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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!

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    Sean Kim

    Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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    Last Updated on December 1, 2020

    How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose

    How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose

    I wrote a few articles about starting a business based on something you love doing and are passionate about. I received several responses from people saying they weren’t sure how to go about figuring out what they were most passionate about or how to find their true purpose. So I’m dedicating this article to these issues — how to find your entrepreneurial passion and purpose.

    When I work with a new client, the first thing we talk about is lifestyle design. I ask each client, “What do you want your life to look like?” If you designed a business without answering this question, you could create a nice, profitable business that is completely incompatible with your goals in life. You’d be making money, but you’d probably be miserable.

    When you’re looking for your life purpose, lifestyle design isn’t a crucial component. However, since we’re talking about entrepreneurial purpose, lifestyle design is indeed crucial to building a business that you’ll enjoy and truly be passionate about.

    For example, say you want to spend more time at home with your family. Would you be happy with a business that kept you in an office or out of town much of the time? On the flip side, if you wanted to travel and see the world, how well could you accomplish that goal if your business required your presence, day in and day out, to survive? So start by getting some clarity on your personal goals and spend some time working on designing your life.

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    At this point, you may need a little prodding, and you may want to hire a coach or mentor to work with you through this process. Many people are very used to the idea that there is a particular way a life “should” be. There are certain milestones most people tend to live by, and if you don’t meet those markers when or in the manner you’re “supposed” to meet them, that can cause some anxiety.

    Here’s how to find your passion and purpose:

    Give Yourself Permission to Dream a Little

    Remember that this is your life and you can live it however you choose. Call it meditation or fantasy, but let your imagination run here. And answer this question:

    “If you had no fears or financial limitations, what would your ideal life, one in which you could be totally content and happy, look like?”

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    Once you’ve figured out your lifestyle design, it’s time to do a little more soul-searching to figure out what you’re truly passionate about. This is a time to really look within and look back.

    Specifically, look back over your life history. When were you the happiest? What did you enjoy doing the most? Remember that what you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire job, but can actually be aspects of your past jobs or hobbies that you’ve really enjoyed.

    Think About a Larger Life Purpose

    Many successful entrepreneurs have earned their place in history by setting out to make a difference in the world. Is there a specific issue or cause that is important to you or that you’re particularly passionate about?

    For some, this process of discovery may come easily. You may go through these questions and thought experiments and find the answers quickly. For others, it may be more difficult. In some cases, you may suffer from a generalized lack of passion and purpose in your life.

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    Sometimes, this can come from having suppressed passion in your life for too long. Sometimes, it can come from eating poorly and lack of exercise. But occasionally, it may have something to do with your internal chemistry or programming. If the latter applies to you, it may be useful for you to seek help in the form of a coach, mentor, or counselor.

    In other cases, not knowing your true purpose may be a matter of having not discovered it yet: you may not have found anything that makes your heart beat faster. If this is the case, now is the time to explore!

    The Internet is a fantastic tool for learning and exploration. Search hobbies and careers and learn as much as you can about any topic that triggers your interest, then follow up at the library on the things that really intrigue you. Again, remember that this is your life and only you can give yourself permission to explore all that the world has available to you.

    How Do You Know When You’ve Found Your True Entrepreneurial Purpose?

    I can only tell you how I knew when I had discovered my own — it didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. Rather, it settled over me, bringing a deep sense of peace and commitment. It felt like I had arrived home and knew exactly what to do and how to proceed.

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    Everything flowed easily from that point forward. That’s not to say that I found success immediately after that moment. But rather, the path ahead of me was clear, so I knew what to do.

    Decisions were easier and came faster to me. And success has come on MY terms, according to my own definitions of what success means to me in my own lifestyle design.

    Dig deep, look within, and seek whatever help you need. Once you find that purpose and passion, your life — not just your entrepreneurial life, but your entire life — will never be the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Garrhet Sampson via unsplash.com

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