Perseverance: Examining How Our Greatest Attribute Can Also be Our Greatest Drawback!
"Tell me one thing you like about yourself, the first thing that pops into your mind, in this moment!"
Mrs. Denmarkguy and I were sitting on the back porch having our afternoon coffee, and she asked me that because it has just come up as part of an exercise she'd done in a professional development class she's taking at the moment. She may well be "a counselor," but she's required to take a certain number of "continuing education" courses on a regular basis to maintain several of her certifications.
That's part of the gig when you're a "high level operative;" meaning that she counsels counselors, and even those who train counselors.
But I am digressing.
Whereas I am not particularly talented or gifted at anything, and certainly not all that ambitious, nor particularly driven and aggressive, the only attribute I have always been able to rely on is my perseverance and tenacity.
I'll be the one who's still energetically pursuing something — or a solution to something — long after everyone else has either gone to sleep, given up or gone home. You could look at it as "succeeding by being the last person standing."
Some might argue that it's a "noble" trait, and I'll admit that I have
occasionally often been admired for my loyalty.
Back in My "Work" Days
I was often the one who was handed the particularly challenging or marginal projects to fix and make a go of. That rationale tended to be that if anyone could make something work, it would be me.
And I often did... through sheer tenacity and determination.
Whereas I would definitely say that it is one of my strong positive attributes, and I even have a certain pride in it... like most things, there is also a "dark" side, lurking.
A long-time friend once made the observation "You have a truly remarkable ability to 'grow' in substandard soil, but do you really want to live your life under such conditions?"
That was almost 30 years ago (and she was referring to my first marriage) and the remark has stayed with me, every since.
It's Not Always a GOOD Thing!
It was one of my managers back when I worked in the IT industry who pointed out to me that whereas it was great that I could "get a square wheel to run smoothly," it wasn't necessarily the optimal outcome.
He was right, of course. Some projects or ideas simply have no business existing and all the energy I might put into making a "marginal" project become a marginal success might have been far better spent turning to something that could have become a rip-roaring success.
His point was that (for example) leading one project/business to moderate success over a period of — let's say — five years isn't that much compared to using the same energy to create three very successful projects/businesses over the same time period.
The Other "Dark" Aspect...
Loyalty may be an admirable thing, but "being loyal to a fault" is of dubious merit.
Meaning, extreme perseverance and determination may actually get in our way of staying clear headed enough to recognize life's losers, when we come face-to-face with them.
And so, we keep going with something that should have been allowed to die or fizzle out. It's something we might do with businesses we start, friendships, investments, even marriages. We find ourselves in situations where we aren't exactly failing, so we keep going... but, truthfully, we aren't exactly succeeding, either.
And there's an "opportunity cost" there... it's the price of being stuck in "pretty decent" when we could be somewhere, nurturing "nearly perfect!"
The "values" of the greater world often present us with conflicting perspectives.
We are taught that we should strive for success, and to reach for the highest possible potential... while at the same time being loyal and not being "quitters."
So then we have to figure out the reality of quitting in order to reach that highest possible potential.
For some, that's not an easy task!
When I look back across my life, there are more than a few occasions on which my perseverance was really more of a hindrance than a help," including both a couple of businesses, as a well as a couple of relationships.
Ultimately, we have to look for balance... and sometimes that even means relaxing our grip on some of our personality traits we may actually admire and like in ourselves!
Thanks for reading, and have a great remainder of your week!
How about YOU? Have any personal positive traits and attributes that are also your downfall? Can loyalty and perseverance get in the way of our moving forward, when the time comes? Have you ever hung on to an investment, a business, a relationship for too long? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!
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Created at 20220330 22:26 PDT