What’s the point to persevere when we keep failing over and over again? Why not just quit and go do something else that will succeed?
Well there is a very long list of companies and people that we would not know of if they simply quit – amazon.com, google.com, apple, but also many musicians, scientists and politicians.
Failure is simply a step. A step in a very long staircase to somewhere. Often we don’t know where it leads exactly or how long it is, but depending on how you look at it (key) there is one certain characteristic of failure – it teaches you. And because it teaches it is a step going up to a new level of understanding. It is up to us what we do with that new understanding – ignore it, use it. forget it. Failure is hard, just like going up the stairs, but it is rewarding if you keep going to see where it leads.
The dark side
At the same time as the above is true, there are also many examples of people pushing too much, too long and eventually destroying their business or simply collapsing. So how do you know when to stop and when to keep going? Sometimes to keep at it seems equality bad as quitting.
The strategy must be changed. The difference between actual perseverance and blind repetition is that when you are truly into what you are doing, persevering through all the difficulties, you are engaged. Every failure is assessed and used to inform the next step. When something works, you don’t just repeat the same thing, you try something else and you keep going until there are signs that it works.
It is only human to ignore the other options, we protect our ego – “I can’t quit this, I am not weak, I need to keep pushing” we tell ourselves. And some of us more than others until it becomes blatantly obvious that we are on the wrong path. This is where feedback from friends, family, role-models and mentors can really help. With a few words they can show us the obvious and help us get over the decision of changing direction.
Persevere or quit? I think it’s clear – in a way we need to keep doing both. To persevere to move forward, but to not do the same thing blindly. We need to be present with our mistakes, to adjust and await with excitement the new results. Perseverance is when we commit to keep moving and that even if the results mean failure, we have learned and now will be better at the next try.