“When does perseverance cross over into unproductive persistence?”

Perseverance is a vital ingredient of success, because ideals without purposeful execution normally do not move past fantasy phase.  But there is a thin line between fruitful determination and irrational insistence – and the difference is not always that clear.

Typically, valuable determination is marked by three qualities:

  • It is not an ego trip. When you are on a personal mission to prove something, your dedication will lack discretion.  Prideful endurance tends to morph into bull-headed foolishness – and often ends in injury.

  • It stays anchored in logic. Grit makes its best contribution within the realm of an intelligent construct; when it is a subset of a rationally defensible plan.  Your effort will find its strongest grip within the presence of good organisation, sound process, tested method and accurate measurement.
  • It is fertilised by constant feedback. Tenacity is most effective when it is regularly updated with fresh information.  Smart doggedness is flexible doggedness – not giving up on the end goal, but adjusting the sails to the wind.

If you respect these basic rules of productive perseverance, it may be easier to recognise when you are trying to push water uphill.  And once this realisation is laid bare, it is not a bad idea to reconsider your quest.

Remember, we overcome our challenges in life in one of two equally powerful ways: By wisely persevering – or through mindful surrender.  It is not a disgrace to let go of a futile pursuit. One of the highest forms of intelligence is to cut a loss in time – and rather employ your energy in an area of greater potential.