Perseverance — A Key Factor to Success in Entrepreneurship and How to Improve It

TLDR;

Perseverance is one of the most important factors to succeeding as an entrepreneur because it is present in all aspects of our life.

You can develop perseverance by clearly defining goals, maintaining optimism, having a growth mindset, and believing in yourself.

Additionally, for a deeper knowledge of perseverance and mindsets for success, explore these insightful books:

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

The famous ancient Chinese philosopher Confucious once said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Many of our world’s greatest accomplishments indeed started with something small, and it is through long-term perseverance that these small things resulted in something significant. For example, NASA did not just send someone to the moon out of the blue, astronomers centuries ago had to first figure out that the Earth orbits around the sun, and then engineers had to develop planes capable of flying before finally getting to rockets. Along the way, there were no doubt many failures and setbacks for the generations of scientists, but perseverance allowed us to finally send a human onto the moon.

Perseverance is a key asset to almost anything we do in life. From something as simple as learning to ride a bike to succeeding at school through hard work and eventually doing well in a professional field, our lives are characterized by challenges that require time and dedication. These challenges help us develop the perseverance we need to be successful in our endeavors. Think of the common traits of people around you that you view as the most successful. Perseverance might not be the number one trait, but it is definitely high up the list.

From professional athletes to writers, one has to have a higher level of perseverance to be accomplished at what they do. One famous example of someone who had persevered is J.K. Rowling, author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series. Before she became famous, she was a single mother living on government aid, and when she eventually wrote the Harry Potter series, she was first rejected by twelve publishers before getting her work accepted. Any of these difficulties were no doubt tough to deal with and could have easily made her give up, but she stuck through them, and that was how she became the author we know today. Had she not persevered, she would never have reached the level of accomplishment she has now.

Similarly, in the tough world of entrepreneurship, perseverance is perhaps one of the most necessary traits. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs at any stage of the entrepreneurial journey to encounter setbacks that could potentially ruin the business, and along with the speed at which an entrepreneur works, it is easy to feel burnt out. Successful companies, however, are not built by someone who easily gives up. They are built through grit and hardwork.

Below are some things you can do to develop your perseverance.

1. Create defined goals

The first step toward improving perseverance is clearly defining your goals. A goal does not have to be what it means in the conventional sense. Instead, it only needs to be a source of motivation. If you do not create a goal, then it is hard to determine what to work for, and without a clear sense of direction, you will not push yourself as much. Compared to a goal that is not clearly defined, a goal that is will enable you to better focus, which is a key part of success. Thus, whenever working on something, make sure to clearly define what you would like to accomplish first.

If your current goals are not defined, one way to clearly define them is by using the popular SMART goals framework, where S stands for specific, M stands for measurable, A for achievable, R for relevant, and T for timely. By defining your goals this way, you will have a viable target to work toward that will help you persist in your endeavor.

2. Maintain optimism

If you are not optimistic about what you are doing, chances are you will not put in your best effort and accomplish the task to the best of your abilities. The reason for this is when you are not optimistic, you have already given up on yourself mentally. When your mind has already given up, it will not take long before you physically do so. Therefore, you should aim to hold a positive outlook in your pursuits. Being optimistic, however, does not mean blindly believing in yourself. It is important to recognize the situations where you are doing something wrong and adapt your approach accordingly. In other words, you do not want your optimism to shroud your judgement. Instead, you should aim to develop a proper mindset by focusing on what you have instead of what you do not have.

3. Growth mindset

Do not be afraid to fail. As the saying goes, failure is the mother of success. Everyone inevitably fails at some point in their life. What differentiates individuals is how they treat their failures. Having a growth mindset means not only to accept failure, but also to learn from mistakes so you do not make the same mistakes twice. When you begin to develop a growth mindset, it is important to continue to monitor your own thoughts and spot occasions when your fixed-mindset is making judgements and correct them. Over time, the benefits of having a growth mindset will emerge.

INDENT QUOTE: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.” — J.K. Rowling

4. Believe in yourself

Lastly, it is important to just believe in yourself. No matter who tries to tell you you cannot do something, you just have to believe that you can. Though this point may seem hackneyed, it is important because it can go a long way in helping you succeed.

Additionally, there are many books available on this subject for readers interested in diving further. Two of the most popular ones are recommended below.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

This New York Times bestseller written by Angela Duckworth, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, is a full-fledged guide to grit, including ample scientific studies as well as real-life examples to illustrate the importance of it. This book is definitely worth reading for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the science behind perseverance.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

This book details the idea of a growth mindset. Written by Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, the book elaborates on the differences between a growth mindset and a fixed one and supports these ideas with scientific studies.

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