Why keep at it? Consider the following example. How did you learn how to walk? Did you succeed the first time you stood up? Did you give up after falling? Did you make excuses for why you couldn't walk? Did you resign yourself to crawling instead of walking?
Of course you didn't do any of the above. As children, the only thing we did when we wanted something was to keep at it. We didn’t take no for an answer. We relentlessly kept at it until we succeeded. We didn’t know something couldn’t be done. We did not understand the meaning of impossible.
As adults, we lose this tenacity for keeping at it. Although our good intentions may exist, we easily become discouraged by negative criticism or adversity. As a result, our quest is readily abandoned. The innate desire to keep at it that we had as children diminishes over time.
Your desire to keep at it is undermined by a variety of fears, all of which are learned. First and foremost is the fear of failure. This fear prevents you from continuing once you fall. A setback is perceived as a failure which cannot be overcome. You doubt yourself along with your abilities.
Fear of embarrassment is another reason you may not keep at it. You are concerned about how your determination appears to others. You are very uncomfortable with the possibility of being asked, “Why don’t you just give up already?” or “Can’t you accept that what you are doing isn’t working?”
Being ridiculed is another fear. No one likes to be the subject of jokes. This aversion is developed at a young age as a result of teasing. It’s a very painful and frustrating experience which diminishes your will to keep at it.
No one likes to be criticized. However, fear of criticism drains your resolve. If you feel that keeping at it increases the chances of criticism, your determination will be impacted. Persisting in the face of denunciation certainly is not easy. After all, you don’t want to run the risk of people thinking less of you.
Being accepted is a normal social need. Fitting in provides a sense of belonging and even security. Therefore, any fear of rejection is a powerful motivation to abandon a particular pursuit. The risk of alienation is deemed too big a price to pay.
If you give into any of these fears, you are the one paying the price of abandoned dreams. Failure is only assured when you give up. If, for whatever reason, you decide not to keep at it, you eliminate the possibility of success.
All inventions and discoveries are the result of individuals who kept at it. Although they were routinely ridiculed and criticized, they kept to their path. It is not the path of least resistance but it is the path leading to the most satisfaction.
In order to keep at it you need drive, determination, and discipline. Drive is the force that gets you in motion and propels you forward. Determination enables you to persist in the face of adversity. Discipline is required for persistence over the long term because there is no way to know how long your journey will take.
It’s not magic. In order to accomplish your goals you need to restore your desire to keep at it. You must devote yourself to doing whatever is necessary, for as long as necessary, in order to succeed. You were born with this ability. Over time, it becomes buried under layers of fear and doubt. If it’s important to you, keep at it.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2014 Bryan Golden