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 revealing the answers, let’s recall occasions when you embarked on significant courses of action, such as planning a vacation, purchasing a big-ticket item, preparing a business proposal, or deciding on a job or a 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 seem almost daunting?

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 escalates; your stress level increases; your legs turn to rubber; and 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 agonising setbacks, or when you’re confronted with what appears to be a never-ending stream of overwhelming challenges, do you persuade and convince yourself that, whatever your pursuit might be, it is simply not worth your time and effort? Do you see bowing out as an appealing option?

Uncertainty, Confusion, and Doubts.

When you encounter a seemingly unsolvable predicament, when quitting appears attractive, when others sneer at or criticize your idea, claiming it’s doomed to fail, when your loved ones request (or even plead) for you to abandon what seems to them an unattainable dream or passion—what action do you take?

  • Do you heed their advice and throw in the towel?
  • Do you fret over biting off more than you can chew and opt to cut your losses?
  • Do you surrender, join the ranks, and settle for the ordinary? Or,
  • Do you charge ahead, persist, and persevere no matter what?

There’s absolutely no doubt that some advice is appropriate and beneficial. Wise is the one who heeds it. 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.

While it is important to remain grateful and appreciate the kind counsel offered with good intentions, we must also remember the cautionary saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

On Courage to Pursue Your Dreams by Steve Jobs.

Furthermore, it will serve us well to be mindful of the fact that “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

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 planning.

You’ve meticulously crafted a single plan where every piece fits together seamlessly, like a finely tuned instrument. Sounds promising, right? Well, not necessarily. Unless your task is as straightforward as making a sandwich, pinning all your hopes on one plan might lead to major disappointment.

“If anything can go wrong, it will.”

~Murphy’s law

So, here’s the deal: when you’re planning, be realistic. Stay open to alternative paths and be ready to adapt. Incorporate buffers—wiggle room, if you will—into your plan for the occasional hiccups. Embrace flexibility and prepare for the unexpected twists and turns that life loves to throw our way. Because in the journey towards real-world success, adaptability is your greatest asset.

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 stressed 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 worst 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 rears its ugly head. Learn to identify its unsubstantiated, 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.

The rising cost of living and medical fees; 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, stress is an undeniable, ever-present experience. Consequently, learning to cope with stress is a necessary and imperative skill.

Learn stress management and relaxation skills

Research clearly shows that test subjects’ perseverance (or willpower) was 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 practising stress management skills enable you to recharge your perseverance battery and rejuvenate your mind and body, allowing you to attain a healthy inner equilibrium.

The efficacy of stress management skills in bringing about tranquillity and wellness has been well-established. Using only minutes a day, practising relaxation and destressing strengthens your willpower; and promotes health and longevity in 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 order them accordingly.

Utilize the “Five Ws and One H” strategy—Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How—to help you better decide how best to deploy your limited resources such as time, mental and physical energy, money, and other similar assets.

The “Five Ws and One H” technique provides a thorough and multidimensional element to any endeavour, improving the likelihood that you will create a robust plan and acting as a buffer against unpleasant shocks when they arise.

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 numerous paths to the summit, each with its inherent and diverse set of difficulties. If you incorporate a reasonable amount of flexibility in your plan, chances are you would succeed in reaching the summit. Conversely, a rigid, unyielding plan would probably invite unnecessary hardship during the ascend, possibly even resulting in failure to reach the summit.

Remember, always keep your eyes fixed on your goal while implementing your plan. Be adaptable.

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

One of the most crucial factors to acknowledge when developing perseverance is a clear grasp of what is and isn’t under your control. This acknowledgement is neither intended to dampen our spirit nor discourage us from pursuing our goals.

On the contrary, it enables us to objectively identify the areas in which we should consolidate our resources and effort and where our efforts are most effective in helping us achieve our goals. Furthermore, recognising what we have control over and what is beyond our control reveals moments we need to step back and let things play out while conserving our energy in preparation for 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 adaptive.
  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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