By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)
How to never give up and practice persistence the intelligent way? Sometimes you need to quit the wrong path to get to the right destination. Persistence is indeed a heroic trait if applied correctly. But many times, the way people persist is just stupid. In this article you will learn what is the intelligent way to never give up. A way in which persistence actually pays off and does not lead to you going around in circles. To know how, keep reading this article!
A personal story of Stupid Persistence
My parents are from Allahabad, India which is a relatively smaller town as compared to the capital city of India I live in (New Delhi). My grandmother lives in Allahabad so we used to visit the city often in our childhood. This incident is from 2003 when the Internet was still in its nascent stages in India, especially in a smaller town like Allahabad. Today there are things like mobile Internet for travellers, but back in those days if you did not have a permanent connection in the city you were visiting, you had to visit an Internet café where you would pay by the hour to surf the Internet.
Now I loved going to my grandmother’s house but back in those days, going there would mean there would be no way to access the internet. My grandmother has a pretty big house and they always had some students as tenants that used to rent a few of the rooms. When I went to Allahabad in 2003, I told her, I needed to find an Internet café.
She introduced me to a guy who was a tenant and was preparing for Civil Services examinations.They are one of the most prestigious and notoriously tough to crack examinations meant for respectable, well paying and secure government jobs in India. He had been trying for many years but was unable to get through, although he was very proud of the fact he had not given up for 5 years. At the same time I never saw him study. I stayed there for almost 20 days and never saw him open a book at day or night.
When I first met the guy, the first thing he said was that this house was in a very old area, and there was no chance of an Internet Cafe here, so we needed to go look elsewhere. So we got in the Rickshaw (A bicycle attached to a cart that can seat passengers) and went looking everywhere. Everywhere we went either the Internet Cafe wasn’t there or it was closed. Finally I started getting frustrated and he kept telling me, “Be positive. Be positive” , but this positive guy never bothered to ask anyone where the Internet Cafe was. So I finally asked a few people and they all said they didn’t know of any such place there.
The guy arrogantly proclaimed “Hah! What will these fools know. All of these are dumb looking people, I am pretty sure there is an Internet café here. Don’t be negative, be positive!!” But his positivity was not working and was extremely irritating. So finally I told him, “Look I have had enough of your positive nonsense, I am going home!” and I hired another Rickshaw and came back. That day I realized that too much of positive thinking is a bad idea.
Because I was a little irritated, and hungry I decided to get some snacks from a few old shops behind the house and maybe look for an Internet cafe the next day. So I went there and decided to and guess what, right next to those shops, there was an Internet Cafe!
So this guy who was telling me to be positive, the one who lived around the area for a long time, made me roam all around Allahabad for no reason, ignored the people who said they didn’t know of any Internet Cafe in the areas we went to, and wasted several hours had no idea what we were looking for was right in our backyard. Right in the beginning we could have found it, but the guy made an assumption, “Oh this is an old neighbourhood, there cannot be an Internet Cafe here.”
So what does it teach us about life, sometimes the solution were looking for is right next to us and it is far more simple than we thought. But we make it more complex than it really is. We are so so focused on looking in one direction, that the right solution or opportunity might be right next to you. Sometimes it is okay to give up on the wrong path. Persistence is important, but persistence cannot be stupid. Persistence needs to be informed, you need to have the right knowledge and you need to look around you and keep your eye open for the simplest solutions.
If you have a goal and you encounter obstacles or walls, You don’t need to break every wall that comes your way!! Sometimes you can just walk around the wall. Some people wanting to keep banging their head against the wall, not knowing there is a way around it. Or maybe there is a door in the wall or maybe there is a way to climb. Be persistent, but be informed. Keep pushing on towards your goal but adapt if things aren’t working and look for the simplest solution (By simple I don’t mean unethical or illegal). You can tackle complex problems but remember, not every complex problem requires a complex solution.
A great example in nature of finding simple solutions but being persistent is that of a River flowing through the land.
Now imagine a River. It does not matter how slowly it move. It will always find a way. And it does so by changing according to the situation. What happens when it encounters an obstacle? It adapts. It changes direction. If there is a small hole in the obstacle the water will flow through that hole. If there is a wall, the water will keep rising up until it starts overflowing. Now its not afraid of hard work. If it has absolutely no option at all, it will even cut through stone over a process lasting millions of years. So it can work super hard when it needs to but it knows when to spend its energy and where to spend its energy.
But adapting does not mean conforming. What is the difference between stagnant water and river water? The River adapts temporarily and keeps pushing on. Stagnant water conforms completely and gives up.. River water adapts to the situation only to finds it way. Stagnant water accepts the situation as its final fate. That is why River Water fuels civilizations and stagnant water just stinks.
Don’t become stagnant, be like a river that always keep pushing on and finds a way, no matter what.
1) Persistence without knowledge (whether learned through your own experience or others’) is idiocy.
2) Complex problems don’t always need complex solutions. The solution maybe right next to you, you are just not looking for it.
3) You do not need to break every brick wall you face. Maybe you can climb it, maybe there is a door, maybe you can walk around it!
4) Be like a River. A river always find its way looking for the simplest solution possible. It will find a way through a hole or climb over the obstacle. It won’t just go cut through rock for no reason! But if there is no option around, it will do that as well over thousands of years. Practise persistence like a river and keep flowing. If you become stagnant you begin to stink.
About the Author
The writer of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/anubhav981
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