It’s a classic, but it’s true: some essential skills in life are learned outside of the classroom. Everyone know his or her local example of a straight A student who fails in real life. It is interesting to look into the reasons why that happens. In my opinion, an individual should put conscious effort into developing the 3 characteristics mentioned below.
And, based on certain characteristics, could anyone make a ‘failure prediction’, or a ‘success in life prediction’ to put it more positively? From my own experience, I can tell you that over the last 15 years of my life, so roughly from age 15 until 30, I have learned how to become aware of my shortcomings and actively work on them. That is hard work taking lots of energy to avoid falling in the same behavioural patterns that cause sub-optimal performance.
There must be tons of factors determining success in life. No doubt that intelligence, communication skills and emotional intelligence will be among them. Today I’d like to contemplate the big three that actually can be improved by yourself:
Perseverance is the ability to pursue ones goals as long as needed. At least, that is my definition of a capability which is often referred to as ‘endurance’, ‘persistence’, ‘determination’, or simply ‘hard work without getting discouraged’.
It is an important skill which has to be acquired soon in life. Already during study you’ll need it, and you will have seen many talented people fail as a result of them simply giving up. Set yourself a goal, albeit small and short term, and pursue it regardless of prior disappointment. If you have learned that, the payback will come soon enough.
In adult life, perseverance is not needed in the form of endless hours on a mathematics course or sunday nights in a laboratory. In business, you will need it much more in the form of resilience and a bounce-back capability you will have built up before. Some serious psychological damage can be done if a project you worked on gets shot down, or when an extracurricular effort is not appreciated by your boss.
Perseverance means persistence, but don’t confuse it with stubbornness. It does not mean you cut off all connections with your team and denying all feedback you are given. Plan your efforts well and watch out for sunk costs. With that I mean that sometimes, although you have put quite some effort in a certain project, you need to do some open and honest thinking whether to continue. Having put in a lot of effort in a certain project does not always make that project more valuable. Know when to stop if it’s a lost cause.
…More to come later