“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill
When I was in college back in 1998, I was invited by, what could be considered, as one of the best collection of programmers in our batch. Thesis groups were made up of four individuals and I was the fourth and last member to join our group.
I wasn’t the best programmer in our batch and I can openly admit that, so it never crossed my mind that I was invited for my programming skills (I’m not sure they even exist) because the guys I worked with were already HARDCORE!
They took me in because they need me for my artistic capabilities. You see, back then, I was the only one (at least I thought I was) who knew how to use Photoshop (that was version 4!). Some of the other thesis groups even asked me to create their logos.
I learned Photoshop from a cousin of mine who worked as a graphic artist for a computer shop. He showed me the basics and I was hooked! I soon found myself studying the application on my own by reading articles and doing trial and error.
I never got to use Photoshop again until the year 2001 when I was working for one of the biggest BPO companies here in Manila. I spent my first two years there as a customer support representative for a popular email service until a position opened for a technical support engineer for Adobe which was one of the company’s major accounts.
I sent my application and the rest is history. It was exciting for me because I would get to use Photoshop once again. The weird thing was when I got there, I learned about Premiere and Illustrator and found them more interesting than Photoshop as time went by.
As a technical support engineer, we were required to take a certification exam for the programs we supported. I picked Premiere first and I passed the exam in one go after reading the 300-plus page manual four times in a span of six months back in 2002.
I took my second certification in 2006 and this time, I chose Illustrator. I was very confident because I thought Illustrator was much easier compared to Premiere which I passed in one go. I told myself, “how hard can it be?”
WRONG! DAMN WRONG!
I failed in my first attempt and the score was really close so I wasted no time reviewing again and took the exam after two weeks. I was thinking that all the information are still fresh in my mind so I took it immediately but like the first attempt, I failed again.
I took the certification exam a total of four times before I finally passed. I could have just gave up on Illustrator and just picked another program to certify on but I didn’t want to waste six months of studying the said program and let it all go into waste. I worked hard for it and I was too far along to just quit.
I soon reaped the benefits of these certifications because I got to do some side work as an Adobe instructor for an authorized training provider here in the Philippines and I wouldn’t have enjoyed these benefits have I quit at my first taste of failure.
If you really want something so bad, you have to be persistent. You have to ignore the pain of failure and defeat so you can move forward towards your goal but sometimes, there are things that get in the way of our persistence that causes us to lose focus and interest in the goal we set so here are 7 ways on how to maintain persistence especially when you feel like you’re about to give up.
Simon Sinek, author of the book Start With Why, once said:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”
It’s short of saying, keep your eye on the prize. The prize, being the end goal or the result you are after. If you keep your mind on reason for doing something, it’s less likely for you to lose interest and more likely for you to continue pushing forward.
If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re starting to get lazy exercising, ask yourself:
“Why am I doing this?”
Whether it’s because of the bikini you would like to fit in or because of health reasons, it doesn’t matter. As long as you know the reason behind your actions, you should never go wrong and never stop trying.
2. Have an accountability partner
Sometimes, we can be too stubborn for our own good and even if we start strong, there’s a tendency for us to slack off especially when we’re not seeing the results we expected. It is good in such cases for us to get the help of a spouse, a friend or a loved one to act as our accountability partner.
We are less likely to doze off when there’s someone who will be there to slap you in the face when you’re starting to lose your focus. Okay, the slap is a bit harsh. What I’m trying to say is, we need someone to remind us once in a while that we’re not performing as we should. We need someone to wake us up and get us back into the game.
My wife was my accountability partner back when I was trying to lose weight. She would always wake me up in the morning and tell me to exercise even if both my eyes are still shut. She would also remind me from time-to-time to stay away from meat and to drink more water than I should normally be taking.
One of the worst momentum killers is failure. Sometimes, failure can be so painful, you refuse to get up and continue. What sets successful people apart is that successful people don’t let failure discourage them. Instead, they use it as motivation, a stepping stone if you will, to continue with the journey.
Just take inspiration from Thomas Edison on how he got to invent the first commercial light bulb. He didn’t figure it all out until he reached attempt number 10,000. That’s 9,999 failures!
Imagine what could have happened if at attempt 9, 997 or 9,998 Edison decided to give up?
Most of us are results-oriented. We want to see progress in a goal or project to keep us going and never give up which is why, celebrating the small wins play a big role in maintaining persistence.
If you started a business and you don’t see any profits coming in after six months, you will probably start thinking of giving up and going through other business ventures but if you see tiny glimmers of hope like gaining a loyal following or more people taking an interest in your product, you are most likely to continue to build on the said business.
Let these small victories motivate you to continue moving forward.
5. Stop listening to other people
A critic’s word can have a big impact on your enthusiasm especially if it comes from a loved one or a friend so if you are to go forward with a goal, you have to do it on your own terms.
People’s words can easily discourage you so try not to listen to everything you hear around you in relation to your goal. This is yours and not theirs! You know what you want and that’s what’s important.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach thought he wasn’t good enough but he went on to become one of the best basketball players of all time because he didn’t listen. He didn’t give weight to other people’s opinions of what he can and cannot do.
One of the biggest reasons why we lose the drive to keep on trying is stress so as much as you can, try to keep yourself away from stressful situations.
Take a vacation, watch a movie, play video games. Whatever it is, make sure to do it often especially when you’re close to burning out. Stress is a momentum-killer and it can easily erase your enthusiasm until you decide to quit. Without stress, you are more focused and your eyes will always be at the prize.
7. Be Patient
Don’t let impatience ruin everything you’ve worked for. Big dreams, big ideas, they usually take a lot of time to achieve. The good news is once you’re there, you will realize that all the pain and all the sacrifices you made were all worth it.
Over to You
How do you stay persistent after several failures? How do you motivate yourself to continue to push forward?
I would love to hear from you so please leave a message or comment below.
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