65 years ago Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person to reach the peak of the world’s tallest mountain. Wherever your big goals take you, know that you will encounter big obstacles. You’ll need to equip yourself with a mountaineering attitude to give yourself the strongest chance to summit your personal Mount Everest.
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Perseverance is one of the main ingredients in achieving success.
I believe that we all understand that to have any chance of accomplishing our goal we need to start the project. But as soon as we hit the first obstacle, many of us fold. We rationalize our attitude by convincing ourselves that we did our “best”.
Unfortunately we don’t see that when we quit early on we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and subsequently improve our performance.
The following people understood the principle of perseverance and thus succeeded in their chosen professions.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela
“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.”
“A man is not finished when he’s defeated; he’s finished when he quits.”-Richard Nixon
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” -Newt Gingrich
“Never, ever, ever, ever quit.”-Winston Churchill
Let’s remember that progress takes perseverance. And perseverance takes time. Take your time to learn, grow, and improve.
There’s a significant difference between watching and participating. Watching is the entry level of engagement in the daily activities of our lives. The next step up is actively trying to do the things we’ve been watching other people do. One more jump finds us not only participating, but doing it whole-heartedly, all sails to the wind. Giving your all will take you where you want to go in the quickest possible time. However there are times when you’ll stumble upon adversity. Here are three common obstacles preventing you from reaching full-on engagement and how to overcome them:
How often do you hear that little voice in your head that says ” I can’t do it because (blank)?” Your mind fills in the blank with various random reasons. I used to hear it often. But instead of ignoring it, I focus on it. I focus on it because that’s the only way to defeat that annoying little voice. Head on. That voice is not you talking. It’s just a pre-recorded taped message that you can choose to listen to or not. To move forward with full-on engagement you must turn the recording off as soon as you hear it.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” President Roosevelt certainly understood our plight. For example, let’s say you’re going to give a presentation for the first time. We naturally feel anxious. Fear of making a mistake, fear of being seen as a phony, and fear of looking like a fool are just a few of the ways we let fear hamper us. The solution is to remember that you’re not alone. Everyone feels fear when doing something for the first time. There was a very popular television show devoted to our nemesis called “Fear Factor.” Besides eating spiders and bungie-jumping off tall buildings, it showed us how to face our fears by taking action. The more you work through them, the sooner you will overcome them. And then one day, believe it or not, they’ll be gone.
One of my favorite slogans is Nike’s “Just Do It.” It’s message is simple and direct…just get up and do something, anything. It doesn’t say to just sit and think it. It doesn’t say just do it later. The message is about action. The most effective way to engage yourself in your life is to just do something. You may be asking yourself, ‘do what?’ Well that’s completely up to you. But whatever you choose to do make sure you have a clear goal in mind. Be specific…I want to re-finish my living room floor project. Remember to be timely…I want to re-finish my living room floor before Thanksgiving. Setting a goal for yourself, and really wanting to achieve it, will awaken your body to do what it needs to do to get you where you want to go.
Before you can overcome your obstacles, you’ll need to be aware of them. Mental, social and physical hindrances will always be waiting for you as you travel on your chosen path. Just remember to treat them as mere speed bumps on the road to reaching your goals. The key to accelerating your progress is to be a Creative Warrior and practice full-on engagement.
Realizing your potential starts with the recognition of the self-limiting obstacles that stand in your way. Then you’ll be ready to begin doing the things you want to do.
© 2014 Seth Greenwald
Near the town of Greenwood in the state of Mississippi, there’s a place called the Devil’s Crossroads. It’s supposedly the exact spot where, sometime around 1935, the blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for musical genius. It really isn’t much of a sight. You’d probably miss it if you weren’t looking for it. But the crossroads holds special significance for me. Awhile back I spent three days in Greenwood and my experiences there have forever changed the course of my life. (I’ll save the details of the trip for another blog. Hint: I survived a fire.)
Looking back I now realize that the Crossroads represents the intersection of two opposing approaches to life. Coming into town I traveled the road where fear ruled my soul. I played it safe and I shied away from new or unfamiliar experiences. I didn’t trust myself to deal effectively with the curveballs that life was throwing my way.
After my fiery adventures I left town a different person. I took the alternate route where confidence meets fear and turns it into excitement. I found the courage to transform the situations I had previously viewed as uncomfortable or dangerous into opportunities for growth.
My experiences in Greenwood helped me to realize how we should approach life. Every day is a crossroads and each morning we have a choice. We can either embrace life or hide from it. It’s a decision which you may be unaware of making. I can tell you from experience that the more you embrace life, the more opportunities will arrive at your doorstep.
The truth of the matter is that anything can happen to us at any time. The potential risks are never going to go away. But what we need to get rid of is our fear. To do this we must jump into an unfamiliar situation. It’ll be scary so I suggest starting with something slighlty uncomfortable. By attempting something new and then succeeding, you’ll prove to yourself that you have what it takes to overcome adversity. After that initial experience, don’t stop; move on to something more challenging.
You can conquer your fear. There are three things that will help you to make it happen:
1) be aware of your surroundings
2) trust your instincts
3) don’t get down on yourself
Write down these tips and post them where you’ll see them often. I keep them on a sticky note which I take with me wherever I go.
I can’t promise that you’ll succeed at every challenge. When a setback occurs remember to vigorously practive tip #3. Get back up, brush yourself off, and when you’re ready try again. No need chastise yourself. No need to fear. Just don’t give up. Life is an adventure and our job is to live it up.