There is a noble symbol of the SUCCESSFUL individual.
He or she will stop at nothing to achieve a desired goal.
We have been taught that persistence reaps many rewards. We have been taught that massive action can lead to tremendous success.
The ethic of hard work has been broadcast to us throughout our whole lives.
However, sometimes letting go of our goals will take us closer to them than any amount of persistence will.
Do not mistake letting go for quitting. Letting go is complete trust and faith that everything will work out in the best way possible.
The greatest warrior has persistence and detachment (letting go) down to an exact science.
In a dance, sometimes we move forward, and sometimes we move back.
In a fight, sometimes we contract, and sometimes we expand. The moron who is constantly on his or her offence will not be able to adapt to unexpected changes in the battle scene.
Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?- The Tao Te Ching
Sometimes, we must take massive amounts of action to reach a goal.
But, sometimes that exact action can push us further away from the very goal we are trying to reach.
Sometimes, we must stop trying and let things work themselves out.
But, sometimes that exact detachment can kill the very goal we are trying to achieve.
So, when do we take action? When do we let go?
Persistence will absolutely lead us to many of the goals we desire to achieve. Matter of fact, without persistence, we will get nowhere in life.
It takes much dedication to put in the amount of hard work it takes to achieve anything noteworthy. Michael Phelps had missed no more than six swimming practices in the four years he trained leading up to his 8 Olympic gold medals in 2008.
Though there are many people who are born with natural ability, persistence evens out the playing field. If a certain individual trains harder than somebody else with natural born talent who does not train at all, the former’s talent will certainly exceed the latter’s in no time.
Sometimes, the only way towards our goal is through blood, sweat, and tears. I learned from James Arthur Ray that the greatest growth occurs on the border of chaos and order.
The true warrior spirit within ourselves does not even make itself known until it is put to the test.
Details: So what is discipline?
Mike Tyson: Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but nonetheless doing it like you love it.
Details: And how do you that?
Mike Tyson: [ Smiles] With discipline.
– A Recent Details Magazine interview with Mike Tyson
Many people quit at the first sign of defeat. The thing is, we have an image inside of our minds of where we ought to be. When we take action and fail, we quit because the result we got was not in alignment with the image inside our minds.
Realize that true success TAKES MASSIVE amounts of persistence. It takes discipline, it takes attitude.
So many people quit at the first sign of defeat, that almost nobody achieves greatness in life. If you want to become the greatest fighter in the world, you must train every day at the levels a great fighter would train. You must hit the gym. You must exercise every single part of your body. For many people, persistence is the only way to success.
You gotta wake up in the morning, kiss the sunrise, and then kiss your ass goodbye in order to start your warrior regiment.
One of the greatest class of people to receive inspiration from when it comes to persistence are the Samurai.
The Samurai class ruled Japan for many years before it was wiped out by modern technology; however, the teachings of the Samurai have led to Japan becoming one of the most advanced nations in the world.
The way of the Samurai warrior is to practice one’s art diligently. The sword is the extension of the soul, and the warrior must master his soul by mastering the way of the sword.
It was through very tough practice that the Samurai were able to let their massive skill evolve.
The Samurai were also amazing at concentrating all of their forces into one motive, and that motive took over their lives.
They are an intriguing people. From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seem such discipline.- Tom Cruise, The Last Samurai
The Secret to knowing when to persist is recognizing the mindset of persistence.
The Mindset: I am taking action because I at a certain level at this area of my life, and I want to improve my score.
Persistence is most affective when there is no emotional pain involved in the process of growth. You aren’t trying to achieve this Goal in order to “fix” something in your life. It’s like playing a game of Halo. Your current score is at 10,000, and you want to increase it to 100,000. There is only improvement.
When and Where to Persist:
- School: Make sure you pass all of your classes with excellent marks. The better you study, the better you will perform in school. School is one such area where success is heavily correlated to persistence.
- Improving Relationships: If you’re horrible at attracting members of the opposite sex, you may consult material that will teach you how to improve your attraction levels. It is only through persistence that you can become amazing at increasing your social status and prowess. With the right mindset, you will be able to make it far just through persistence alone.
- Athleticism: The only way to become a world class athlete is through persistence. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team’s tryouts. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Your persistence, alone, will take you to very high levels of athletics.
- Physique: The only way to achieve a sexy body is through diet and exercise. Discipline yourself to eat less and apply more resistance to your muscles.
- Dreaming: When you have a dream, when you have a desire to do something that has never been achieved before, it requires, possibly, the MOST persistence. You have to truly believe that you can achieve it. Most of the time, your efforts will be spent in the dark, because you will have no manual to teach you what to do next. Creation is a very difficult art, and many people choose not to be creators. But, it is only through original invention that we may be best remembered. We must do what has never been done before. We must bring something to society that has never before been experienced. Prometheus brought us fire. What will you bring to us? The path of a dreamer requires more persistence than any other path, because such a path has no comparison. The only way to know you are succeeding or failing is by paying attention to your feelings. It really requires a great amount of intuition. Persist on the pursuit of a Dream.
When and where to avoid Persistence: Even though action is absolutely vital to our success, sometimes taking action leads to our demise. It is very important to realize when to replace persistence with Letting Go.
The universe consists of duality, and detachment (letting go) brings balance to persistence. Like I said earlier, sometimes we need to contract, and sometimes we need to expand. Too much of anything can be detrimental to our success.
