We all hit points when it seems like going on is next to impossible. When you’re already overwhelmed, it’s easy to talk yourself into giving up. But giving up too soon could cause you to miss out on success. You never know how soon you might start seeing progress if you hang in there and give it a little more time. Here are eight good reasons you should keep at it just a little longer.
1. It takes many iterations for one success.
“If birds can glide for long periods of time, then… why can’t I?” -Orville Wright
You’ve heard of that thing called an airplane, right? It took Orville and Wilbur Wright many iterations of gliders, and years of testing and trying, to get to a powered “flying machine.”
They didn’t call each iteration a failure. They called it a way to improve, because each test, each trial, gave them new information which influenced and improved the next model.
Not getting it right the first time, or the 100th time, is not a sign that you should quit. It’s simply a way for you to keep learning how to do it better next time.
2. Instant success is a myth.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
We’ve all heard stories of the overnight rise to fame. But the truth is that what looks like an instant or overnight success is always preceded by years of struggle and work.
There’s a long, hard road to success, but when success hits we only focus on the last mile or so. It looks so easy, and makes for such a great story, that we ignore the miles and miles of obscurity, difficulty, and perseverance required to get to that hill top of glory.
Those stories make us feel that if we haven’t achieved a high level of success in a matter of days or months, we must be doing something wrong. And we are: we’re listening to make-believe stories as if they were guidelines to how life actually works.
3. Your success might matter more than you think it does.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” -Abraham Lincoln
And if you give up now, you don’t know what you could have accomplished and what the world might be missing because of you.
It was after Abraham Lincoln lost two runs for a senatorial seat that he ran for president of the United States…and won. That election put Lincoln at the helm during the War Between the States, and Lincoln is the one who issued the Emancipation Proclamation three years after his election.
What if he had decided, after two losses in politics, that it was time to give it up and retire to the country?
What if you decide that your success doesn’t matter? Your losses are too great, and it’s time to pull back to something average, give up, and settle down. Average is good enough.
Except that average never changed the world.
4. The most worthwhile things are not easy.
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso
We like easy, comfortable, familiar things. That’s because we tend to be lazy, and we don’t want to put forth the effort required to do difficult things. Because we shirk from the effort, we go to great lengths to convince ourselves that we don’t need that goal… whatever it is. We pretend that we’re satisfied with the easy things, but we know the truth.
The best things, the things that matter most, are the most difficult.
A great relationship, a career you can be proud of, a family, serving, innovating, helping others? All of those require deep thought, self-control, self-sacrifice, and a willingness to put in a lot of effort over a long amount of time.
But what could be better than the results you get from such an effort?
5. You might not have tried the right thing yet.
“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.” -Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton failed miserably at being a farmer before he found his way to a career in science.
He wasn’t good at farming, but he was a genius at what he did after he failed at farming.
If you’re trying and failing, perhaps you just haven’t tried the right thing yet. Don’t judge yourself and quit on life and on your goals because you’ve failed in one area, or even several. Every time you try and fail, you learn something about yourself, about life, and you gain experience that can help you to do better next time.
So press on. Try something different, and don’t let past failure keep you from future success.
6. Tenacity matters more than talent.
“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” -Mark Twain
If you feel like you aren’t good enough, or talented enough, remember this: there are plenty of supremely talented people out there working at dead-end jobs, not using their talents.
Talent is great, but without tenacity, talent won’t get you very far.
I know, I know: the overnight success stories. Right. But there’s a backstory to those, remember? And the backstory is the tenacity that kept that talented person pushing forward, long before success “hit.” Success doesn’t hit, or happen. Success is something you reach by hard work and determination.
So hang in there, and stay tenacious.
7. Your past does not determine your future.
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” -Bill Cosby
Many great successes were once known as big, sad, sorry failures.
Every famous writer was once a wanna be writer.
Every amazing entrepreneur was once a shaky little start-up.
And 99.9 percent of the time, their first attempts were not their best. But they didn’t quit. They pushed through one bad draft after another, one business flop after another, until they learned enough and tried enough that they succeeded.
Each failure teaches you. Each attempt can give you valuable insight into how to do better next time.
You’re not doomed to repeat the past. You’re given an invaluable gift: the ability to think about and learn from your past. That past may be the very thing that give you the future you want.
Don’t quit. Success is ahead.
Featured photo credit: Aleksander Markin via flickr.com