How You Too Can Improve Your Perseverance Skills with these 10 Tips

Perseverance, Persistence, Tenacity

Challenges in the Development of Perseverance, Persistence, and Tenacity

Let’s begin with a couple of brainteasers. Take a guess,

  1. Who is Harvard’s most successful drop-out?
  2. Who was the NBA basketball player entrusted to take the game winning shot but failed not once, not twice, but twenty-six times?

Before showing you the answers, let’s think back to the last few occasions when you embark on a considerably significant course of action. For instance, planning a vacation, or the purchase of a big-ticket item, or a business proposal, a job or career change.

Challenges ahead.Somewhere during the planning process, did you start to anticipate all the potential obstacles you may encounter? Did you foresee the mounting hurdles and obstacles, some of which are almost insurmountable?

Maybe your modus operandi is to begin your planning process by actively looking for problem areas—opportunity costs, substantial risks, lost luggage, just to name a few. As you do so, your blood pressure regularly escalates; your stress level increases; your legs turn to rubber; you hyperventilate. “Perhaps,” you think to yourself “it’s better to just forget about the whole idea.”

The Perseverance vs. Cut-Your-Losses Conundrum

When things aren’t going according to plan (assuming you have one) or if you suffered an unfortunate series of “agonizing” setbacks. Or when you’re confronted with what seems to be a never-ending stream of overwhelming challenges. Do you persuade and convince yourself that it’s just not worth your time and effort? That bowing out seems to be an attractive choice?

Uncertainty, Confusion, and Doubts.When you’re faced with a seemingly insoluble predicament; when quitting is an attractive option; when others sneer at or criticize your idea, saying that it’s destined to fail; When your loved one request (or even plead) that you stop chasing after, what appears to them to be, an unattainable dream or passion. What do you do?

Do you listen to their advice and give up?
Do you worry that you may have bitten off more than you can chew and proceed to cut your losses?
Do you throw in the towel, get in line, and do what normal people do?

Or do you forge ahead; persist and persevere regardless?

There’s absolutely no doubt that some advice are appropriate and beneficial. Wise is one who heeds them. But truth be told, countless dreams have been abandoned, aspirations crushed, and earnest pursuits extinguished by the cold merciless pounding of mockery disguised as well-intentioned advice.

Although, we should be grateful and appreciative to those who offer us their kind counsel with the best of intentions. Nevertheless, let us not forget that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

More importantly, it will serve us well to be mindful of the fact that “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” On Courage to Pursue Your Dreams by Steve Jobs.

Tips for Developing and Strengthening Your Perseverance, Persistence, and Tenacity

Don’t let the disparaging
remarks of a myopic individual
influence your life.

Even though our modern, fast-paced life is demanding and stressful. Despite the fact that challenges and disappointments are unavoidable. Keep the following ideas in mind. They can help you to persevere in the face of difficulties. In no specific order of importance, they are:

1. Be realistic in your plans.

If you have only one plan and it is devised such that every constituent works hand in glove—unless yours is the simplest of endeavors—be prepared to be grossly disappointed.

“If anything can go wrong, it will.”

~Murphy’s law

Be realistic when planning your ventures. Incorporate buffers—wiggle room if you will—into your plan for the occasional hiccups. You’re going to need them.

2. Develop contingency plan.

“Be prepared” said the Boy Scout Motto.

Draw up a contingency plan for the foreseeable, unavoidable challenges. The operative words being “foreseeable” and “unavoidable”.

The more complex the venture, the more contingency plans you need.

3. Be prepared to be challenged.

Optimist who carries a raincoat.Sometimes, even something as mundane as getting out of bed can be challenging.

So, always keep in mind that in almost all worthwhile ventures, you will be challenged. Accept, from the get-go, that things will not always go smoothly as planned.

Granted, being mentally prepared to take on challenges by no means ameliorate the issues per se. However, you will be pleasantly surprised to realize that you will feel less stressful and are able to think more clearly. You come to learn that there’s a new-found tenacity within which you can tap into to rectify what is amiss.

4. Beware of that critical inner voice.

Silent your Inner critic.You can indeed be your worse critic.

Now that you know you have a mean inner critic living inside your mind, issue it an eviction order immediately! There are more than enough external challenges and risks in our daily lives to contend with. We can ill-afford to allow a berating, self-reproaching inner critic to sow seeds of self-doubts and insecurity.

Be mindful of the times it rear its ugly head. Learn to identify its unsubstantiatable, at times paranoia whispers and ignore them.

With enough practice, you will develop confidence, self-belief, and perseverance over time.

