The world of personal motivation and personal development are full of people saying that “persistence is the key to success”.
They quote many instances of ‘successful’ people who just kept trying and eventually broke through to success. The ones I see are typically along the lines of those that were made bankrupt several times before becoming successful, or more specifically Abraham Lincoln, who failed many times as a politician, before becoming president of the United States.
But persistence in doing what?
I was thinking of some of the stories of people, who kept on trying until they ‘succeeded’, in a different light.
When they failed they probably changed something or learned something about their approach that wasn’t working – so they modified it in some way – small or large- until success started to flow. It only human nature.
Much like focus groups test products before they launch. Perhaps, successful people are benefiting from a lifetime of ‘tests’ and failures and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Perhaps, success is so much about blind persistence but more about changing things upon failure in concert with persistence?
Changing approaches- world views or assumptions upon failure.
When we fail perhaps we should evaluate and see what we are doing wrong, before we persist. But not change, solely for failures sake without thoughtful analysis – if we can’t see what’s wrong.
As Rudyard Kipling put it in his poem ‘IF’.
“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,”
For failure by not trying is guaranteed, but so is also persisting in something that doesn’t work.
I suspect its a balancing act, with no easy answers.