Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! We used to say while growing up that practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, nobody told us that if you consistently practice wrongly, you will remain at the same level with those who did not make any attempt.
Persistence is a powerful virtue, but don’t persist wrongly. If your business is collapsing and you vow never to give up, you did well, but your vow will not change anything unless you sit down to ascertain why the business is not flourishing and apply different strategies.
I’m sure you have seen people who say they work very hard, yet they are not seeing any result? The reason is that they are working hard wrongly. If you’re traveling from Lagos to Yola (Adamawa State), and you chose to ply Lagos-Ore-Benin-Onitsha-Owerri express way, no matter how hard you drive, you will never arrive at your destination. Although you’re working very hard, but your hard work is not directed towards the right path. So you can persist wrongly.
We must learn how to persist until we win, but if we persist wrongly, we will never make any progress. We can try and try, and try and try and try again, and still fail, unless we combine persistence with experimentation. You can work very hard and still remain a failure unless you study how that hard work can generate uncommon results for you.
Thomas Edison is credited with being one of America’s most persistent scientist. It’s reported that he conducted thousands of experiments before he invented the electric lightbulb. But note: Edison conducted experiments. He persisted in his goal to develop a lightbulb. But he made that persistence pay off by blending it with experimentation.
Persistence in one way is not a guarantee of victory. But persistence blended with experimentation does guarantee success. Many ambitious people go through life with admirable persistence and show of ambition, but they fail to succeed because they don’t experiment with new approaches.
Stay with your goal. Don’t waver an inch from it. But don’t beat your head against a wall. If you aren’t getting results, try a new approach. If you discover that your strategy is not working you must stop and improvise. Don’t just persist for the sake of it, sit down and restrategize!
I know many business owners who stroll to their offices or shops daily to chat. Why? Because their businesses are no longer thriving, and they are not thinking of how to either close down and start another line of business, or find out why that particular kind of business is no longer thriving.
Anytime I meet them, they usually say that they are working very hard, and have done everything humanly possible to change their fortune, yet nothing is happening. What actually is that ‘everything humanly possible?’ Going from one prophet to another, and organizing breaking of curses and covenants.
Prayer is good, prophecy is wonderful, breaking of curses and covenant is fantastic, but creative analyses will save you from drinking more anointing oil. Don’t just work hard, experiment. Don’t just persist, improvise. If the road is closed or you meet a brick wall, don’t hit your head on it. Look for another way! People who have bulldog persistence, who can grab something and not let go, have an essential success quality if they can learn how to experiment.
When people persist and it seems as if nothing is working, they often blame luck for their setbacks. They say, “Well, that’s the way the ball bounces,” and let it go at that. But stop and think. Balls don’t bounce in certain ways for uncertain reasons. The bounce of a ball is determined by three things: the ball, the way it is thrown, and the surface it strikes. Definitely physical laws explain the bounce of a ball, not luck.
Suppose the Civil Aviation Authority were to issue a report saying, “We’re sorry the crash occurred, but folks, that’s just the way the ball bounces.” You’d say it’s time to get a new CAA chief. Or suppose a doctor explained to a relative, “I’m awfully sorry. I don’t know what happened. It’s just one of those things.” That will be the last day you will go to that doctor.
The that’s-the-way-the-ball-bounces approach teaches us nothing. We’re no better prepared to avoid a duplication of the mistake the next time we face a similar situation. The football coach who takes Saturday’s loss with “Well, boys, that’s the way the ball bounces” isn’t helping his team avoid the same mistake the next Saturday. His team will go into the next match and work very hard to win without knowing that they are playing with a wrong strategy.
Instead of blaming luck, research those setbacks. If you lose, learn. Lots of folks go through life explaining their mediocrity with “hard luck,” “tough luck,” “sour luck,” “bad luck.” These people are still like children, immature, searching for sympathy. Without realizing it, they fail to see opportunities to grow bigger, stronger, more self-reliant.
It is said that oil companies study the rock formations carefully before they drill a well. Yet, despite their scientific analyses, seven out eight wells drilled turn out to be dry holes. Oil companies are persistent in their search for oil, not by digging one hole to ridiculous depths but rather by experimenting with a new well when good judgements says the first well won’t produce.
Learn to strategize. It is only robots that functions according to the way it is programmed. Don’t behave like a robot. If plan A is not working, kindly switch over to plan B. If the business is no longer flourishing don’t sit there and wait for magic to happen. I believe in miracle, but I also believe that when the horse is dead, kindly bury it and move on!
My advise today is, never, never, never give up. No matter how challenging the task is, don’t give up. Don’t quit because quitters never win. But in doing that, don’t persist for the sake of it. Always sit down to creatively analyze what you’re doing to know whether you’re on the right path.
President Eisenhower once was asked at a news conference why he took as many weekend vacations. His answer is a good advice for everybody who wants to maximize his creative ability. Mr. Eisenhower said, “I do not believe that any individual, whether he is running General Motors or the United States of America, can do the best job just by sitting at a desk and putting his face in a bunch of papers.
Actually, the president ought to be trying to keep his mind free of inconsequential details and doing his own thinking on the basic principles and factors so that he can make clear and better judgements.” So endeavor to engage in creative thinking so that you can lay hold of your own basic principles and factors that would turn your persistence into unprecedented success. See you at the top!
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