We’ve all had those days. In fact, I’m having one today. You know…those, “I don’t want to get out of bed days.” Yeah, that would be me today but that’s beside the point. As I pull myself up and out of it, I’m going to pull you along with me. Here’s a good article I found that should gives us the boost we need (taken from Scott H. Young at: http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2008/07/10/building-your-persistence-levels. For the full article, go to his site):
Enough talk about what persistence is, how do you build it? Part of persistence is just improving your self-discipline. Increasing the level of what you can resist mentally and emotionally before you collapse. While self-discipline is important in the short-term, I don’t think it is as critical for goals that last years and decades.
Instead, I think the way to improve persistence is to enhance the two forces that make it up. Either by increasing your intrinsic enjoyment of the pursuit, or increasing your resolution that giving up is unbearable.
Finding Intrinsic Enjoyment
The first step to this is easy; don’t work on goals you can’t enjoy. Don’t start a business if you don’t like the customers. Don’t start a training regimen if you hate the gym. Don’t enter a faculty if you don’t like the subject.
The second step is to find ways to enjoy the work, regardless of the feedback. In many ways, this can be as simple as becoming aware of what you’re doing. It can be easy to become so obsessed with feedback (i.e. motivated) that you completely lose sight of what you’re doing in the current moment.
If I had a bad month at the gym, where my strength levels declined, that might start to cloud out the fact that I actually like going to the gym. The same is true of learning, running this business or my social life.
The solution is to switch your focus back on the tasks and let the results fade out of your thinking. Get back to focusing on what you’re actually doing, and enjoying it, instead of obsessing about the numbers. Focusing on numbers can be important for results, but that’s only when you’re actively making a new plan. When you’re actually working, it’s usually better to focus on the work and forget the outcomes.
Avoiding the Alternative
The alternate way to boost your persistence is to accept that the alternative, to you, is less desirable. I’ve written previously, that my goal is to run an online-based business full-time. Only recently have I started to approach that goal. In the past, there were many months when I completely lacked positive feedback that I was going in the right direction.
During that motivational crisis, the thing that helped me persist was that I knew struggling at this goal was better than the alternative of giving up. I knew that I would always be driven towards the goal, so it was better to work towards and fail, than it was to sit back and wonder if I would have succeeded.
This approach may not sound too inspirational, but it works. When you’re facing a dry-spell of motivation, it can be hard to summon up the optimism to believe things will get better soon. But you can always compare the alternatives of giving up entirely with continuing through adversity.
I started this discussion yesterday, by referencing an article Cal Newport wrote about the danger of starting without commitment. Since most worthwhile goals will have large gaps without feedback, it’s absolutely essential that your engines are running on more than just enthusiasm. Persistence is the back-up fuel that can get you through the vacuums.
Whew. I feel better now. Don’t you? (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)