“I do not think that there is any other quality as essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost anything, even nature.”– John D. Rockefeller.
Like many other English words, perseverance derives from the Latin words “Per” meaning through and “Severus” meaning severe – that is, through the severe and difficult.
Perseverance is about pursuing high goals and developing an ability to deal with setbacks and failure on the way. It is persisting and overcoming a set of obstacles including physical barriers, criticism, and discouragement.
While the path to success is heavily strewn with obstacles, your ability to persevere improves your odds of winning. Last week, I stated that I was going to write more about grit and mentioned some of my own experience with developing grit. You can read that here: Failing, Persevering, and Applying Grit! My Testing Time This Weekend.
Here are ten ways to becoming grittier and building perseverance:
1. Set Goals That You Can Achieve:
Your goals should be: SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.
If you want to read about the most evidence based principles of goal setting and how to develop a goal setting system, then read these articles:
a) The Principles Of Goal Setting.
b) Creating Your Own Goal Setting System.
2. Plan Ahead:
Your plan is the roadmap to your desired destination. The adage: “Plan your work, and work your plan” holds true. Don’t fly into action without having a detailed plan.
However, planning is neither rigid nor a one-time activity that takes place only before action. Rather, it is an adaptable, dynamic, flexible, and continuous process that happens all the time until the achievement of your goals. During the execution of your plan, and as you reach one milestone after another, you need to review, revise, and re-evaluate your work, and then re-launch.
Planning also means identifying potential obstacles and problems, and preparing to tackle them as they arise. Have a contingency plan on occasion. All of the notions apparent in this step are an inherent part of problem solving therapy, something that I teach on my courses and that I engage in with my clients often, you can read more about that here:
a) Apply Problem Solving To Yourself and Solve Your Own Problems.
3. Choose and Commit Yourself to Persevere:
Perseverance is a combination of habit and mental attitude. Wanting to persist is not enough if not coupled with will. Not only does grit require motivation but volition as well. It takes mental toughness to translate your intentions into actions.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King.
However, perseverance is not blind stubbornness or obstinacy.
“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.” – Henry Ward Beecher.
4. Increase Your Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
Before starting to execute your plans, make sure that you have what it takes to succeed. Nothing fails like a soldier going to war without the necessary combat skills, ability to fight, and mastery to battle the enemy. To win, you need to keep on honing your skills, upgrading your knowledge, and improving your abilities.
Sometimes you might like to check if you have a deficit in your skills or knowledge in order to move forward. Sometimes you might need help with that, so seek out professionals who can do so – it’ll save you a lot of time and is a great return on investment. Have a read of this:
a) 6 Reasons Why You Need A Life Coach.
5. Take Action:
You can’t achieve anything without action. Action is what makes your dreams come true. It is also action that translates plans into tangible results. Thinking and planning alone won’t cut it. Action –that is, sustained action- is what separate winners from losers.
“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”-Jim Watkins.
6. Motivate Yourself:
The concept of pain and pleasure comes to mind. While thinking of the bad consequences of failing, consider the rewards of achieving success. And as you associate perseverance with success and feeling good, view struggle and patience as a doorway to victory. Don’t forget to celebrate your small wins and mini-achievements along the way.
“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” – Napoleon.
Forgive yourself for failing, learn from your mistakes, adjust course accordingly, but never give up. Here are a couple of articles to help you become and stay motivated:
a) How To Keep Yourself Motivated.
b) My Top Ten Motivational Quotes, And Why.
7. Stay Optimistic:
Having positive hopes, beliefs, and expectations fuels your motivation to persevere. You can’t persist if you have a gloomy outlook on the future and feel depressed. Switching your mind to optimism and hopefulness takes self-awareness and self-management. Don’t let your mind run wild with imagined failures; excite it with anticipated victories.
Read these articles to boost your optimism:
a) 11 Ways to Be More Optimistic and Increase Optimism.
b) Have Increased Optimism: Using Self-Hypnosis To Be More Optimistic.
8. Break Macro-Goals into Micro-goals:
You can eat an elephant one bite at a time, and a journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. No matter how daunting the task is, just take the first step, and keep on putting one foot in front of the other. The journey is no less important than the destination.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier.
9. Get out of Your Comfort Zone:
Lazy and weak-willed people like to stay in their comfort zone and are quick to throw in the towel at the first sign of challenges and temporary setbacks. They are quitters, and don’t like to pay the price. Harsh? A study by Jennifer Chatman and collaborators suggests that having a growth mindset leads to optimistic self-talk which in turn sleeps to perseverance over adversity or are seeking new challenges that will ultimately make you even stronger.
“Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours.”– Orison Swett.
To succeed, you need to put in the necessary efforts and resources. Read these articles for the reasons, ways and means to step out of your comfort zone:
a) Important Reasons to Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
b) 7 Steps To Leave Your Comfort Zone.
c) Self-Hypnosis To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
10. Surround Yourself with and Seek out the Right People:
You need people who would support and encourage you to achieve your dreams, desires, and goals. You also need to reach out to experts for their advice and insights on how to carry on with the fulfillment of your dreams.
Finally, having a healthy body and improves your tenacity to persist. Eat well, exercise, and follow up on your health. According to psychologists, taking care of your mind, body, and spirituality raises the level of dopamine in your brain. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine. Most importantly, it is responsible for improving your tenacity to make it through the tough spots.
Besides, you can always call on coaches, mentors, therapists, and others to assist you in taking better care of yourself.
The importance of perseverance and grit can’t be stressed enough as far as I’m concerned. It is a most powerful avenue to success. It is a combination of want and will. If you manage to improve it, you can improve your odds of winning.