Imagine a bee at your window trying desperately to get outside, banging its head over and over again against the clear glass. The adjacent window is open, but it deftly resists your gentle attempts to guide it there. It thinks it’s persevering, but the corpse of a fellow bee on the window sill below indicates a harsher reality. If you’re asking yourself how to persevere, ask yourself, are you being like this bee?
Perseverance Versus Insanity
As the over-used saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So if like a bee at the window what you’re doing is not working but you keep on trying, that is not perseverance. That is insanity.
Change Things Up
To find the open window the bee needs to look beyond the boundaries it has incorrectly defined for itself (in this case, the window frame). Only one of the four edges of the window frame is the path to success, so it’s more likely than not it’ll choose the wrong way. But that doesn’t matter because it can always return to its original place and reassess.
Either that or the bee should counterintuitively fly backwards—away from the objective— and look at the situation from a wider lens.
Looking beyond artificially defined boundaries is how to persevere.
If the bee is lucky a human, tired of the incessant buzzing, will come along and try to guide it towards the open window. And what’s the bee’s reaction? Instead of welcoming this guidance, the bee resists it. It considers this external influence a threat. If anything, this hand hardens its resolve and it starts buzzing futilely against the window harder then ever.
Do you see any parallels with your situation? When you’re asking yourself how to persevere, could it be that you’re resisting hands that are trying to guide you in the right direction?
Certainly, the hand can just as easily swat you as guide you. So be cautious with any hands that come your way, but avoiding them by default is not how to persevere.
How to Persevere
If you’re asking yourself how to persevere, there’s a good chance you’re in a similar situation to a bee at the window. So take a minute to stop what you’re doing, reassess your boundaries, and consider whether you’ve been dodging helpful guiding hands. And persevere the right way.
Dig in FUrther
If you’re inspired to learn more about how to persevere, check out the blog post and podcast on the topic by Sean D’Souza here: www.psychotactics.com/why-persevere-fails/