To succeed in anything in life you need to be either lucky or possess the qualities of persistence, motivation and dedication, if you have so far been unlucky it is time to use thse qualities to make your own luck.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the need for persistence to achieve your goals whether they are fitness related such as losing weight, muscle building or developing strength through bodyweight exercises, or indeed bigger goals such as a completely new direction in life.
It can be frustrating but it is true that most desires in life are not obtained by walking a straight path but are gained by the person who is willing to also venture down hills and up mountains.
For example, if you look at the progress made by people who have lost incredible amounts of weight you will undoubtedly see that they did not succeed by losing a certain amount of weight each and every week for months or years because the human body is simply not made that way and most people who start a weight reduction program find that it is far from a consistent process.
Because the body always has and always will adapt to change, people normally find the good reductions in weight lose shown in the first few months of their healthy eating and exercise program soon slow down, stop or even reverse to weight gain as their body adapts to the changes they have made.
If this was not the case there would be no need for dogged determination as the constant satisfaction of seeing a reduction in weight would be enough to motivate most people to continue with what ever program they were following. The fact that this in not the case is why this quality is required not just in weight lose but in anything in life were progress is not easy, consistent or straightforward.
For example, the former boxing world champion Alan Minter (It shows how old I am to remember him) once said that it was not his god given talent that made him a champion but his persistence.
The reason he gave was that when he had been an amateur boxer there were others who were as good if not better than him. However, they dropped by the wayside for different reasons but because of his strong resilience he stuck at it and became the best in world. Such dogged determination is rare and should be commended but what about the rest of us do we possess such persistence and if not can we develop it?
Do we all have persistence?
Persistence is only needed when you either doubt what you are doing will bring success or are too impatient to wait for the results. As mentioned earlier persistence is not needed when you can see the results of your work on a regular basis because that is usually enough of a motivation to keep going, it is when what you are doing slows down or shows no noticeable progress that the persistence to stick with the task is required.
As to whether we all have the potential to persevere in the face of doubt I would argue that we do if we think about what we are doing logically. For example, if you plan to use bodyweight exercises to build amazing strength you could soon do a bit of research on the web and you would find that strength gains do not follow steady consistent paths to glory but are stops and starts of sporadic growth that get you were you want to be but may take you down hills and valleys before you get to the top of the mountain.
Armed with this knowledge anyone wanting to gain strength could have the persistence to continue even if they were going through a momentary lull in progress if they knew this was going to happen and had made a commitment to work through it before they started the training program.
So the message is clear, think about what you are attempting to achieve with cold logic and do some research before you begin your task. If the expert opinion clearly states that those who have attempted the same thing as you met with sticking points or backward steps before they got the results they wanted. Then you should accept that you will also likely meet with the same plateaus, however, if you know this and think about it logically there should be no reason to give up when it happens as you already knew it would.
Impatience the enemy of persistence
The second reason people quit programs of weight lose; muscle building or strength development is impatience. Those who commit to a certain program justifiably want to see the results of the hard work they have put in to it. However, to ovoid becoming inpatient with what you have undertaken the same rules of thinking logically and doing research apply.
For example, if you have researched the results of others who have undertaken a similar path to your own and the expert opinion is that it can take let’s say any were from six months to two years to reach your goal. Then logical thinking should tell you that it will probably be the case with yourself. If you know this and accept it before you begin there should be no reason to become impatient as quitting before that time frame means you haven’t give the program the time it needed to show results.
For an example of how to overcome impatience think about Kelly homes the British middle distance runner. For years Kelly Homes was a good but not great athlete and faced with the prospect of never winning the big prices many people would have quit. However, Kelly on the over hand showed great persistence and was rewarded with two Olympic gold medals in the twilight of her career.
Whilst were talking about persistence and Athletics think of Paula Radcliffe who is now probably the best women’s marathon runner in the world. For a long time she competed at middle distance events and continually had the heartbreak of leading from the front of the whole race until she was overtaken in the final straight. Paula persisted with her running and when she moved up to the longer marathon distance she found her calling and became the truly great record holder that she is.
If we agree that persistence is vital to fulfill many ambitions and goals in life the next consideration is, is it always wise to have such dogged determination or does it make sense for a wise person to call it a day at some point if they are clearly not getting the results they expected?
What is persistence and what is madness?
If you are not getting the results you expected from your toil is it always wise to continue or could such persistence be called madness if it clearly isn’t working. The answer to that question is up to the individual and I would be the last person to try and prevent anyone from pursuing their passion.
The only advice I would give is that you follow what is fundamentally correct and by that I mean if you are sticking to a program that many experts in the field say is correct then it pays to stick with it as long as possible even if the results are not as fast as you hoped. However, if you are following a maverick program that only one or two experts think is correct and you are not getting the results you would have expected you might be wise to question their opinion and your dogged determination to follow it.
To achieve amazing things in life you normally have to display amazing persistence to the task you have undertaken. There are many who have failed in their ambitions just as they would have bared fruit because they lacked the persistence to continue when results were not as forthcoming as they would have liked.
To possess persistence do your research and find out what to expect before you begin. Armed with this knowledge and logical thought there should be no reason to quit if things do not happen quickly or consistently as you knew this would be the case before you started.
As for what is persistence and what blind madness only the individual can decide when enough is enough. However, never take the word of one or two experts to be fact if their recommendations do not bring the results they said they would.
I am sure the thousands and thousands of experiments Thomas Edison ( no I am not old enough to remember him) conducted to perfect the light bulb were considered by many to be sheer madness but his persistence paid of and brought a shining light to the world. So remember follow your own instincts and dogged determination and success shall be yours.
I shall leave you with some famous quotes on persistence.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
There is no failure except in no longer trying.
Frank Lloyd Wright:
I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
Harriet Beecher Stowe:
When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
Some give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.
Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
E. M. Forster never gets any further than warming the teapot. He’s a rare fine hand at that. Feel this teapot. Is it not beautifully warm? Yes, but there ain’t going to be no tea.
Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.
Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.
Thomas Alva Edison:
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.