When I had a podcast interview with one of my favorite and long time food bloggers I asked him how he will define perseverance, so he told me very easily –
He made me think about perseverance and stubbornness as a coin. On one side of the coin you will find perseverance and on the other side you will find stubbornness. It really depends on which side it will fall after throwing the coin in the air.
And that made me think about perseverance from this angle, the corner of stubbornness.
Why do we call some people persevering and some people stubborn? Why do we call a great genius a stubborn person and an awesome athlete a persevere person?
One of my favorite movies is the Rocky series. If you are like me and you love to theorize about one common topic, you will find that in this series, we see a stubborn guy who went from an amateur to a professional boxer.
But sometimes perseverance and stubbornness go hand and hand. The only difference is who is talking about the topic and from what angle they see the context.
Going back to Rocky I felt like we as human beings have so much to learn from this old movie that is a classic now and to be honest with you, I can’t wait to binge watch it one weekend.
But why did I tell you about Rocky, the Italian Stallion, and what we really learn about perseverance from this movie?
Because I see so much perseverance in his eyes. Especially because Silvester Stallone made that movie and before he was a well known actor, he was broke, with only $106 in his bank account, he had no car and he sold his dog to pay the bills.
Stallone said “You know what? You’ve got this poverty thing down. You really don’t need much to live on.’ I sort of figured it out. I was in no way used to the good life. So I knew in the back of my mind that if I sell this script. and it does very very well, I’m going to jump off a building if I’m not in it. There’s no doubt in my mind. I’m going to be very, very upset. Laughs. So this is one of those things, when you just roll the dice and fly by the proverbial seat of your pants and you just say, ‘I’ve got to try it. I’ve just got to do it. I may be totally wrong, and I’m going to take a lot of people down with me, but I just believe in it.” so he made the movie with only $1 million (back in 1970 that was a very low budget). Long-story-short – the Rocky movie received 9 Oscar nominations and got 3 wins, including Best pictures and grossed over $200 million.
Perseverance? Stubbornness? It really doesn’t matter.
But what did we see in that movie? We see a lot of hard work, we see something that not many of us are having right now – a big shot that you can’t lose.
How to develop a persevering life?
I don’t have a special answer for you and the truth is that I didn’t find anything about this topic. James Clear just wrote an article about Grit – which is a strong predictor of success and it’s defined as the perseverance and passion to achieve long-term goals.
You don’t have to be a high level international personality so people can call you a persevere person.
Carol Dweck said that all you need is a growth mindset – and she even wrote a book about this topic called “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”.
I can learn so much about perseverance from Rocky, the movie. So much on how to develop it day by day in my personal and professional life.
Here are my 4 lessons from the Rocky movie about perseverance:
1. Clear motivation & mental toughness
Rocky’s first motivation was very clear.
He got a rare chance to fight a heavyweight champion so if he accepted this challenge he needed to go down that road and give the best of him. His motivation: accept the challenge and make the best out of it.
But just a clear motivation is not enough. You also need mental toughness. You need to develop this skill so you can be consistent with your day-to-day routine, improve your habits, put those bricks one by one, and build that empire of your own.
As James Clear said “Mental toughness is an abstract quality, but in the real world it’s tied to concrete actions. You can’t magically think your way to becoming mentally tough, you prove it to yourself by doing something in real life. “
This will help you stay motivated in a consistent way and deliver the things you want to do. You know why?
It’s not about if you feel it or not, it’s about that regular schedule you started a few days ago and now you don’t feel it anymore to continue.
That’s the difference between being motivated on what you do and have a mental toughness behavior.
I bet that Stallone wasn’t motivated because he felt it every day but because he built a routine of working and making it possible because he believed in that project.
2. Build on small wins
There are big wins and small wins in our life. We need both of them. The big wins for what we are continually working day by day and there are small wins that make our day better.
Think about this. You want to build an e-commerce brand. The kind of brand that people can’t wait to buy from because your products are cool and are the solution for their problem. Your purpose is to get to do an exit with your business and one of the biggest e-commerce players to buy the entire business. So you start working on your small e-commerce brand. Today you are working on the brand identity, brand name. The next week you’ll work on your website. Every day you write the description for the products to make them more appealing and to be easy to find by Google. Then you launch the website and you start building that e-commerce brand day by day, by publishing new content, by connecting with your customers. Days pass, weeks pass, months pass, and even years pass. Now you have a 50 employee business where everybody works to your e-commerce brand and one day someone from the big e-commerce players calls you and invites you to talk about an acquisition.
I know it sounds easy to do, but I made up this example just to show you how you can build on small wins and get to the big win.
Just like Rocky’s practice. He practiced day by day, night by night and made all these daily small wins just to go one day in that ring and have that fight.
You need small wins in your life.
You need small things you have to do day by day because you are building something bigger.
The small wins will get you to the big win. And sometimes the big win is just the top of the iceberg.
I love so much how Gary Vaynerchuk always says about micro speed but macro patience.
Micro speed – work day by day, be perseverant with your work and build on small wins
Macro patience – be patient that one day your project will get more and more leads and looking behind you will see that you build an empire.
Use perseverance to build that dream you want to build.