It is easy to see why perseverance leads to success if you just look at the definition of the word. It means “to persist steadfastly in pursuit of an undertaking, task, journey or goal, even if hindered by distractions, difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.”
Creating a change in your life is not easy. You will struggle and wonder why it is taking so long to reach your goal. You’ll experience setbacks and small failures along the way. Remember, chances are you have to develop new habits or skills, and learn new concepts.
Your struggles do not have to drain your motivation. After all, you have put in a lot of time and effort to reach your goal. Be encouraged: Your setbacks could help to move you forward. You just have to adopt the right mindset.
Research Points to Two Fundamental Belief Systems, or Mindsets
In one of these mindsets, it is very possible that you will get discouraged and give up on your goal. In the other one, you are more apt to embrace the struggle and use setbacks to learn how to keep moving forward — in other words, you persevere.
Many people who keep trying in spite of repeated failures have adopted this second mindset. They have chosen to keep learning and to remain confident as they move toward their goal. Even if the way became extremely difficult, they stay on track. They are successful ultimately because they made the choice to persevere.
Did you know that the most successful people throughout history also had the most failures? It is not a coincidence. These people understand that failure is one of the stepping stones on the road to success. We see these peoples’ successes, but not the many failures they made along the way.
What Is A Fixed Mindset?
Do you view yourself as having talent, intelligence, and creativity? If you have a fixed mindset, you see these qualities as something you are born with or not. You feel there’s not much you can do to change it.
If you have a fixed mindset, you feel that character traits such as self-discipline, grit and will power are mostly determined by your genes and upbringing. You feel that you either have them or you don’t.
Now let’s look at the alternative, the “growth mindset.”
What Is A Growth Mindset?
If you have a growth mindset, you believe you can develop your talent, intelligence, and creativity through education, hard work, and practice.
With a growth mindset, you see self-discipline, grit, and willpower as skills that you can cultivate and strengthen over the course of your life. Scientific research proves that this belief is based on truth.
The distinction between these two mindsets came from the work of Carol, Dweck, Ph.D., and her associates. Dr. Dweck is a professor at Stanford University. She has spent her career studying motivation and achievement.
You can read her bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In it she demonstrates that a growth mindset can help strengthen your motivation.
A Fixed Mindset Weakens Your Motivation
Your mind is constantly monitoring your world, in order to find meaning for what is happening. Thus, if you have a fixed mindset, when you struggle toward your goal and fail in some way, you think that failure means something about you.
If you have a fixed mindset, you adopt the meaning that you are just not good enough, or somehow you don’t have what it takes. You might say things like:
- I’m not a math person
- I’m not creative
- I have no talent
- I am not good with technoloty
- I’m not a writer
- I’m a procrastinator
- I’m shy
- I’m not athletic
- It’s hard for me to lose weight
- I don’t have any self-discipline
Though it is healthy to acknowledge your limitations and know where you could be doing better, something else is happening if you have a fixed mindset. You believe that you either have talent and abilities or you don’t. If you don’t, why even try? Better just give up.
This kind of thinking does not serve you. It will not generate motivation or the desire to persevere when things get difficult.
A Growth Mindset Strengthens Your Motivation
With this mindset, instead of letting yourself be defeated by your circumstances, you view problems or limitations as the place where you need to focus your energy so you can advance.
The mindset does not see challenge or failure as a reason to throw in the towel. Instead, the person with the growth mindset sees these problems as natural and healthy when working toward growth and achievement.
Though you might chalk up the idea to positive thinking, the conclusions about the growth mindset are the result of 40 years of scientific research. These studies tell us that if you want to strengthen your motivation and achieve your goals, you’d best adopt a growth mindset.
What To Do When You Are Tempted To Quit
Here are some steps you can take that might boost your strength when the path gets truly challenging.
1) Are your goals worthy of your perseverance?
Make sure the goal you have set is the right one. Determine before you start what you really want and what you will have to do to get there. Then you can set the goal and go for it.
2) Recall persistence in the past
If you can remember times in the past when you refused to give up, these can help you gather more persistence now. If you recall a time when you were forcefully, strongly, unyieldingly committed — when your thinking was clear and inspired and you became purposefully focused, feel it in your body.
Use that memory to call up the feelings you had in that instance, and it will hook you to the inner resources you need to keep going.
3) Take a step forward
Don’t think too far in the future. Find some small thing you can do right now to move forward. Take the step needed to do this one thing. Then look for the next step you need to make.
Each time you take a step, it will bring you to a slightly different spot than you were before. Look around from this new location, and maybe you will see the next small step you need to take. You can’t just jump to the top — you will have to take many necessary steps in between.
4) Set your own pace
Don’t burn out by trying to do everything at once. Remember the tortoise — he was slow and steady, but he won the race.
5) Keep going, no matter what
The most basic aspect of perseverance is having faith in your efforts at putting one foot in front of the other. However, in some situations, even that is impossible.
Say you have come down with an illness, or perhaps your progress is dependent on someone else’s action first. You don’t have to feel you can’t keep your momentum going, even in such inhibiting situations. You can continue to think about your situation and learn what you can do to cope with things better. Give it all time and maybe things will improve.
Here are some reasons why you might consider giving up. If you face any of these, put on your perseverance armor and fight your way through. Don’t let your dream die. Be ready for those challenges and tackle them head on, .
A) The excitement diminishes
Isn’t that the way with many things? You start out in a flurry of excitement and think you’ve finally found the vehicle you were looking for.
Then something happens. Time passes and you begin to question your decision. You find that your choice for a solution requires more time and hard work.
At this point, you need something more than excitement to keep you going. You need to have a goal that drives your passion. You need a destination, not just a highway. Your perseverance needs a motivating reason.
B) You start receiving criticism
Sometimes friends and family will be very critical of what you are doing, because they do not understand your “why.”
Put in your ear plugs. Do not let this criticism coming from an outside source stop your progress. These people, though well-meaning, are toxic, because they try to erode your self-confidence.
Critics, haters, and folks who say it will never work are always around. Become strong enough to resist their efforts to bring you down. They are a bump in the road. Let your perseverance carry you right past them.
C) Your forward progress slows
If you are not getting the results you want, you can get very discouraged. It is not easy to work at something every day and see no progress.
This lack drains your motivation, and that’s when you need to fire the perseverance rocket. You can’t let this slow movement bring you to a halt. Think of the snail, moving toward the ark. His progress was slow, but in the end he was successful. Just be like the snail, and keep going forward.
D) We make negative comparisons to others
We see people around us having success, and we wonder what we are doing wrong. We start to question ourselves, and what we are doing. We start to think that we are missing some vital ingredient or we would be having the same success as those around us.
Remember: No one’s road is the same as yours. Their apparent success makes yours look so insignificant.
Every creative venture can reach this point. At such times, quitting seems like a good idea, but giving up is not the answer.
Pull out your magic weapon: Perseverance. It is the struggle against all difficulties that might be blocking your goal. Perseverance will give you the strength and resolve to move past difficulties and change your focus on matters.
Think of why you are doing what you are doing. Recall your reason for getting started. Do you have a vision for the future? Don’t lose sight of that. When you become discouraged, go back and revisit why you started in the first place.
Though there are no guarantees to success, persevering can be the vital ingredient that allows you to stumble forward, even when the road gets rocky. Perseverance allows you to solve problems and move through roadblocks, because you focus on finding a solution, rather than quitting.
If you have discovered your “why” in life, you will have the ammunition needed to keep you in the battle. Tie your perseverance to the rock of your understanding. Continue because you believe in the value of what you are doing. Persist, and your journey will be successful.
Sources for this article were as follows:
michaeldpollock.com/mindset-motivation-perseverance The article name from this source is “The Science of Perseverance — How Your Beliefs Cab Strengthen (or Weaken) Your Motivation
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