Persistence does not mean banging your head on a brick wall. Saying that we should never give up does not mean that we should persist in trying to do things in ways that clearly don’t work and bring us pain.
What we should persist with is finding ways that do work and that can bring us closer to the goals and desires that we have. To keep your deepest wishes firmly in mind, and to take steps towards fulfilling them every day, no matter how small those steps may be is smart. To keep trying to get to where you want to be by following a route that has been proven to lead in the opposite direction- not so smart.
If turning left, right, left has led you to a place of frustration in the past, what makes you think that following these directions again will lead you anyplace different this time? That is not what persistence is about. Edison didn’t try making a light bulb in the same way 10 000 times to discover that way really didn’t work. Each time a way didn’t work he tried a slightly different way. This is the kind of perseverance that will eventually lead you to success and fulfillment.
Although this may seem like common sense, it is actually not so common. It is quite amazing how many of us persist in doing things the same way- again and again- even when we know from experience that they don’t work. We mistakenly convince ourselves that perseverance means making something work in a certain way, rather than trying to find a way that actually does work!
It has been said that if you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting. Well, if your life is going exactly the way you want it to, then it makes sense to keep on doing what you have been doing, and keep on getting what you want.
However, if the ways that you have been doing things have not been bringing you the results you desire, then you need to try doing things differently.
If you have been trying to get eight from two plus three for years, try a different formula. And if you discover that four plus two still doesn’t add up to the number you want, don’t keep trying for years to make that method work.
After a genuine effort to try something new, you will feel when it really isn’t working. It’s that moment when you feel that you are trying to swim upstream or fit a square peg into a round hole. When you know that you have really tried, and your intuition tells you that it is time to try something different- listen! To continue despite your better judgment is not persistence- it’s pig-headedness. I don’t know about you, but being pig-headed has never gotten me anywhere but into a lot of frustration!
This being said though, trying something once is not always enough to prove that it doesn’t work.
There are definitely times that a new method of doing something may take practice and fine-tuning before it can achieve the results that you want. It might need more attempts to discover whether or not a particular way can work for you. Once again, listen to your intuition. It will tell you when to keep trying, and when something is just not going to work.
If we can take some of the focus away from our intellects, and trust more in our ‘gut feeling,’ we are much more likely to be able to save our persistence for the efforts in which it can really pay off. Knowing when and how to keep trying, when to try a different way, when to take a breather, and when to let go and trust in the universe are vitally important in seeking happiness and fulfillment. Persist in trusting your inner knowing, and you will always find the way.
A native of Australia, Amanda Harvey is currently based in Taiwan. Working as a teacher, trainer, speaker, and writer, she has spent the last decade living in various countries throughout Europe and Asia.
Through her work and life experiences, Amanda has developed a strong passion for encouraging others to embrace their differences and become empowered to choose their own paths. In all her work, the key message that Amanda endeavors to share is that there is always a choice, and that the only right way to choose life is your way.
Amanda is the author of two books.One is a self-help book entitled Freedom from Shame,Overcoming the Stigma of Depression.
Amanda’s other title is Not My Flesh and Blood, But My Heart and Soul. To read more, please visit