Determination and Perseverance
The ability to persevere is admired in all societies. Perseverance is also necessary to overcome obstacles. Some obstacles require a tremendous amount of time and effort to conquer. Without perseverance, you won’t last long enough to taste success.
Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things the strong soul from the weak. – Thomas Carlyle
Willpower is often in short supply, but easy to build. The easiest way to build willpower is to challenge it each day. Whenever you feel like stopping an activity, force yourself to continue for a few more minutes. Make two more phone calls or pay two more bills. Read five more pages. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your willpower grows.
- Use your willpower to accomplish smaller tasks successfully. If you want the capacity to stay strong in the midst of great obstacles, practice on smaller obstacles. Do what needs to be done in your everyday life.
- Pay your bills on time
- Clean out the garage when necessary
- Exercise regularly
- Empty the dishwasher
- File your taxes early
- Your will strengthens gradually over time. Big obstacles can be overwhelming. But if you’re good at controlling yourself and overcoming smaller obstacles, you’ll find that you can overcome big obstacles as well.
- Learn to like being uncomfortable. Asking out a beautiful woman, running 10 miles, making 100 cold calls, or moving across the country are uncomfortable activities. They also have the potential to change your life. Comfortable activities are unlikely to overcome a significant obstacle. Your success is limited by your willingness to deal with discomfort.
- Get excited when you experience discomfort. Something wonderful might be about to happen! Ready to move to your next level and build generational wealth, then
- Stay focused on the result. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you focus on the obstacle. Spend some time visualizing how great it will be once that obstacle has been defeated. Allow yourself to feel good.
- Stay present. Staying grounded in the moment is helpful in multiple areas of your life. Writing a big report for your boss is simply sitting down and moving your hands. In many ways, that’s no different from sitting down and playing cards with your friends. Much of the grief you experience is the result of your thoughts. When you think:
- This stinks.
- I should’ve gone to medical school.
- I’ll never get this done.
- I hate writing reports.
- You’re guaranteed to be miserable and struggle to finish. Simply take a deep breath and do what is necessary without emotional content.
- Give something up. A great way to build your willpower is to give up a bad habit. It might be smoking, eating sweets, or biting your nails. Take it one day at a time and resist your urges. It can be just as challenging to avoid an action as it is to take one.
Willpower is the ability to do something you don’t feel like doing. It’s a valuable commodity. With enough willpower, it’s easy to save money, stop procrastinating, and overcome obstacles. Time spent building your willpower is time well spent.
“I have a motto on my bedroom wall: ‘Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off the goal.’ Giving up is not my style. I just want to do something that’s worthwhile.” – Chris Burke
Some argue that death renders everything irrelevant. After all, what’s the point in doing anything if you’re destined to become fertilizer for daffodils? However, the truth is that appreciating your mortality can create focus and lessen worry.
There are advantages to pondering your eventual demise:
- You’ll stop worrying about silly things. The fact that your football team lost the Super Bowl or the fact that your great idea failed become much less burdensome. Many of the obstacles in your life will also take on new meanings and seem less scary.
- You’ll focus your attention. Imagine you only had a month to live. You’d spend your remaining time wisely! We’re all dying a little each day. It’s just happening too slowly to breach our consciousness. Think about how quickly the last ten years have passed. How many more decades do you have left? Who knows?
- Make a list of the things you’d like to accomplish before you die. Now imagine that your assumed life expectancy is cut in half. What would still be on the list? Fewer things are important as you run out of time. Fewer obstacles are important, too.
- Contemplating your death has the power to release worries, enhance focus, and increase the meaning your feel in your life. Remember that of the 7 billion people on Earth, very few will be alive in 100 years. None of them will be alive in 150 years. Are you really worried about a little obstacle?
“Fear can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before.”– Queen Latifah
It is what it is. Is losing your job unpleasant? Perhaps. But is crying, pouting, getting angry, or throwing yourself off a bridge going to rectify the situation? No. There’s a tremendous power in fully accepting the current situation. It’s very liberating.
Accept your circumstances and grow you capacity to deal with obstacles:
- Acceptance isn’t the same as agreement. Many people refuse to accept the current situation because they believe that it’s equivalent to approval. Acceptance is about not fighting reality. You don’t have to approve of the fact that someone else took your dream job, but that’s reality. Failing to accept the truth only prolongs your pain.
- Acceptance allows you to work on the solution. While you’re emotionally tied up in the circumstances, you’re stuck. Let it go and begin working on the solution to the obstacle in your way.
- Let go of the need for justice and the need to be right. Would you rather be right or be happy? You can think of at least one person in your life that insists on being right 100% of the time. How happy are they? Remember that life is short. Move on.
Deal with the things under your control and accept the rest. Do you have a viable alternative? Dialectic therapy includes a concept referred to as “radical acceptance.” Embrace every experience, even those you don’t enjoy. The sooner you accept the situation, the sooner you can move beyond it.
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox
Obstacles are a common part of life. The most successful people are able to overcome bigger obstacles than those that struggle with life. Obstacles can be viewed as stepping stones to greater levels of success. Don’t avoid obstacles. Embrace them. Any obstacle can become the path to your success.
Obstacles are also the best learning opportunities. Obstacles stretch our ability to contain our emotions, build focus and acceptance, and develop new skills. Without obstacles, life would become stale and boring.