We’d all like life to be easier. The fact that bigger aspirations and successes can be more challenging is why many people stay with what’s safe and comfortable. We reason that predictability is better than the unknown, and that something familiar is less stressful than the potential “shake-up” changes can create. So while familiarity may have kept you in the same place for more than you care to acknowledge, how can you move toward what it is you really want? How can you get closer to your desired level of health, finances, relationships and lifestyle without sabotaging yourself when the inevitable challenges arise?
Here’s the great news. If you believe you weren’t born with great talent or intelligence, you’re still just as likely to enjoy abundant success, health, love and happiness. It’s your ability to persist that matters the most.
Consider these ideas:
1. Most of the big things many of us do are 95% habitual, routine tasks and 5% bliss. Whether you’re training for a marathon, building a business, or writing a book, most of the process can be pretty mundane. What drives you is the feeling that you believe you’ll have at the end.
Whether or not you keep moving closer to what you want is dependent on how well you can get yourself to do that 95% that often isn’t all that fun.
2. It’s the basics that count. Sure, you need a revolutionary idea if you want to create the next Facebook. Most of the super successful people you personally know or read about may not have had a brilliant idea. They realized a need that wasn’t being filled and worked on it until it was created. Just think of the selfie-stick which eliminates the need to ask a random person to take your picture, sippy cups so kids can feel grown-up without spilling their drinks, or Spanx so women can feel in control in all the right places. Think of any product, program or service that went through beta testing, research and development, tweaking and listening to what people want so that they could get it just right. It was persistence more than anything else that was their key to great success.
3.Watch for an emphasis on immediate satisfaction only. Sure you want to see progress, but anything worthwhile takes time. If you’re growing a beautiful garden, you wouldn’t keep digging up your plants to check on the roots. Instead, you’d nurture your garden, giving it the time and attention it needs, in the best possible environment in order for it to have the most fruitful results. So instead of sabotaging your progress, it’s helpful to acknowledge steps taken along the way. Small, seemingly insignificant steps over time create great results so instead of waiting until the final result to celebrate, how about celebrating each step along the way?
4. Become a skilled expert. You can become skilled at just about anything with practice. The key is to do it…a lot. Just like Malcolm Gladwell talks about in Outliers; “It takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials.” Doing the same thing many times, regardless of failed attempts along the way, is the way to reach expert status.
5.You’ll value your success more. The harder you work, the more meaningful it will be when your goal is reached.
6.Look down the road. Think about how you spend your typical day. Now, project yourself 5, 10, 20 years into the future. Where will your life logically end up after years of living exactly as you’ve been?
7. Weaknesses quickly become apparent. When you’re about to give up or give in and take a look at why, it’s a great way to determine what beliefs derail you. You may hear old familiar voices saying things like: “You’ll never do that.” “Who do you think you are?” Or; “Why would you want that anyway?” These well- meaning (or not so well meaning) ideas are coming from the lenses of those who said it. That doesn’t mean it’s right or true. What it does mean is that you’re choosing to make decisions based on someone else’s idea of what’s right or wrong…for you. While these ideas may have held true for those who said it, it doesn’t mean it holds true for you.
8. You find out where you stand when you’re persistent. When you’re persistent, you have an accurate representation in your mind of the challenge before you and your current level of expertise. Here’s where the rubber meets the road as you decide to overcome the blocks and obstacles you’ll face as you stay the course, or, realize you simply don’t want it badly enough and that’s ok too.
Think about Olympic athletes, masterful musicians, powerful speakers and gifted practitioners. Or just think about someone you know who stayed the course in order to finish their degree, lose the weight, improve their relationship or climb the corporate ladder. It wasn’t luck, it was persistence. Persistence isn’t gifted to a select few, it’s available to anyone who’s willing to stay the course, go the distance and prevent obstacles from derailing them from what they’ve decided they want.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute