Mike just got back his math test from the previous week. The mark he earned was a C. He can barely hold back his disappointment, because he studied for it for a long time. He cant believe it. He feels it doesnt seem to matter if he tries hard or not, he still doesnt get good marks. What is the use of trying?
Granted, it feels very disappointing when things dont 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, too, call it quits if you were in Dans 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 persons determination.
– Tommy Lasorda
1. Keeping An Open Mind
In Mikes case I hope that you would agree that it is too soon to throw in the towel. Its important that you keep trying until you get the results you want. When you say, I quit, you turn off your inner dynamo and your determination leaves. Giving up is the easy (and tempting) thing to do, but dont 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 closer to your goal. Once you say I quit, you close off your mind from any additional ways of getting closer to your goal and experiencing the necessary breakthroughs to help you get there.
For example, in the math test, if Dan keeps an open mind and chooses to keep studying for tests, he may find new ways of preparing that will help him retain the information. Not everybody learns in the same way. There are more ways than one to do everything!
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 dont like, you will need to adjust your actions until you get a better outcome. Especially at the onset, we may 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 didnt look at them as mistakes, but as advancements 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, its time to start asking questions. Of whom do you ask the questions? Guess what? YOU! Thats right. Once you start asking yourself questions, you will come up with more answers. The trick is to ask yourself better questions so you will get better answers!
What do I mean by that?
Lets use the scenario about Mike and his math test. He could ask himself, How come I never get a good mark? How come I cant 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, such as, Because I am stupid, because Ill 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 dont want. Keep the questions positive.
For extra effectiveness, try writing the question(s) down. If you ask yourself the questions before you go to sleep at night, often times the answers will come the next day. Your brain will have had the time to think about it while you were sleeping.
Sounds pretty easy, doesnt it? Keep asking better questions, and better answers will come.
Here is another question. Who can help you?
Is there somebody who has already achieved the same goal? Find them and ask them what they did to get there. Asking doesnt cost anything. If they wont help you, find somebody else.
Chances are these people werent always doing great at first. The difference is that they kept going, no matter how 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 from starting or continuing towards your goal is to come up with an excuse. There is always an excuse ready for you to use if you want to find one. Its easy to come up with excuses. If you find yourself making excuses, take a minute and you will see that you are really only cheating yourself.
6. Picture It
To make your goals a reality usually requires you to venture outside of your comfort zone. That can be scary, and it will 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 there. Get a clear picture of what you are going to look like, where you will be, and what you will be feeling. Its 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. You alone can make it happen. Its your birthright to have it all. Nobody has the right to take that from you, no matter what you have been told.
The truth is that you can do anything you set your mind to do. You just dont know your own power yet. If you truly desire to get something and you arent going to let anything get in your way, if you are creative and keep an open mind, its amazing what you can do.
Stay in the game. Dont give up. Dont quit. Dont succumb to pressure. You may need to take a breather every once in while to help you get back your momentum, and thats okay as long as you get back in the game again. Any dream worth having is worth persevering to reach. 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!
One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great Surprises, is to find he can do what he is afraid he couldnt do.
One last note about when it isnt advisable to keep trying. Thats when youre trying to change somebody other than yourself. Its great to help out a friend and do things for them sometimes, but its their responsibility to take care of themselves and have their own goals. Its not going to work in the long run if you do it for them.