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!