Sometimes, our lives are like quicksand. No matter how hard we try, we’re only dooming ourselves because the speed at which we sink is directly connected to how much action we take. When drowning in quicksand, the BEST thing you can do is to stay still and patience. The slower your body moves, the greater the chance of your rescue.
Many people see detachment as a sign of weakness; however, I call it strength. The truth warrior knows when to fight, but she also knows when to withdraw.
There is a mistaken view in the world that leads us to believe that only action produces results.
This is certainly not the case when you’re drowning in quicksand, though.
And, it certainly isn’t the case in many situations in our lives.
The act of letting go is more of a spiritual discipline than anything else. Action is observable, tangible, measurable. Detachment exists on the inside, though, so many people underestimate its power. And, because they underestimate its power, they do not really know when it is proper to let go and let things take care of themselves.
Do NOT make the silly mistake of thinking that letting go and quitting are the same thing- they are absolutely not.
Let me paint you a better picture. Imagine you are dancing.
Persistence would then be: One step forward.
Letting Go would then be: One step back.
Quitting would then be: Leaving the dance floor altogether and sitting down.
There is a clear distinction between letting go and quitting.
In order to best explain the power of letting go, let’s talk about the mindset of letting go.
The Mindset: I am letting go of the situation because it is broken, and if I keep focusing on it, it will only get worse.
You let go of a goal when you feel broken inwardly. When you feel as though you have to take action in order to FIX a situation, many times it is best to not take any action at all. When you feel as though there is a black void in your life, that there is something that you need to fix, things will only get worse when you try to take action to improve the situation. When you are drowning in quicksand, any bit of action will you sink faster. Just let go.
Allow me to explain.
DON’T think of a purple elephant.
What did you just do?
You thought of a purple elephant. =)
The mind becomes magnetized by the thoughts we think about consistently and constantly. Those thoughts begin to alter our views of the universe, and they cause us to take actions in alignment with those thoughts. If there is something horrible going on in your life, and you try to fix it, you are only going to make the situation worse because your mind is focused on how everything is broken.
To best illustrate my point, I am now going to provide you with some examples.
When and Where to Let Go:
- Ex Lovers- The reason your ex lover left you is because of many things that led up to the ending of your relationship. The WORST thing you can do is constantly text, phone, and stalk that person. Persistence here will only make the situation worse. Most people never get this. Absence DOES make the heart grow fonder in such situations. If you remove yourself long enough, your ex lover will have nothing to fuel his or her anger toward you any further. After some more time, you two may be able to have a period of reconciliation where your ex lover may be your lover once again. Realize that in cases such as breakups, the worst thing you can do is persist with action. It will push your ex away even further.
- Broken Self: No amount of makeup, cars, sexual encounters, jewelry, muscles, or money will ever make your life truly better. Imagine a broken cupcake. No amount of frosting will ever fix that cupcake. Sure, the frosting may hide the fact that it is broken, and it may look perfect to the world, but the cupcake will always know that it is broken. If you are trying to achieve a goal so that you can feel better about yourself, you are doing it all for the wrong reasons. You are entering quicksand. No amount of success will ever make you truly happy until you are happy from within.
- Sickness and Disease: Now, I am not a medical doctor, so I absolutely will not tell you to stop taking medication. What I am going to talk about is the mindset of a diseased person. The mind becomes magnetized with whatever thoughts we think throughout the day. If you are constantly focused on becoming healthier, your mind will also be paying attention to how sick you are. Take your medications, and just let go of the attention you are giving your pain. Instead, focus on having as much fun as you can, and laugh.
- After taking action: Once you’ve done all that you can, sometimes it is best to just let go and watch things take their course. Excessive persistence is stressful on the mind. If we do not have periods of detachment and relaxation, we’ll drown in the currents of life. Sometimes, it is best to step aside from action and just smell the roses. The mind is so charged with determination when we persist that it makes it nearly impossible for inspiration to come in. A classic example is the story of when Archimedes tried to figure out the whether the King’s metallurgist had given him a crown made of 100% gold. After much toil, Archimedes decided to let go and take a bath. . .where he discovered the answer.
Fusion of Forces
Like I said earlier, the greatest warrior is the one who knows how to mix action and nonaction together. Sometimes, we must punch, and sometimes we must block. We must pay attention to our feelings.
We must learn to master our focus. We must constantly pay attention to the things we want, and we must not focus on what we do not want.
Our minds get magnetized by whatever we think about constantly and consistently. If you are sick, even thinking of better health will make you think more of your sickness. It’s best to just let go and do something that makes you happy. But this doesn’t mean that we must drop action altogether- we still must take our medication.
When training for a sport, persistence is absolutely crucial. But, if we do not stop and recenter ourselves and let go, we won’t be able to determine whether our actions are producing the results we want.
Now, there are some things I must point out:
– I do not believe that persistence and hatred are connected. True persistence is connected to love. When you do something out of love, you have fun along the whole way, and your persistence feels like play instead of work; therefore, I do not fully agree with Tyson’s quote up there.
– Beyond persistence and letting go, there is a whole other world that exists in the mind. If your mindset isn’t right, no amount of persistence or detachment will ever get you anywhere. The greatest people in the world have always believed that they already had achieved their goals before they even took a step towards really achieving it.
These two points are beyond the scope of the article. In future posts, you will learn more about mindset and passionate work.