“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
— Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
When’s the last time you gave up?
The last time you reached the edge, doubted your efforts and said, “It just isn’t worth it anymore. I’m going to stop.”
What Persistence Is And Why It Matters
We know you want more. To BE more.
Because you’re a 5am.er.
But you’re human. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. And you’ll need to develop persistence and an iron will if you’re going to stay on track and live a maximized life.
Persistence is defined as a “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”
Persistence isn’t about the ability to get things done when they’re easy. Persistence is about doing the things you NEED to do, that you might not WANT to do, to succeed.
Successful people are simply people who’ve persisted DESPITE external forces working against them.
- Car broke down?
- Girlfriend dumped you?
- Slept past your alarm…again?
Success doesn’t care. You must move on, you must persist, and you must do whatever it takes to stay the course. In the game of life, you can choose to act, or be acted upon.
How to Develop Persistence
“To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so—and this is the inexorable fact of the journey—you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere.”
— George Leonard, Mastery: The Keys To Success and Long-Term Fulfillment
Your will will only take you so far. Willpower is energy, and energy has its limits.
So what do you do? There are several strategies and tactics you can use to develop persistence, but it all starts with Purpose.
- Why do you do what you do?
- Why do you get up in the morning?
- What kinds of activities do you find most fulfilling?
- What kind of work are you doing when you get lost in it…and lose all track of time?
- When you’re old and wrinkled and looking back on your life, what’s the legacy you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered?
These aren’t easy questions to answer. They require some thought. And you might not be able to answer them all at once.
What’s important is to start thinking about your purpose, because it’s directly tied to your ability to persist.
The next time you hit that wall you’ll be able to remind yourself that THIS is why you do what you do.
Having this long-view approach is what tends to separate people who are average vs. people who do extraordinary things.
Similar to investing, success is cumulative. The areas where you’re able to persist today will continue to build on each other to bigger and greater things.
But if you only focus on what’s in front of you, you’re making it difficult to succeed.
Do your best, and tomorrow try to do even better, keeping your long-term vision in mind.
Anything that doesn’t connect directly with your purpose should be eliminated, or at least put off to the side until you can figure out how to use it effectively.
Remember: Persistence is a mental challenge, and it’s something every 5am.er deals with every day, so you’re not alone.
Wrapping Things Up
One of the beautiful things about life is that it tends to be forgiving when it comes to mistakes.
Every day’s a new opportunity to try new things, improve your methods and test your persistence in all matters, big and small.
You may come to a point in your journey where you reach a fork in the road and you need to change paths. You can do that too.
Success isn’t a straight line from A to B. There will be many ups and down and zigs and zags, but your purpose will act as a guiding light so you can always stay on course.