Mike just got back his math test from the week before. The mark he earned was a “C”. He can barely hold back his disappointment, because he studied for this test for quite a long time. He just can’t believe it. He feels that it doesn’t even matter if he tries or not. Even when he tries really hard, he still doesn’t get good marks. What is the use of trying?
Granted, it feels very disappointing when things don’t work out the way you had planned; especially when you put in a good effort.
So how to you keep going when the going gets tough? Would you call it “quits” too if you were in Dan’s shoes or would you continue to study for your tests despite the low mark received in this test?
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda
1. Keeping An Open Mind
In Mike’s case I hope that you would agree that it is too soon to throw in the towel. It’s important that you keep trying until you get the result that you want. When you say, “I quit” you shut off your inner dynamo and your determination leaves. Giving up is the easy (and tempting) thing to do! Don’t give up! Keep trying!
The one thing that you can do in pursuing your goal is to keep an open mind. You will be more aware of ideas and opportunities around you that could help you move you closer towards your goal. Once you say “I quit” you basically are closing off your mind from any more ways to getting closer to your end result and having any breakthroughs.
Like in the example about the math test, if Dan keeps an open mind and chooses to keep studying for tests, he may find new ways of studying – ways that work better for him to help him retain the information, because not everybody learns in the same way. There are always more ways than one to do something!
2. Trial and Error
One thing for you to remember when you get discouraged is that you actually tried in the first place. You made an effort! If you got a result that you didn’t like, you will need to adjust your action based upon your result until you get a
better outcome. Especially in the beginning of something, we feel overwhelmed at times and think that we will never get there. Yes, you may have temporary setbacks, but if you learn from those and change your actions you will get what you want.
Colonel Sanders was rejected over 1000 times before someone bought his famous chicken recipe.
The Wright brothers tried many times before taking flight.
Thomas Edison tried to invent the light bulb over 9999 times. He said that every attempt showed him just another way
how not to invent the electric lamp. He didn’t look at it as mistakes, but as each trial as an advancement towards his ultimate goal. What a powerful mindset to have!
The spirit of “stick-to-it-iveness” (in proper English the word is “tenacity”) is the one that wins! Each time you try again, you WIN!
3. Questions are the answer!
When you run out of ideas it’s time to start asking questions. Who do you ask the questions? Guess what, it’s YOU! That’s right, you have to start asking yourself the questions and you WILL come up with more answers. The trick is to ask yourself better questions so that
you will get better answers! What do I mean by that?
OK, let me give you an example and let’s use the scenario from above about Mike and his math test. Now he could ask himself, “How come I never get a good mark? How come I can’t do well in school?” The kicker is that when you ask those kinds of unhelpful questions you are going to come up with answers that are just as unhelpful like “Because I am stupid, because I’ll never learn it, because I am no good, etc.”
Now let me ask you some questions:
“Are those answers going to help you? How are they going to make you feel? Are they going to make you take action and try again?
Here is a better way of asking yourself questions: “What can I try differently next time to help me study? “Ask questions that are geared towards getting what you want, not what you don’t want. Keep the questions positive!
For extra effectiveness, try writing the question(s) down. Ask yourself the questions before you go to sleep at night and often times the answers will come the next day as your brain had time to think about it while you were sleeping! Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Keep asking “better” questions and “better” answers will come!
Here is another question. “Who can help you?”
Is there somebody that has already achieved the same goal? Find them and ask them what they did to get there. Asking doesn’t cost anything. If they won’t help you, find somebody else!
And guess what, chances are these people weren’t always doing great at first. The difference is that they kept going however small the action seemed at the time. Once you have the determination to persist until you get what you want, you will become more confident in yourself as well.
5. Excuse me!
A sure way to keep you from starting or even continuing towards your goal is to come up with an excuse. Let’s face it; there is always an excuse ready for you to use if you so choose. It’s easy to come up with excuses. If you find yourself making excuses take a minute and you will see that you are really just cheating yourself!
6. Picture it!
I know that to make your goals a reality it most likely requires you to venture outside of your comfort zone. That can be scary and not feel very uncomfortable at first! Keep focusing on the benefit of your goal to push yourself further along.
Take a minute whenever you feel overwhelmed and DREAM about your goal! See yourself already being there. Get a really clear picture of what you are going to look like, where you will be, and even what you will be feeling like! It’s fun to dream and it will help make your dream come true!
You deserve the best in life! You deserve to get what you are dreaming about and you alone can make it happen! It’s your birthright to have it all! Nobody has the right to take that from you no matter what you have been told!
Stay in the game. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t succumb to pressure. You may need to take a breather every once in while to help you get back your momentum and that’s OK just as long as you get back in the game again. Any dream worth having is worth persevering for! You have it inside of you to create your dreams and your future! Go for it and make it happen!
“If you can dream it, you can do it!” -Walt Disney
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great Surprises, is to find he can do what he is afraid he couldn’t do.” -Henry Ford
PS: Just one last note to let you know about when it really isn’t advisable to keep trying. It’s when you’re trying to change somebody other than yourself. It’s great to help out a friend and do things for them sometimes, just know that in the end it’s really their responsibility to take care of themselves and have their own goals. It’s not going to work in the long run if you do it for them.