treats this idea of perseverance? You either accept it almost blindly or totally reject it almost blindly. But I think both approaches miss the mark. It’s true that perseverance is about not giving up and sticking with it; but it shouldn’t be doing the same thing over and over all the time either. I think that’s where most people miss the mark, whether they accept or reject the idea of perseverance.
Perseverance should also include analysis, reflection and adjustment. If you fail and just keep doing the same thing again and again, you MIGHT succeed because maybe you just weren’t that good at first and the repeated attempts made you better. For instance, if you can’t shoot a free throw and even hit the rim, much less the backboard or make the shot, repeating the attempts will likely eventually allow you to get better.
However, what if you stop and analyze what you did? What went right? What went wrong? Did you throw the ball hard enough? Too hard? Di you throw it in the right direction? Was it to the left or to the right of the basket? Once you’ve identified things you did wrong, you need to come up with some way to correct that. Throw harder or softer? Adjust your aim? Jump when you shoot? Find one thing to change that you think will make the biggest impact. Now do it. Make the adjustment. Try it a few times to see if you’re doing the adjustment right.
Now you start all over. Are you making the shot now? Are you closer to making it? Is your aim better. Analyze, reflect and adjust. That’s the key to perseverance and not giving up. Perseverance is meaningless without this. We’ve seen it time and time again in business in our own lives and the lives of our families and friends. Who hasn’t seen someone romantically attracted to the bad influences or destructive personality types over and over. Who hasn’t self-sabotaged over and over the same way time and time again?
We are creatures of habits. The bad ones are the ones that are easy to fall into because they’re the easiest to cultivate. They are most often the shortcut that takes almost no effort or time to do, yet yields no results or teases us into a false sence of accomplishment. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re getting something done, but we’re not. Almost always it’s because we don’t analyze, reflect and adjust our behavior and actions.