I have two cats at my apartment. What I love about these cats is their focus is second to none. My youngest daughter won a fish at a summer solstice festival last month. Ever since my cats have discovered the fish in the house, they’ve tried several thousand times to get into the tank to claim the fish as their own. Doesn’t matter how or how often- they are that determined that I suspect one day I’m going to have a huge puddle of water and rocks that I’ll be cleaning up in my living room.
Remember when you as a child had that same persistence to obtain what you wanted? How you learned to climb over, around and on top of the word no? When you really wanted to do something, you would use your best negotiating skills or just continue to ask away hundreds of times- hopeful that you’d break down your parents mentally enough that they would just give in to your wants. This dogged determination, when used for pursuit of your ultimate wants and wish list, can carry you through even when things seem impossible or bleak in your life.
I had to prove myself as a starter my freshman year of college on a team of nationally ranked veterans for my bowling team. I dusted myself off when I lost two back to back sales jobs within 6 months- even though I loved the music and newspaper mediums I was involved in. Even when I was making minimum wage as a teenager in the private school cafeteria and we went through 4 bosses in a year- I patiently waited for each boss to understand my value as a whole to keep the team cohesive and provide top notch service. My reward at the time was the biggest per hour increase that anyone had received in the history of that cafeteria.
Currently I have 53 goals that I want to accomplish within the next 10 years. They range from fluency in foreign languages to travelling in foreign countries, improving my income per year to maintaining a better level of health to consistency with the time and activities that I engage in with my wife and children. The only way I’ll achieve these goals is by writing out specific plans, breaking them down into steps, looking at what I need to do on a daily basis in each of these areas, and gaining the resources, mentors and skills to be able to achieve these dreams. Also, observing any possible roadblocks or setbacks ahead of time and determining that these naturally occur in life- but to not let them defeat me or deflate me.
I’ve studied different patterns or ways to set goals from author mentors such as Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, and Zig Ziglar among others. I’m learning from their failures as well as their successes. I truly believe that you have to fail and fall at life in order to achieve what you really desire. I probably bowled 8,000 league and tournament games before I rolled my first perfect game. I’ve had professors in college who thought I wasn’t talented as a writer. I left a job and went back to become a manager with that same company because I knew I could do more for the company than just be a regular counselor. In all those instances, I chose to work harder, work smarter and never accept other people’s views as what would be my destiny.
What have you been persistent about in your life? How long did it take to achieve one of your biggest goals, and how did you go about it? I love when I hear about the media or people discussing an “overnight sensation.” A lot of times the people involved have spent thousands of hours slugging away, learning, adjusting, moving forward, taking side-steps but always visualizing the end in mind before it happens- and then making it reality. You may be born with a certain talent or pre-disposition to accomplish great things due to natural ability. However, if you don’t apply yourself to nuture this gift, you can lose it as quickly as you’ll use it.
When I was my youngest daughter’s age, I knew I wanted to be involved in the music business in some way, continue to pursue my bowling dreams and also have a healthy, happy family life. 26 years later, I’m still pushing forward in all three areas and setting more goals to make my world vibrant and loving.
Persist- never entertain the possibility of quitting. Achievers make it by going the extra mile- push yourself to do the same. I’d love to hear some of your favorite persistent stories.