Long-term habits can beat short-term success
By Mimi Greenwood Knight
When I think of persistence, I picture a successful Texas artist who also happens to be my sister, Denise Greenwood Loveless. Neesie (as I call her) was undeniably born with artistic talent. But the thing that’s helped her excel in her field has been an uncompromising persistence that kept her fueled through 30 years of late nights in the studio while maintaining a day job, trial and error to find her perfect medium, and pounding the pavement to get her work in front of the right eyes.
People look at her today and see a dynamic, successful woman with an enviable art career. But few understand the three decades of unyielding persistence it took to get her there. Her recipe for success looked something like this.
Recipe for Success
Take time to figure out what you want. Research has found that people who set clear goals, refuse to quit, and continue to bounce back from difficulties succeed in achieving those goals a whopping 90 percent of the time.
Henry Ford went bankrupt three times before designing his first automobile. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before inventing the lightbulb. It can be hard to persist against obstacles or setbacks when you’re staring them in the face. Anticipate potential problems and form a contingency plan beforehand so you’re psychologically ready when things get tough.
Take a First Step
Decide where you want to end up. Then step it back to where you are today. What’s the first thing you need to do to head toward your goal? Take that initial step, then the next, then the next.
Review, Reevaluate, and Revise
When things don’t work out, review the steps you took and processes you followed. Consider what worked, what failed, and what you could have done better. Revamp your plan accordingly.
Gather Support and Encouragement
Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. Get advice from those with more experience. Accept guidance and help. Learn from the mistakes and successes of others. You still must work hard, but it’s better to do so with support and positive reinforcement.
Visualize yourself accomplishing your goal no matter what it takes. Then keep your eyes on the prize. Focus on staying focused—nothing matters except for the thing you’re doing right now.
Enjoy Your Success
Success is sweeter and more fulfilling when you recall what it took to get there. Allow yourself time to savor the eventual victory. Then consider where you want to go next and get back to work.