The ability to keep at something—to not give up—is often underestimated. When working toward a goal, the willingness to work consistently at a sustained level is a critical factor for success. In many cases, perseverance is just as important, if not more important than, talent or intelligence. I might have all the skills in the world, but if I can’t be disciplined about working on my goal every day, talent doesn’t do me much good.
Have you ever had a burning desire for something that you couldn’t have?
How did you handle it?
We all have desires: relationships, jobs, things. Sometimes we get what we want, and sometimes we don’t. It’s often difficult to accept when we fail. We try to figure out different ways of getting something we may never have. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as we remain honest with ourselves about our actions and our motives.
Pay attention to one thing at a time.
It’s easy to say, but there is so much we have to keep track of. It’s also hard to stay focused—to keep our minds on what we are doing without getting distracted or letting our minds wander.
It’s important to remember that we are only capable of doing one thing at a time. At any single moment, our brains can only think about one thing. We may be under the illusion that we’re able to work on several things at once, but what is really happening is that we’re focusing on one thing for a very short time then moving on to something else. We may even be cycling through several tasks, causing us to think we’re focusing on all of them at the same time, but the bottom line is we can only focus on one at any given moment.
Failure is an option.
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
As we go through our lives, we each make decisions about what we are going to do – in our jobs and in our personal lives, the big things and the small things, the important and the trivial. Part of what goes into those decisions are the consequences if we fail.
If we think we might fail, we worry that we’ll waste our time, that we could get hurt or embarrassed, or that the consequences will be dire. We fear failure. We worry about failure. We try to avoid failure.
But if we only do things that guarantee success, we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are not exploring our own personal boundaries. We are not testing ourselves. We’ll never find out what we’re made of.
People often want something different, something more. We find it quite hard to see the potential for happiness in the present, even when the present is fantastic. Even during our “most exciting times,” we tend to think about what’s coming next. On vacation, we’re thinking of the next day’s surfing, of the friends coming to visit, of the great dinner we’re going to have. It’s hard for us to “just be,” to eek out all the joy in what is happening right here, right now.