Power Habit #2: Courage & Confidence – Maintaining Your Persistence & Drive
Maintaining Your Persistence & Drive—I Will
The next component of developing the Power Habit of Courage & Confidence and building the Power Element of Valour is to maintain your persistence and drive.
There will always be obstacles on your path. There will always be mountains to climb, deserts to cross, oceans to sail, storms to navigate. These things are inevitable on your journey to success.
You will need to keep persisting, keep driving forward, because to stop is to give up and fail.
How you maintain your persistence and drive is by aligning your Intention with your Attitude.
In regard to courage and confidence, this means to align your belief in the outcome you want to achieve with the belief in your efforts to achieve that outcome.
This is best achieved through devotion to a worthy cause—believing in a cause whose outcome fills you with a sense of purpose and to which you willingly dedicate your focus, energy, and effort.
Persistence & Drive—I Will (*From The Power of YOU! How to Manifest the Life You Want by Dr. Scott Zarcinas)
There are therefore just as many worthy causes as there are people on the planet, because each worthy cause is based on your individual and unique service to other people.
You will do your best and be successful when you realise you’re not an island that’s isolated from others and need to do it all by yourself. When you realise we’re all interdependent on one another and the best way forward is to support each other whether in business and work, or in your relationships and family.
Research tells us that having a purpose or cause is beneficial not only to an individual’s personal life, but also to the organisation in which they work. When you feel a sense of great purpose in what you do, you feel a deeper commitment to helping others and helping make the world a better place to live.
This flows through to helping the organisation that you work for contribute to improving the world and the lives of others. You go to work feeling that what you do really matters.
Space X, the company founded by Elon Musk in 2002, has one of the great mission statements of any company. Their mission is inspiring and, literally, uplifting:
To revolutionise space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.
What a fantastic place to work. Imagine going to work every day knowing that you’re helping humanity to become an interplanetary species.
How exciting would it be to work in a place that is helping humanity to expand and grow and boldly go where nobody has gone before.
Mmeaning and purpose are therefore motivational drivers. Not to just cope with circumstances, but to drive toward something beneficial and attainable. In other words,
Your purpose determines your circumstances.
For instance, the value of what you do is directly related to how much you dedicate what you do to the service of others. It’s directly related to how much value you create for another, even if it’s just one person other than yourself.
Like Space X, it’s helping the entire planet. But it isn’t how many people you serve that determines your value, it is the act of using every moment to create and add value for someone other than yourself.
That’s how you build purpose and meaning. That’s how you become purposeful, full of purpose, and live a life of happiness and fulfillment. It isn’t any more complicated than that:
It is the giving of yourself to others—your service—that determines your purpose and value, your success.
Yet, most people don’t do this. They are only interested in serving themselves. Which is ultimately self-defeating.
This is why it is vital to set yourself a goal to achieve, a port to which you want to sail, a worthy cause to devote your life to.
Because without it you are no use to yourself, and if you’re no use to yourself you’re not going to be of any use to others. You won’t be able to serve others to the best of your ability, and you won’t find the success or happiness you’re looking for.
So align your goals with serving others and creating value for them. Make your goal worthy. Make it your cause to which you devote your life.
The beneficial side effects of identifying your worthy cause and making a start on it are tangible and intangible. They are both objective and subjective, physical and mental.
The tangible side effects of striving toward your worthy cause have physical components and actually have positive, measurable effects on your health.
Researchers have shown that people who set goals and work towards them have better health outcomes than those who don’t:
- They sleep better.
- They have a lower risk of heart problems.
- They have better functioning with aging.
- They even have a 20% lower risk of death.¹
In fact, those that don’t have a worthy cause to which they are striving to achieve, have worse health outcomes and increased vulnerability to substance abuse, anxiety, boredom, and even depression.
One of the intangible side effects is the resultant happiness you get from striving toward your worthy goal. So too courage and confidence.
Happiness, courage, and confidence are intangible side effects because they are purely subjective; only you can experience them. Others may notice your smiling face, or steadfast demeanor, or determined resolve, but only you feel the depths of these feelings.
There are other intangible side effects too, which include a greater sense of inner peace and fulfillment, joy, hope, enthusiasm, lightness of being, optimism, anticipation, self-respect, greater energy, balance, and harmony.
Your worthy cause gives you a greater sense of meaning and purpose.
Meaning and purpose also have a knock-on effect: they give you drive, determination, intent, perseverance, persistence.
With your worthy cause in your heart, you develop a “Never say die” attitude in your head.
Successful people never give up. Even when all else seems futile, when the whole world seems to be conspiring against them, they keep going. They keep putting one foot ahead of the other, always moving forward, never stopping. They are climbing their mountain and they won’t give up until they reach the summit, no matter the cost.
In 2015 I attended a private business conference in Sydney, Australia, and during that conference I met the 64th Australian to successfully climb to the summit of Mt Everest. He was a colleague of the organiser of the event and had been invited to speak to the audience about his experience of climbing the highest mountain on earth, a feat achieved by less than 5,500 people (*as of the beginning of 2019).
He spoke of years of preparation and training to tackle the mountain. Of unbelievable obstacles, freezing conditions and furious winds, of altitude sickness, despair and injury. He spoke of avalanches and seemingly bottomless chasms of ice into which previous climbers had fallen and were never seen again, of tying 3 or 4 ladders end to end and using this makeshift bridge to cross hands and knees to the other side. And he spoke of the final triumph over the mountain.
But it was his depiction of the final attempt to reach the summit that I remember most clearly. He talked of the peak of the mountain as taunting the climbers, of making them believe they were closer than they think. Then, just as they thought they were nearing the top, the mountain appeared to move further away. It was as paradoxical as it was soul-destroying: the nearer he got to the peak, the more it seemed to move away from him.
It was at this moment, just as he was about to reach the peak and realise his dream, that another mountain, the mountain of self-doubt, reared in front of him, seemingly as insurmountable as Everest itself. At this moment, with the freezing air chilling him to the bone, his oxygen supplies running low, all he could do was focus on his feet trudging through the ice, putting one boot ahead of the other.
“I couldn’t do anything else,” he said, “other than focus on putting one step at a time.”
He could have given up at any point along the climb. But he didn’t. He was ultimately successful in conquering Everest, and his story is a great metaphor for the mountains we all set ourselves to climb. Like a marathon, climbing Everest comes down to the simplest, yet one of the most difficult, things we learned to do as a toddler: putting one foot ahead of the other.
There are 4 takeaways from this story of ultimate success I like to bring people’s attention to:
- Set yourself a mountain to climb, your Everest—this is where you identify your worthy cause.
- Plan and prepare—you don’t just turn up at base camp and start hiking up the mountain; you need to plan how you will conquer your mighty goals.
- Put one foot ahead of the other—when the going gets tough, sometimes all you can do is focus on the next step, but this is what will get you to the top.
- Keep going—maintain and sustain your persistence, even when your goal taunts you and seems to be moving away from you the closer you get, because if you stop you’ll never get there.
As Winston Churchill said when he visited Harrow School, his alma mater, in 1941:
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
In other words, set your course and keep going no matter what.