I’ve always been a big proponent of being persistent. We hear the famous Calvin Coolidge quotation:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
I see people who give up – just short of what would have likely been success. However, I also see people who are “persistent and determined” but are off track in what they are doing.
If you’re losing money on each watermelon you sell, don’t be persistent and determined to sell more. Stop what you are doing and change direction. If you are miserable in your job, persistence may just get you more of what you are already experiencing. Get a coach or attend a seminar. Create a 48Days plan to be in a new position. There is a wealth of information about “seeing” the new opportunities, but you have to go get it. If you are an average tennis player, don’t just persist in your bad form; take some lessons from a pro to learn how to be better. If you want a better marriage, don’t just persist – ask to be mentored by someone who has a great marriage.
Here are some examples of redirecting:
- If your job provides nothing for you but misery and a meager paycheck, plan to quit and be gone in the next 48 days.
- If you have been running your business for one year and after expenses it’s only netting you $500 a month, quit and find a new venture.
- If you started a non-profit ministry and after two years you find that you are spending 80% of your time on administrative work and have no real economic model for continuing, consider linking arms with an established organization.
Winners don’t just persist. They quit quickly and often.
Being persistent is a tactic, but not a strategy. Make sure you have a strategy for the areas of your life where you want to see excellence. Wikipedia defines “strategy” as a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Imagine you are driving a Ferrari at 80 mph headed straight toward San Antonio – but you really want to go to Los Angeles. Accelerating to 120 mph may give you the sense that you are really making progress, temporarily. But what you really need to do is change direction.
Be careful of being “persistent” in the wrong direction. Right direction is more important than persistence.