I find humans fascinating – which is probably a sure sign that I’m definitely in the right line of work. Yep I love my job and when I wanted to move from financial services into coaching I was very sure that I wanted to focus on high performers. I won’t lie…. patience isn’t my strong point so I certainly didn’t want to coach people who thought an average bar is ok. I love working with people who are looking to raise that bar – even if they don’t know how to yet.
So I often reflect on some of the characteristics that differentiate high performers from the rest and one characteristic is definitely persistence.
Some people seem to inherently have the ability to be more persistent than others but it is also something that can be a learned behaviour. So the good news is that you can develop it. Of course if you don’t really want to we can’t really help you, but for those who do want to improve it here’s what you need to know.
Persistence can be learned if you want to….
This one comes down to the mindset you have about things that are difficult. Our brains are wired for defence and to make us feel safe. So when we have an uncomfortable experience we look for ways to avoid that situation in the future.
Often as we grow up we are taught to shy away from things that are difficult and to do something easier instead. Perhaps your parents let you do your homework last thing on Sunday night so that you were able to choose to stay away from it until you really had to do it. Perhaps you always managed to shy away from difficult conversations, so you got much better at shying away from difficult conversations than persisting with learning how to tackle them.
The key to learning persistence
One thing people who have persistence have learned is to be driven by the feeling when the task has been done rather than consumed with the uncomfortable feeling while doing the task. No one wants to have a difficult conversation, but think how great things will be once the issue is resolved.
So if you can get your kids to tap into the feeling of achievement that completed homework brings, they might stand more of a chance of learning persistence a little earlier in life.
And the more persistence you have to achieve tasks, the less energy you will probably spend while doing the task, as it will no longer feel quite so difficult.
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