Purposeful persistence is deciding in advance to remain focused on a course of action despite difficulty or opposition. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your purposeful persistence?
Here are three keys to remaining purposefully persistent in the face of resistance:
- Small Wins – when we win (and celebrate that success) it provides happy chemicals to the brain that motivate it to keep going. Whether it’s a multi-year project or a particularly challenging change, you must break it down into achievable chunks so that you can “win along the way.”
- Know when to fold ‘em – just like Kenny Rogers song says, “you gotta know when to fold ‘em.” He meant a hand of cards but that can be equally true in life. The best time to decide when to fold or quit is before you start. Determine what must be true for you to persist.
- Focus does not mean ignorance – there are times when additional information is important and may shift the course of action. Today’s world is always changing, and many assumptions that decisions are based on do not prove to be true. Decide what matters in advance, and pay attention to warning signs. You can choose to ignore them once you’ve assessed the risk by determining the probability and significance of an impact to your course of action.
According to Angela Duckworth, the author of Grit, “The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence.” But passionate persistence must be powered by purpose. The passion to do something can fizzle without a bigger purpose.
Know what you are committed to doing and WHY you are doing it. Then celebrate small wins along the way, pay attention to what’s happening around you and when appropriate, call it quits.