Perseverance is probably one of the most important skills for musicians artists creative people ANYONE to have. And when I call it a skill, I mean it. It’s not a trait. There isn’t a magic switch that makes some people “more perseverant” than others. There’s simply a difference between how people rank their priorities, and how much they’re willing to do to actually make their desires a reality. A more perseverant person often is just a person that is better at figuring out what they really want, and what they’re willing to sacrifice to get there. Here’s four ways you can help develop that skill yourself.
Know your own mind. Seriously, figure out what you really want out of the future. Do you prioritize family, or your career, or your passion? If you want to be a famous musician, are you willing to sacrifice the years it will take for you to get there? Are you willing to sacrifice the stability? The free time? And so on. Every career path, every worthwhile goal, is going to have similar questions surrounding it. What are your goals worth to you? That’s the first step to figuring out whether perseverance is worth it in the first place.
Have plan A.1, A.2, A.3… The chances of any one person getting a specific job are pretty low. Don’t set your heart on, say, specifically working for the New York Times, for example. Instead, have a couple of related options that would all be pretty great. You could work for the New York TImes, or National Geographic, or for a large publishing house. This way, you can work towards all of the simultaneously, and not be disappointed in yourself for “only” becoming head editor at HarperCollins, instead of the NYT. The point is that you succeeded in the field you love, not the specific manner in which you did it.
Have a goal for tonight. Try not to let a single day go by without doing something that will get you closer to your goals. Are you a musician? Practice. A writer? Write. Looking for a job? Send out a resume. Make it a habit. Have a policy of no “zero days.” If you have one small task you can do literally every day, then you’ll know that no matter what, you got that much closer to your goals.
Be okay with failure. It’s so easy to say, so hard to do. However, the people who eventually succeed are the people who persevered through hundreds and hundreds of failures. They are the ones who learned how to tolerate rejections and “no thank you’s,” until they finally got the “yes” that mattered.
One of the easiest ways to get better with failing is by simply doing more stuff. I apply to a TON of freelance editing gigs. For every job I get, I probably get told “no” for another two or three, and then radio silence from another ten. This SUCKED when I first started, but the more applications I send out, the less I care about the “no’s.” I know that they don’t matter. The “yes’s” are the only thing that I care about. The same tactic can work for you, too.
I know you have something that you really want to achieve. With perseverance, you can do it. You got this!