Does Persistence Really Pay Off?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” As the old saying goes, never giving up is a mantra to follow if you want to be successful. But when you think about it, when does trying and being persistent stop being a virtue and start becoming a hindrance? There’s a fine line between the two and it’s not always easy to know which side you are on. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to this question, but I posed it because knowing the answer would help wouldn’t it?  There have been times when I was absolutely sure staying the course and continuing on was the best answer. I persisted and stayed focused, but I continued to fail. What does that mean? Did I not commit enough? Did I not try hard enough? There are other times when I gave up when things seemed hard. I felt devoting so much time and energy to that one thing was a recipe for failure, only to find out later that if I had hung on just a bit longer, things would have worked out. So where do we go with this, it seems as if I quit when I could have succeeded and persisted when I was destined to fail. Doesn’t sound like a plan for success does it?

There are some things that are easy to identify as goals persistence will help you achieve. Going to school, studying, and earning a degree is one example. Even for the learning impaired, persistent, dedicated attention to learning will always help. Keep with it and you’ll have a degree. I knew earning my master’s would be hard, and it took a while, especially writing my thesis, but I kept at it, and finished. Other areas have proven much more difficult to decipher. For me, work and love are great examples of not knowing exactly when and where to persist. I’m sure others feel the same way. Think about it, work and love, they fill up a huge majority of our lives. Working nine to five, being in a significant relationship, those things are major. No one wants to be stuck in a job they hate, or in a relationship with someone they don’t love. And since these things are so dominant in people’s lives, persistence in finding the right fit is crucial.

For work I’ve come up with a simple question you can ask yourself. Ask yourself this: “In five years if I’m in the exact same working environment, would I be happy?” If your answer is continually no, then you must work toward changing it, even if it seems impossible, because a life of stagnation is a slow torturous thing, and you won’t be happy. For love, ask yourself “In five years, if I’m still feeling the exact same way, would I be happy?” If your answer is continually no, then you must work toward improvement. Now it’s not just about happiness; some people seem happy being miserable. What I’m getting at here is acceptance. Can you accept a job and love that is full of misery, apathy, or emptiness?

Seriously, contemplate your current situation and extend it out five, even ten years from now. If you can imagine yourself just as unhappy, just as uninspired, just as sad, just as unfulfilled, then you know what you must do. You must persist in improving your life. It's the only way, even if it seems foolish, or pathetic. Self-improvement is never a waste of time, no matter how improbable the chance of success is. 

Give it a shot!



Thanks for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome. 







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