Perseverance. You have probably heard your whole life in some form or another that perseverance is critical to success and that those that separate themselves have learned to persevere above all others.
But what does it really mean to persevere? How do you know that you have what it takes or that you can make it? It is a specific trait, skill, or trick? Or is it something else?
In reality, perseverance is not so much a tangible thing, but more than anything, an intangible conditioning of the mind. Think about the toughest people you know. The people that can get through anything or push through the barriers and walls in front of them. Think about the times in your life that you have truly pushed through a barrier. What did it feel like? Chances are you have a vivid memory of that moment or moments and the feeling you had. Nothing was going to stop you, right?
The truth is - perseverance, more than anything, lives in the mind. Its not a skill or physical trait. You make up your mind to do something, but then you take it take it further. You take it to another level. There is a point when you are truly persevering through something, that it "clicks." The switch is flipped and you know and believe that nothing will stop you, or deter you no matter what. You are unwavering and bullet proof at this point.
This catalyst is a simple decision you make in your mind.
Close you eyes and think about the last time you truly pushed through something to make it happen in your life. Can you feel that power, that unstoppable feeling that you had? Hold onto it and really concentrate on it, because you can and will be able to go to it any time you want and use it to help you.
When it comes down to it, our "beliefs lead to our thoughts, our thoughts lead to our feelings, our feelings lead to actions, and ultimately our actions lead to our results." If you take out everything but the first and last word of that sentence you get: Beliefs = Results.
If you really want to train your mind to persevere, think of it like anything in your life that you train for. Whether it is an athletic activity, becoming better in your work, or becoming a better parent, spouse, etc. It takes work, but specifically the right type of work. In order to train your mind to higher levels of perseverance, you must put it in situations where you consciously have to choose to persevere.
For example, if you are a runner and are used to running 3 miles on your runs, make a conscious choice to run 5 miles and push through the to the end. You will encounter all of the emotions you would expect and have to break through them. You will hit a wall at some point and question whether you can do this. You may even get somewhere over 3 miles or even to 4 and your mind will say, "Hey, you've made it further than you ever have, you can stop. Good job." And it will be tempting for you to do so. Your body may start to ache, you may start to feel tired, you will question everything, but it is in this moment, that you need to take over in your mind and say to yourself - "No, I am going to do this. One step in front of the other. I can make it." You will have to do this over and over until, all of a sudden, you feel it. The switch gets flipped and you know you've got it. At this point for many runners, you feel like you can just keep going and run as far as you want. You beat your wall. You raised your ability and level of what you can do. Was it because of your physical ability? No...it was because you made the decision to persevere in your mind and broke through the mental wall you need to, to reach your next level. (if you are a runner, you are nodding your head right now)
It's the same thing in any other area of your life - business, family, relationships, etc. Your mind will challenge you. It will limit you, if you let it. It is a conscious choice to break through these self-imposed barriers within your own mind. The power of conscious choice is one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings, and those that learn to truly use this in their lives gain the ultimate in personal power to persevere through anything. Be thankful you're not an ant!
Let's face it, no one can motivate you, but yourself. That seems counter-intuitive coming from a group that creates content with guests that talk about their stories, secrets, and what motivates them, but in reality, the choice to be motivated is yours. You can hear the greatest speech or read about the amazing success secrets of others and still not be inspired.
The truth is that motivation comes from within...and what motivates and inspires an individual is different from one person to the next. But as individuals, we need motivation. We need it to keep ourselves grounded, keep pushing ourselves, and inspire us to new levels in our lives.
The key to stay on top of your game is to stay motivated. So what really motivates you? What makes you get that feeling of energy, that rush of excitement, or pushes you to "Go?" Have you ever really thought about it? If you want to keep yourself motivated, you should. Figure it out. Figure out what types of things (topics, content, messages) motivate you. Next, figure out what mediums of these items make it come alive for you. Is it video, podcasts/audio, books/reading, etc.? Once you know the answer to those two questions, you will be able put items in your life every day to keep you motivated.
