How to Be Persistent

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Introduction to Persistence

My workout at the gym yesterday wasn't special; I went there at 4 just like i do every time and came back at 6 like i always do. I lifted the weights and did everything like I do it every time. The only different thing about yesterday's gym class was that my leg was in a cast because of my sprained ankle!!!

Why did I go to the gym instead of resting in bed? Why didn’t I wait until I fully recover from my injury? That’s what I call persistence!

What Is Persistence?

Persistence is not allowing anything to stop you from doing an activity once you start it unless it's something really severe. I find it really disappointing when I see someone brilliant and intelligent dropping an activity just one week after he started it because of a tiny obstacle that appeared in his way.

A friend of mine stopped working out because he started work and the other dropped his computer courses because he felt stressed!! When I asked them why they did these things, they replied with almost the same words! They both said that they no longer felt satisfied doing such activities and so they dropped them.

If you only become persistent when you feel good about something then you will surely drop one or more of your activities in the next down time. What people don’t know about persistence is that you don’t have to be feeling good when doing that particular thing.

When I was at the gym, it was very difficult to move around and I had to bring a friend along to help me in doing most of the exercises. Persistence is simply going against obstacles, your emotions and accomplishing your tasks under any conditions.

Don’t Wait for Things to Change

Wanting to be persistent while waiting for your mood to stabilize will be like waiting for the wind to calm so that you could set sail. Yes, the wind may clam down but that may only happen after it's too late!! Life moves in cycles and you will face times where you will find yourself not in the mood for anything. If you stopped working whenever you felt bad then you will never reach your goals.

To summarize this, go against your emotions and obstacles instead of waiting for them to move away from you. I know that sometimes things could be out of your control but when it comes to not exercising because you couldn't find your training shoes then that's definitely far from being persistent.

Persistence is an acquired skill and its not some kind of gift. Simply by training you will become a persistent person. Whatever you do affects your personality. If you kept dropping certain activities because of small obstacles you will end up dropping bigger activities because of even smaller obstacles. Whatever you train yourself to do will become a part of your personality.

Persistence and Flexibility

Some people think that persistence is all about trying the same methods over and over until they accomplish their goals but this is completely wrong! If you can't break the wall by punching it then don’t keep punching it.

Go grab something to break it with, bring your friends to help you or use dynamite. The idea is to avoid repeating a method if it was unsuccessful without letting go of your main goal (in this case breaking the wall)!!

How to Be Persistent?

To summarize it all, these are the guidelines for becoming persistent:

  • Holding on even if you feel like quitting: In other words, move with disregard to your emotions.
  • Keep your goal in sight: If you can't visualize your reward then you wont be motivated to keep going
  • Don’t ignore small tasks: Be persistent when doing small tasks. This will be reflected in your behavior and your personality when you face bigger situations.
  • Be flexible: Don't keep punching the wall:))
  • Be Confident: In the Solid Self confidence program i said that the main reason persistent people keep trying is that they are confident that they will reach their goals one day. If you didn't have confidence in your abilities you won't be able to become persistent.

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