The Importance of Staying Power in Purpose Pursuit

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April 7, 2018

The Importance of Staying Power in Purpose Pursuit

There are always two forces at work. Darkness and Light. Day and Night. Spirit and Body. Each day, there is that continuous conflict that keeps raging between the opposing forces. In the end, one wins. And whoever wins dictates outcomes between the good guys and the bad guys.

We face Resistance Daily!

In other words, resistance is a real phenomenon each waking day.

  • You get out of bed because a stronger force made you do so than the one that is cajoling you to stay there a little longer.
  • You say “No” to the third helping of food because there is a stronger force that says “No” as compared to that which salivates over the sumptuous food.
  • You say “No” to a life that lacks direction and purpose because you are responding to a stronger force than that which would want you to stay in mediocrity and chaos.

Wherever you turn, there are multiplied triumphs that you experience each day, in fact, each moment of your existence. This article is a triumph. Your reading it is another triumph, because the truth is that you have very many opposing forces against your staying power and reading it.

However, the staying power that I am talking about today has a longer waiting period as compared to the daily triumphs we have. And the problem with a longer waiting period is that at times it is not fun. That waiting period at times is decidedly grueling and uncomfortable. That is why staying put through the strenuous waiting period has a potential of delivering your purpose on schedule.

The Nature of Staying Power

In order to understand staying power, it is important for us to understand what exactly is strenuous. Mohammad Ali said it best,

I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”

So there is an element of pain accompanying what you are doing. Pain goes against the comfort. For example, reading a book for 30 minutes straight with no distraction in our present generation is to say the least, strenuous. Staying power is making sure that the 30 minutes are done and you have overcome all the temptations of being distracted.

In your purpose pursuit, there will be some things that will be an opposing force to your ascend to destiny. It is imperative that the application of staying power helps you do those things laboriously over and over again until they are no more a bother to your comfort. That is when as Ali said, it starts to count.

Staying Power

Staying power therefore is that strength that defies the cry for the easy and the comfortable, but embraces the painful and the strenuous until the pain is no longer felt. Now, what I have come to learn is that the “strenuous” might not stay strenuous all along. There is an inherent power and excitement that is released when two things happen:

First when we progress:

Progress is dope! There is no better way to say it, but this is what I mean. There is what I call “personal encouragement” that comes whenever you make progress. Momentum is a very powerful thing. However, for you to get momentum, you must trudge through the initial period of awkwardness until you are well synchronized. You realize that when you hit a patch of momentum, some extra energy is given to you from I don’t know where, but it just comes.

Second, when we see victory in sight:

There is nothing as liberating as seeing the crossing line just ahead. Finally, all you have been trudging to do, all you have been toiling to achieve is no longer in the distant future.  It is something you can actually see just about to manifest. The book is about to be published. The blog is about to go live. The products you have been creating are getting some pre-orders. This is all because of your staying power. The trick though is that you have to stay long enough in order for this energy to kick in. In fact, as you hold on, there will come a time when you will break through the pain, or discomfort barrier. Believe me only you will know what happened…the rest of the world will learn of it much later. That is when  your staying power bails you out.

Believe me, there will be need for staying power in any endeavor worth attempting. And certainly, when it comes to living a life of purpose, there will be a great need for us to live up to that staying power.

  • It teaches us to say no to distractions.
  • It teaches us to say no to detours
  • It teaches us to say no to mediocrity
  • It teaches us to say no to laziness
  • It teaches us to say no to procrastination
  • It teaches us to say no to shortcuts
  • It teaches us to say no to copying and pasting other people’s authenticity

The question then is:

How Do We Develop Staying Power?

1. Identify Your Why

It goes without saying. I answered a question on Quora yesterday on invite. A lady asked why she was still stressed regardless of all she did in order to study. The answer I gave her is the same thing I will share here. Stress comes at times when we lack clarity. First we might be lacking clarity of what needs to be done or what we ought to pursue. Second, we might be lacking clarity on how to go about pursuing what we are pursuing. In order to build our staying power, it is important that we identify the reason as to why we are taking the journey in the first place. This is important because you are almost always guaranteed discomfort and setbacks when you set off in purpose pursuit.

2. Psychological Preparation

Don’t kid yourself. It is a marathon, not a 100 meter dash. The moment this sinks into our psyche, that moment we get a psychological preparation for what lies ahead. Getting a mental ascend that this is going to be tough, different, and uncomfortable and maybe excruciating allows us to mentally prepare. The beauty is that you get another dose of personal encouragement when you know what lies ahead but you choose to attempt anyhow. It clearly helps you build your staying power. However, if you are mentally unprepared for what lies ahead, it becomes so easy for you to drop your quest when the strenuous moment is unbearable.

3. Iteration

At times, you might want to give it a try several times until you make it. For example, you might be going for a routine jog, trying to complete your circuit in let’s say 60 minutes. However, you notice that you can’t even make 20 minutes. What do you do? Do you stop altogether and tell yourself that this does not work and quit? No, you go back there the following day and attempt to last 22 minutes. That way, you have increased your barrier of pain. In other words, you have developed. You have improved. You are not the same. Why? Because you chose to iterate your attempts until your staying power improves or delivers your purpose. This is what Mark Twain said so powerfully:

There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can recreate them; it can debase angels to men and lift men to angels. And it can do any of these miracles in a year — even six months.

4. Be In The Moment

At times, it can be extremely discouraging to look at the distance that you have to cover to get to purpose in relation to where you are right now. That is why in order to improve your staying power, you need to detach yourself from the future and concentrate on the present. Concentrate on what you are doing at the moment. Concentrate not on the pain but the improvement that you are creating. Find a way to distract yourself from the future (because it is coming to you since you have taken this action anyway). One day, it is going to be easy to take this action and not feel discouraged because the future since you have built enough staying power to get there

So staying power is absolutely critical for you in your pursuit of anything worth pursuing. Let’s develop it today.

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