For example, I am a huge fan of visualization and visualizing success, as well as taking control of your thoughts and mind, so I prefer to watch inspirational videos with very specific messages about mindset to pump me up and get me going. Each day, I work these into my daily routine like the one above (one of my favorites). Starting my day with something like this puts me in the right frame of mind, gives me that awareness that I am in control of my success, and the energizing emotions that I am looking for so that I power through at a high level.
Try this in your life. Be deliberate about what motivates you, and use the topics and mediums that best fit your style to really give you true, lasting motivation that makes a difference. Don't waste time or your energy on ones that don't!
Everyone has "problems." For most, If it is not one thing, it is another. If is not one thing, it is 10 other things. We are faced with problems and challenges on a daily basis and it is how we choose to handle them that makes the difference.
Have you ever met someone or studied someone or company that you see as successful and wondered, "How did they do it? How did they overcome everything needed to create what they have done?" Think about companies like Amazon or Tesla. Think about all that they have had to do and overcome to become who they are and the forces that they are in the world. Do you think they ran into problems? You bet, and not just problems...big stinking, hairy, put you out of business ones, and pretty often at that along the way.
Most people get a problem and focus on just that, the problem. They focus on the issue, the negative side. This shuts down the brain from acting and thinking creatively to not only solve, but see the true opportunity or other angles in overcoming the challenge.
The issue is never the size of the problem, its the size of the person who is tasked with solving it. Let me explain what I mean. As mentioned above, many people get problems and just shut down. They are not equipped to handle them mentally and emotionally, so they shy away or don't fully solve or eliminate the problem. Have you ever noticed that certain people have the same problems creep up over and over again in their lives? Maybe, they are continuously passed up for a promotion or bounce from one bad relationship to the next and are always wondering why "this keeps happening to me."
A lot of people in our society have been conditioned to play the "role of the victim." Notice I said, "role of the victim." I did not say they actually are victims. The reason things keep happening to them is that they refuse to see their situation for what it is - the fact that they refuse to take responsibility and control of their lives. And how can you truly solve a problem if you refuse to take responsibility and control for yourself? You cannot own and solve the problem unless you take ownership.
The secret to solving problems is to learn to grow yourself bigger than your problems. The bigger the problems you are able to handle, the bigger you can grow. Think about it, if your mind is set to handle a Level 2 problem and you get a Level 3 problem, you are in trouble. But, if you are prepared for and able to handle a Level 5 problem and you get a Level 3 problem, it is no big deal.
So, the question is, "How do you grow yourself bigger than your problems?" Here are six ways to overcome any problem.
Take Control and Responsibility
First, you must resolve to take control and responsibility for your life and thus your problems. If you aren't willing to do this, then you will not change. Think of your life as driving a car. You are in control when driving a car and where you steer it, it will go. If you decide to take your hands off the wheel and "hope" the car will drive itself and keep you safe, well, you know what will happen. Take charge and responsibility for your life and your actions.
Understand Your Current Limitations and Make the Choice to Break Through Them
We all have perceived limitations. Barriers in our minds that keep us from moving to higher levels. It is critical that you self-reflect and isolate these barriers and some very important questions, "Do I choose to keep this limitation? Do I actually believe that I set this limitation for myself and choose to keep it?" Chances are on most anything, you would say no, because you know deep down that you can overcome it. Isolate the limitation and choose to keep it or not.
Recognize the Source of Consistent Problems and Change it or Remove it
Along with isolating and changing your limitation, you must also reflect on the sources of any problems that consistently happen and recur in your life and eliminate them if possible. For example, if you are consistently late for things in your life; recognize it, take responsibility, and make the change necessary to stop being late. This may be as simple as setting a reminder 30 mins before meetings in your phone to get going "so you won't be late." Whatever the source of recurring problems, remove it or change it by changing the habits you have around it.
