Persistent. What do you think of when you hear that word? Several things come to my mind, some good and some that can be aggravating. Our dog, Woody, is very persistent. He’s fed everyday at 5:00 pm and you can set your watch by him appearing by his food bowl. If I don’t feed him at 5:00 on the dot he comes looking for me. Sometimes he sits and stares at me. Loosing a staring match to a dog can be rather humbling. LOL Should the staring not work, Woody goes to plan B. Plan B involves him laying his chin on your knee if you are sitting where he can. If that’s not possible, Woody will nudge your arm, leg, whatever he can reach with his nose. Should Mom or Dad be able to ignore both plan A and plan B, he barks persistently. Barking is something I can’t ignore so I will stop what I’m doing to go feed him. It’s not like Woody is going to die from starvation if his food is a little late arriving. He’s a 95 pound basset/lab mix. There’s enough body fat on our sweet puppy for him to survive an extra 15 minutes without food. Woody is well behaved and persistent. His behavior regarding dinner time fits in with Og Mandino’s Scroll Three - I will persist until I succeed. Woody has this principle mastered.
Mandino listed 9 keys to mastering this principle. We’ll look at each one separately.
Key 1. Be brave – I am not an outgoing person by nature. People who know me well will argue the point. Once I'm comfortable with you I’m eager to add my part to the conversation or activity. If I have just met you or have not reached the necessary comfort level with you, I’m not going to be saying or doing much. Woody doesn’t care what is going on when it’s dinner time. He bravely goes forth to capture what is his! “In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” -John 16:33 New Century Version
Key 2. Be self-motivated – Self motivation is difficult for some of us. Not being self motivated can lead to trouble if you are self-employed, have limited supervision at work or have important personal business that needs to taken care of. For the self employed, no or very little work leaves you no income. You must produce your product before it can be sold. If you are employed in a position where you have limited supervision, it’s easy to get distracted resulting in missed deadlines, poor performance and possible job loss. Not taking care of your personal business can leave bills unpaid; cause you to owe unnecessary late fees and other negative outcomes. Self motivation is necessary for us to accomplish our required tasks. Woody is self motivated to be sure he eats on time so he is persistent. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)
Key 3. Take another step – Don’t be afraid to keep stepping out with persistence. Like Woody trying to get our attention to feed him, we cannot give up until we reach our goal. Bravely take the first step and the additional ones necessary for success until you are running toward your goal. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Key 4. Do the little things consistently – Little things can often be the direct cause of huge problems. These little things can range from household tasks to customer service in your business. Because it’s a small amount in the midst of the 3 cups of flour, it’s easy to forget the two teaspoons of yeast when baking bread. Forgetting to add the yeast turns the loaf of bread into a door stop. Some of the items on our daily to-do list are little things but they have to be done on a daily basis to keep our household or business running smoothly. Loading the dishwasher after a meal, wiping down the counters and stove top and sweeping the kitchen floor are all “little things”. They are also tasks that if left undone for several days create a big problem when it comes to providing your family a nutritious meal and a comfortable home. If you’ve not loaded and run the dishwasher and the sink and counter are overflowing with dirty dishes it can cause problems. Not only is it difficult to find a place to prepare a meal, you may not have clean dishes and tools that you need. The floor covered with crumbs and dirt is not only unsightly but can invite pests into your home creating a big problem. I occasionally sell items on Etsy and when I do, I try to make the package inviting to my customer. I wrapped a pattern in tissue paper and tied it with curly ribbon finishing it off with a bow. It was a little thing but the customer was so excited about it that she made mention of it in her feedback. It’s the little things like wrapping the package or following up by calling or sending a card to those who have previously done business with you that goes a long way to building a dedicated customer following. Doing the little things consistently instills them as a daily habit in your mind and pays off big in the end.
Key 5. Eliminate negative self-talk – I have a tendency to talk very negatively to myself about me. I’m my own worse enemy sometime. Because of my health problems, I sometimes feel that I’m a burden to my husband and children. I see myself as someone who can no longer pull my weight around the house in things like housework and yard work. Even though I have income to contribute to the family expenses, I see myself as not doing enough. Because of my pain and fatigue, I can’t consistently create items to sell to supplement our income. It can be months at a time between my being able to create. Instead of negative self-talk, I should be using positive self-talk. It’s important to your mental and physical health to think positively about yourself and your abilities. Negative self-talk can cause depression problems that in turn cause you to be stressed, sad, uncertain, and unable to perform the tasks at hand. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
Key 6. Reframe Refusal - You’ve done everything right, bravely setting out to accomplish your goal. You are on top of your game, motivated and confident. Presenting your product or proposal to the boss or potential client went off without a glitch in your mind. Grinning ear to ear, you leave the meeting sure that they will choose you for the project. Even when you don’t hear from them in the time you expected, you are still excited and ready to get started. Finally you hear from them. Unfortunately, they have decided not to use you for the job. Don’t go back to the world of negative self-talk. Instead take time to reevaluate your product, proposal and presentation. Possibly your product was not a good fit for the company’s needs. People all take information in differently so perhaps your audience would have done better with handouts for your oral presentation. Instead of giving up, reframe your ideas, be brave and keep moving forward.
Key 7. Overcome Obstacles – In a way, this key goes hand in hand with the one before it. Don’t let running into an obstacle stop you in your tracks. Obstacles don’t end your plans; they merely put a detour in them. Use the challenge of this interruption of your plans to look for a better method of doing things. Look at all the options at hand, choose the best one and keep moving forward.
Key 8. End each day with success – So how do we end each day with success when we haven’t made a big sale, gotten a new contract or won the lottery? Success comes in many shapes and sizes. Your success may be claimed through another person. Here’s an example – your child has been having a really hard time with his math lessons. Every night you have worked on sample problems together to help him understand the concept. He has bravely taken a new step forward every night and his understanding is increasing. Today he had a big test. Instead of coming home with a sad face and a low grade, today he came running in with a huge smile and an A on the test! You can both end the day with success. Your son has overcome the obstacles in his way of learning the math concepts and had a successful day by getting a good math grade. You have the pleasure of knowing that you had successfully guided him over the obstacle that had stood in his way. Remember Key 4, Do the little things consistently? If you’ve consistently done the little things today, you’ve ended your day with success. You may have to stop and think over but I’m sure you’ll find success in your day.
Key 9. Sustain momentum – Now that you have your keys to keeping on the road to success, keep going! Your momentum will keep you rolling on the way to your goals if you keep your feet off the breaks. Following these nine keys consistently, you will allow you to develop new habits that help eliminate procrastination and create attitudes of perseverance and action. You can do it!! Persist to Success!
Note: The Scrolls and Keys are from Og Mindino’s website. The comments are not based on his writings but are my thoughts on the subject.