The Psychology of Persistence

Why do we fail to start things, and when we do, we often quit? What is the reason for this?

Is this something written deep in our psyche? The answer is, yes. And we can overcome this fear and procrastination and achieve ANYTHING we put our minds to.

Read on…

In my recent podcast episode, I delved into the concept of persistence, and to get a good understanding of it, I rea dup what Freud has to say on the matter.

So basically, Freud believed that there are two opposing forces inside us: the pleasure principle and its counterpart, the death instinct.

Freud’s exploration of these forces sheds light on the human psyche’s intricate workings. The pleasure principle drives us towards joy and gratification. It often collides with the darker impulse—the desire for destruction, dissolution, and self-sabotage.

And these two forces are at constant war inside us.

But, amidst these warring forces, our ego acts as a referee, keeping them in balance: not too much pleasure, and (hopefully) not too much destructive behavior.

Note: the ego I mean here is the Freudian concept of ego, which refers to the rational part of the mind, and not the ego as in “he has a bloated ego” that we use in colloquial language. Just thought I’d clear that up.

Anyways, this ego needs to be trained and strengthened in order to be a good balancer between these forces. On the other hand, if the ego is weak, it will fail us.

So, how do we strengthen the ego? Easy: spend 25 years in a monastery, engaging in intense Jedi training.  Well no, actually.

It’s much easier than that. We can strengthen the ego just as we can strengthen our muscles, by doing resistance training. See, to build muscle, we start with small weights and gradually progress to heavier weights as we become stronger and stronger.

It’s the same with the ego: start with light resistance training, and slowly build up.

So, what kind of resistance training can we do for the ego?  The more spiritual types tell us that fasting is great for that, but there are lots of other things we can do:

  1. Meditate
  2. Develop self-awareness.
  3. Do self-control exercises (like fasting mentioned above)
  4. Do assertiveness training. Learn to take small, positive actions, rather than overthinking.

Remember: it’s hard work, but it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT. Persistence is the foundation for success.

It’s not your talent or intelligence that paves the path to greatness but rather the relentless commitment to press on, even in the face of adversity. Even when everyone else tell you to quit.

History bears witness to this. Here’s an excellent example: Thomas Edison was expelled from school because his teachers deemed him “too stupid to learn anything.” But with persistence, he went on to revolutionize the world with his inventions.

Another one: Albert Einstein, labeled as a mediocre student, reshaped our understanding of the universe with his groundbreaking theories.

Today, the need for persistence rings truer than ever. In a world of rapid change and uncertainty, those who dare to persist, to adapt, and to innovate are the ones who will thrive.

Watch our latest Podcast for more on this topic:

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