Ask yourself how you should or can overcome this and get a better result that makes you stronger. When you ask your mind "How?" it activates the creative side of the brain. It starts the wheels turning and problem solving in motion. In contrast, if you say things like "It cannot be done," or "I can't do that." then it stops right there. Your brain goes no further. It shuts down. Ask yourself how you can overcome your problem or issue and you will find that you will come up with multiple ways to do so.
Ask for Help
Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are areas of your life in which you are more talented than others and when you find you have problems that you don't have the right skillset to solve, but are willing to ask "how," you can then seek out someone who does to help you. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. It does not reflect poorly on you. In fact, it shows how strong you are that you are comfortable enough that you can admit when you need help. Amazon, Tesla , and all the other successes that you may look up to not only ask for help, but they seek out the right resources, partners, and help everywhere they can to compliment their strengths and get ahead.
Be Willing to Work - Hard and Smart
A lot of people work really, really hard, but sadly don't have much to show for it. It is not enough to just work hard; you have to work smart as well. This means focusing on and doing the things you know you should do and don't. Those that grow themselves out of their problems are willing to not only work hard, but innovate and do it in a smart way that takes them to another level and gives them more opportunity. It starts will the little things. Those little extra things we know we need to do, but just don't. For example, from above - taking the 2 mins to set reminders in your calendar on your phone to stop being late. It is a small, mundane thing, but it makes a huge difference. Work hard, but to take the time to work smart and set yourself up to succeed.
Your ability to grow yourself bigger than your problems and your ability to handle larger and bigger problems in your life will directly correlate to your success. Take the time to develop the skills and habits to do this and you will find opportunity all around you. It is one of the most empowering abilities to foster in your journey to success.
A lot of people ask me, "Dave, how do you do it? How do you manage to do all you do across your different businesses and keep everything going and working at high levels? What is the secret?" There are so many things wanting our time and interrupting our lives these days. Everything from work needs to our social lives (and social media), to a 24 hour news cycle. And then of course doing everything you can to spend time with family. There is a lot to keep up with. To make matters worse, because of the instant nature of our society and everything having to be now, now, now; it seems like there is always "something we have to do." We stop the microwave with 2 seconds left! We can't even wait the 2 seconds any more.
(you know you do it)
So how, with all of these things in our face every day and all of the commitments we have in our lives, are we supposed to keep up? What is the secret?
We live in such an instant society. We stop the microwave with two seconds left! We can't even wait two seconds any more...
Well, there is one thing I have found that has worked consistently for me and others over time that is easy to do and is so simple. It's so simple, you are gonna say, "Yeah I knew that already. I know I should be doing that."
Well, here it goes - Plan Your Day! That's it. Take 15 mins to write down the things you need to do for the day and keep your checklist with you throughout the day crossing things off as you go. It is amazing what this does for you. First, having a checklist helps to keep you on task and focused for the day. Second, what you have written down are your goals for the day and your mind will drive you toward them - with the added satisfaction you get whenever you cross something off the list. You know the feeling, it's progress. You are moving forward. And this creates a snowball effect in actioning on things. Think about it, there is no way you are going let your day end without that last thing being crossed off the list. You've come that far, you gotta finish right? Having a daily "To Do" list holds you accountable.
Try it for one week. Each morning, grab a piece of paper and write down what you need to do for the day. You will be amazed at everything you will accomplish. Once you see the benefits, you may want to take it a step further like I did about 5 years ago. Take 30 mins or so each weekend and write out your "To Do" list for the week by each area of your life. For example, your work area, personal area, any other areas that you want to separate out. Then each day, pick items from the weekly list for your daily "To Do" list. Its really easy to do and after a few weeks, it will be habit and you will find that you can get exponentially more done in the time you already have. And you may even find that you are so efficient in getting things done that you have a lot more extra time for fun and family. Here's to your new found freedom!
If you do decide to try this method, drop me a note and let me know how its going for you at email@example.com
Each week, we will add new blog posts from Dave and the rest of the Misfit Nation. Like this page and check back frequently to see the new posts. You can also sign up for the Misfit Minute and you will get notified of new posts in the weekly email. Here's to you success!