5. Learn Stress Management skills.

Rising cost of living and medical fee; competition from the global market; constant pressure to do more with less. As far as hindrances to perseverance are concerned, these are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Whether it’s engaging in worldly affairs or personal concerns or both, stress is an undeniable, ever-present experience. Consequently, learning to cope with stress is necessary and imperative skill.

RelaxationResearch clearly shows that test subjects’ perseverance (or will-power) were compromised when exposed to chronic stress, sleep deprivation, and poor diet (most of us living in Singapore would invariably experience this triple whammy—chronic stress, sleep deprivation, and poor diet.) Learning and practicing stress managements skills enables you to rejuvenate your mind and body, and recharges your perseverance battery, allowing you to attain a healthy inner equilibrium.

The efficacy of stress management skills in bringing about tranquility and wellness has been well-established. Not only does it strengthen your will-power using only minutes a day, it can even promotes health and longevity on the long run. Who says you can’t eat your cake and have it too.

To learn more about Stress Management program, click here.

6. Having a support group pays dividends.

Helping hand. Support group.When done correctly, a support group can be a wellspring of inexhaustible wisdom, comfort, and strength.

Even a support group of one can be a valuable asset.

The support group has to be:

  • nonjudgmental,
  • frank,
  • firm,
  • genuinely concerned for your goals and welfare, and
  • willing to offer appropriate and constructive feedback or suggestions candidly.

Last but not least, it serves as your resolute cheerleader, urging your forward, to persist and persevere.

7. Do not expect perfection.

Perseverance does not necessarily entail the uncompromising quest for perfection in everything you do.

In developing perseverance and persistence, there will be times when the law of diminishing returns apply. Senseless pursuit of perfection is more stubbornness than tenacity.

8. Priorities and proper prioritization

Friedrich Nietzsche: He who as a why to live for can bear almost any how.Identify your priorities and ordering them accordingly.

Utilize the “Five Ws and One H” method to help you better decide how best to deploy your limited resources-time, mental and physical energy, money, and the likes.

The “Five Ws and One H” technique provides a comprehensive, multifaceted aspect to any undertaking thereby increasing your chance in a developing a robust plan while at the same time provides a layer of protection against the unpleasant surprises of the unexpected.

9. Be adaptive to changing circumstances.

Overcome obstacles.It’s prudent to allow some latitude in both the plan (see point 2 above) and when tackling challenges. In other words, be agile enough to deal with changing conditions and circumstances.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.Imagine you are climbing a mountain. There are many paths to the summit, each presents its own diverse difficulties. If you incorporate a reasonable amount of flexibility into your plan, chances are you would succeed in reaching the summit. Conversely, a plan that’s too rigid would probably invite unnecessary hardship during the ascend, perhaps even failure to reach the mountaintop.

Remember, always keep your eyes fixed on your goal while putting your plan in action, be versatile.

10. Know what’s within your control and what’s not.

This is probably one of the most important point to remember in the development of perseverance.

Bear in mind that the purpose for knowing what’s beyond our control and what isn’t is neither to dampen our spirit nor to discourage us in our pursuit.

On the contrary, it enables us to objectively bring into focus, those areas which we should concentrate our resources and energy, where our efforts are most effective in helping us achieve our goals. Furthermore, knowing what’s within our control and what isn’t reveals to us those times when we need to take a step back; allow things to play out, while conserving our energy in preparation of the next challenge.


Constant dripping hollows out a stone.Here are the summary of the tips:

  1. Be realistic in your plans.
  2. Develop contingency plan.
  3. Be prepared to be challenged.
  4. Beware of that critical inner voice.
  5. Learn Stress Management skills.
  6. Having a support group pays dividends.
  7. Do not expect perfection.
  8. Priorities and proper prioritization.
  9. Be flexible.
  10. Know what’s within your control and what’s not.

Applying these simple principles allows you to persevere in the face of challenges and augments your chances of achieving your goals.

As promised, the answers to the brainteasers:

Who is Harvard’s most successful drop-out?
Bill Gates. This is according to an article in The Harvard Crimson:

Bill Gates, Harvard’s most successful dropout, will finally receive a degree from the University when he delivers the keynote Commencement address for newly minted graduates on June 7.

The Harvard Crimson (March 22, 2007)

Who was the NBA basketball player entrusted to take the game winning shot but failed not once, not twice, but twenty-six times?
He was none other than basketball legend Michael Jordan.

An iconic personification of perseverance, persistence, and tenacity. Mr Jordan stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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