“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
How many times do you think you’ve heard that in your life? I stopped counting somewhere around a bazillion. I used to think that was a great phrase, and I endeavored to hold myself up to that standard. I really wanted to be successful, and since that phrase had the word “succeed” in it, it had to be good, right?
PERSEVERANCE is, in my opinion, highly misinterpreted. The document that is linked to above has some great information about perseverance, but it also has some that is counter-productive to becoming successful. I included it for the good information, obviously.
We all know that you have to wait for good things to happen, but that’s just half the story: You really have to work hard for things to happen in the way you want them to, and the waiting really only comes about after you have exhausted your supply of hard work. You also have to know when and if you need to abandon something in order to be successful.
Let’s think about school. I know that your goal is simply to complete the required amount of time so that you can do other things. We all know that. But if all you do is show up, do you really believe that you will succeed in your quest to get out of school? You know that you need to wok hard, show up on time, pay attention, do well on tests, and not be a trouble maker. Perseverance comes in somewhere around October of each year, when school has just recently started, and you are already bored with it. The time when you would give almost anything to be anywhere else. It is in these times that you have to persevere, that you have to focus even harder on the goal, and the prize you get for achieving that goal.
In saving, you really have to work hard to avoid those stupid, little temptations that creep up and make you want to spend money on something that you don’t need, and probably don’t even really want. You also need to keep on the look-out for better ways to save money, better places to put your money, and better methods of making more compound interest. Believe me, I know how easy it is to make a quick deposit into my checking account and pat myself on the back because I’m saving money. Sometimes, I’m too busy to really think about it, others I have other, more important things on my mind to think about it, but if all I do is sit back and make those checking deposits, I’m screwing myself in the long-run.
Sure, I need to keep some money in a checking account, so that I can use it as needed, but attached to the very same ATM card is a savings account that earns interest (although, admittedly not much), that I could just as easily make a deposit to. I also know that opening up a higher yield CD (Certificate of Deposit) is only a phone call away during the day. If I really wanted to put the money in my checking, I still have access to a bill-pay system on-line, where I could transfer the money in my checking to another institution where I could make even more interest. There is no shortage of choices.
If saving is really important to me (which it emphatically IS), I need to persevere past all of the distractions; past the “I don’t have enough time”, past the “I have other things going on that are more important”, past even the “It’s been a while since I’ve been to a casino”. I need to persevere to save the money in a smart way, so that I can have all the “stuff” that I want at a later time.
At work, there will be times when things just aren’t working out in your favor. You may get fired for whatever reason. Whatever the case, you can’t just sit down and cry about it (note: The first time you get fired, it is perfectly acceptable to sit down and cry for a few days. This is the first time you’ve ever been fired for screwing up, and you’re still a little upset. Trust me when I say that it gets easier with time and experience), you really do have to brush off, get back to working, and get back to work. Just remember that stuff happens all the time that you have no control over. I’ve long believed that if you can’t control something, you shouldn’t worry about it either. Once you get that habit down, life gets considerably less stressful.
The last part of perseverance is knowing when to give up. Blind, stupid perseverance to a failing proposition is not good for you. Sometimes you have to stick with a loser in order to gain something else, but in general, once you realize that you won’t be successful at something, cut your losses and move on to the next thing. Trust me when I say that you will be doing yourself a favor.