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6 Powerful Ways to Become More Persistent (And Never Quit Again)

6 Powerful Ways to Become More Persistent (And Never Quit Again)

Most of us are great at setting goals, but not at achieving them.

Whether it’s starting a new business, learning a new language, or mastering an instrument  —  we love to start things without finishing. One of the biggest reasons why we never achieve our goals is due to a lack of motivation and persistence.

We start out with an abundance of optimism about the journey, without being fully prepared mentally  for the inevitable obstacles ahead. As Tony Robbins says, “Success in anything is 80% psychology, and 20% mechanics.”

Let’s uncover the six powerful ways to become more persistent, so you’ll never quit again.

1. Have a vision outside of yourself

It all starts with this first step.

Without a bigger vision and purpose that is greater than yourself, you’ll quit at the initial stages of difficulty, as you will inevitably be knocked down. In contrast, when you’re achieving something for a purpose outside of yourself, the pressure of accountability alone will push you further than a purpose that is self-centered.

For example, if you’re learning a language in order to have a deeper connection with your life partner, you’re much more likely to persist because your relationship is on the line.

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Or, if you’re trying to lose weight, think about how confident, joyful, and happy you will feel. But more importantly, think about how that will affect the loved ones around you.

Shifting from a self-centered goal to a bigger purpose that affects those you love helps you focus on what you will get out of it, instead of how hard it is.

2. Build a support team

As the popular saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The top performers in the world all have a support team to keep them motivated and persistent, from personal coaches, employees, assistants, mentors, accountability partners — the list goes on.

More importantly, you should surround yourself with individuals who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Not only will this affect your speed of learning, but science has shown that it will impact your persistency and resiliency when things get difficult. When you have a clearly-defined purpose, with a state of certainty that you can achieve it, you influence a system in our body called the reticular activating system (RAS), that helps our brains decide what information to focus on and what to delete.

In summary, your mind starts to focus your energy on achieving the goal at hand, instead of unhelpful distractions like doubts and fears.

3. Have a growth mindset

In order to achieve our goals, we often have to get out of our own way.

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The author of Mindset, Carol Dweck, spent twenty years researching how our mindset affects success. The research claims that individuals have on of two mindsets. Perhaps you possess the growth mindset, where you thrive on challenges to achieve success. Otherwise, you own a fixed mindset, where you think you were born with whatever talents you have, and there’s not much you can do to change them.

Growth-v-Fixed

    In other words, we should focus on celebrating small wins and progress, knowing that we are continuing to improve, rather than having lofty expectations.

    4. Schedule it

    The most successful people in the world, including billionaire entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, and world-class learners, all use schedules to prioritize their day.

    Why a schedule as opposed to a simple to-do list?

    According to a researcher Kevin Kruse, there are a few key weaknesses of a to-do list:

    • A to-do list doesn’t account for time. When we have a long list of tasks, we tend to tackle those that can be completed quickly in a few minutes, leaving the longer items left undone. Research from the company iDoneThis indicates that 41% of all to-do list items are never completed!
    • It doesn’t distinguish between urgent and important. Once again, our impulse is to fight the urgent and ignore the important. (Are you overdue for your next colonoscopy or mammogram?)
    • To-do lists contribute to stress. In what’s known in psychology as the Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks contribute to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts. It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night.

    Instead, we should focus on scheduling our priorities, such as reviewing your Spanish common words, practicing the drums, or writing 500 words for your upcoming book.

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    What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.

    5. Teach Others

    Have you ever taught something you learned to someone, and found it easier to remember in the future?

    This is because when we teach something to someone, our brain is able to register the information more effectively than simply reading about it.

    As research shows, it turns out that people retain:

    5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
    10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
    20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
    30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
    50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
    75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
    90% of what they learn when they teach someone else to use the information immediately.

    This research finding is especially relevant for those wanting to master a new skill.

    If you want to learn how to become a better speaker, don’t just watch others do it. You need to immediately use what you’ve learned; then try to ‘teach’ someone else what you’ve just done.

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    If you’re learning a new language, instead of using one-sided interactions like audio tapes or mobile apps, work with a language teacher or conversation exchange partner to practice what you’re learning.

    The key to learning with persistence is to use it (or lose it).

    6. Have stakes

    Why are we less likely to be late to a business meeting than a meeting with our friends? Because the former could get us fired. As humans, we’re naturally more motivated to commit when there is a consequence or a stake, even if it’s a friendly one.

    Research shows that we are three times more influenced by negative consequences than positive consequences, so stakes such as losing money are powerful incentives to use against yourself.

    You can make a friendly bet with a friend to keep you honest. Or, try using a program like StickK, where you can set a specific goal with a referee to monitor you, and donate money to a charity as a consequence for not succeeding.

    The key is to get someone involved from your support team, and share your goals publicly. The social pressure of affecting your reputation alone will push you further than you can imagine.

    Over to you

    What’s a goal or new skill you’re trying to persist through? Which of these strategies will you use to achieve it?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

    More by this author

    Sean Kim

    Sean is the founder and CEO of Pulsing. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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    Last Updated on July 18, 2019

    How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

    How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

    Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

    However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

    Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

    Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

    There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

    Better Job Offers

    Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

    People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

    Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

    You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

    Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

    A Shot at Entrepreneurship

    Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

    We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

    13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

    1. Update Your Resume

    You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

    Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

    While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

    There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

    2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

    Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

    That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

    To hone this skill:

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    Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

    Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

    This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

    How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

    3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

    Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

    Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

    To hone this skill:

    Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

    4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

    No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

    Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

    To hone this skill:

    Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

    Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

    These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

    The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

    5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

    Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

    How to hone this skill:

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    Practice being resourceful.

    Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

    Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

    No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

    If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

    6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

    6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

    Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

    The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

    Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

    How to hone this skill:

    Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

    Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

    17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

    7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

    Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

    What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

    How to hone this skill:

    Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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    Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

    5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

    8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

    Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

    Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

    How to hone this skill:

    Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

    Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

    What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

    9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

    How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

    Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

    How to hone this skill:

    Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

    Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

    The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

    10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

    Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

    How to hone this skill:

    Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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    Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

    Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

    You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

    How to hone this skill:

    All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

    How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

    12. Build Networks and Relationships

    You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

    Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

    How to hone this skill:

    Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

    To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

    How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

    Final Thoughts

    Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

    You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

    Happy career switching!

    More Resources About Career Advancement

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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