In the final part of The Gap Series, I want to tackle how your will plays into the existence of the chasm between where you are and where you want to be. We’ve already discussed your heart (passion) and your mind (beliefs).
I had difficulty with the last post on the mind because the content kept bleeding into this one. In fact, I feel so strongly about the need for persistence that I was originally going to title this series “The Persistence Gap.”
Persistence is NOT Hard Work
People often get this wrong. Hard work is only a part of persistence. However, just working hard doesn’t make you persistent.
Persistence is a relentless pursuit (will) of your passion (heart), knowing (mind) that it’s going to be long, difficult work that will test the limits of your character.
Persistence requires a destination or a goal. Hard work just requires exertion. The mere existence of a goal will test your character through challenges and difficulties that require persistence to see it through.
A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action
Have you ever met people who love meeting for the sake of meeting? It makes them feel productive – even when meetings are one of the least productive activities we can engage in during our day.
People who love meetings make me nervous because they are rarely people of action. Often, they already know what needs to be done and they know what they need to do to contribute to the organization’s success. But the thought of actually doing it paralyzes them.
And this is the Persistence Gap. You can believe that something is going to be challenging work and you can know the Fantasy of Passion is just that – fantasy. But just knowing something is useless without relentless action.
Knowing is Half the Battle
If you ever watched G.I. Joe growing up, you remember they had a goofy little public service announcement at the end of each episode. They always ended each one with the phrase “And knowing is half the battle!”
Doing is the other half.
A lot of people know what needs to be done. It’s the rare few who dig down deep into their character and actually attempt to do it. That, more than anything else, is what separates those who are successful from those who are not.
The First Round Quarterback Problem
I’m a huge football fan. The NFL draft should be a national holiday as far as I’m concerned.
Nearly every year, the most speculation in the draft centers around the quarterback position. The quarterback is the glamor position. They’re generally considered the leader of the team. They get the big contracts and major endorsement deals.
The problem is there is huge risk involved in selecting a quarterback in the first round. Analysts have shown that, at best, you have 50-50 odds of selecting a quarterback with staying potential in the first round. Yet a first-round quarterback will demand a multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract.
Imagine if the highest paid person on your payroll was a first-year college graduate. Now imagine they had a 50-50 chance of working out. Backwards, isn’t it?
So why the failure rate?
Persistence and Character
Every single person who gets drafted by the NFL is talented. Talent isn’t the problem.
Every single person who gets drafted by the NFL knows how to play. Knowledge isn’t the problem.
The problem is character. Persistence is a character trait. No player entering the NFL has ever been tested at the level they’re about to be. That’s great news for those drafted in later rounds because if they have the willingness to go out there and persist while others falter, they’ll surpass players who were considered to be better than them under less trying conditions.
People Give Up Way Too Easily
This thought alone should give hope to people with persistence and character.
Closing The Gap
I want to close with this thought. People often like blog posts that are titled “3 Things To Do Today To Close The Gap.” I’ve specifically avoided doing that because I believe you already know what needs to be done. You don’t need me to tell you. Besides, your action plan will differ from another person’s.
The problem isn’t talent – you have the talent. The problem isn’t knowing – you have the knowledge. Do you have the persistence?
Persistence is a relentless pursuit of your passion, knowing that it’s going to be long, difficult work that will test the limits of your character.
Please take a moment to share your stories of persistence with me below. What challenge(s) did you face? How did it feel to persist through it?