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How to Persist and Press on When Things Aren’t Working Out for You



Life is filled with ups and downs. And if you are on a journey to achieving the success that you want, there is no doubt you will face some setbacks, challenges, and have to go through tough times. The difference between someone successful and someone who is not is what they do when things are not working out.

Successful people choose to persist, press on, and they continue to pursue what they want. Conversely, the unsuccessful often choose to give up and quit. The saying, “A winner will never quit and a quitter will never win,” is so true. The moment you choose to give up and stop, you lose. “Don’t give up,” is easier said than done.

So what should you do to persist and press ahead when the situations seem bleak? Here are 7 suggestions:

1. Understand that Setbacks Are Necessary

First, you need to understand that setbacks are necessary. There is no way you can be successful without going through some kind of challenges. A lot of people get it wrong to think that failure is the opposite of success. In fact, failure is on the same side of success.

When you are able to persist while the rest have given up, eventually, success can be yours.

You have to understand that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. When you study the success stories of extraordinary people, you will notice that setbacks, failures, and tough times are part of the game. You just need to treat your bad days as your character-building days.

2. Ignore the Naysayers

Next, ignore the naysayers. People can say whatever they want, and you can’t control what they are going to say. But you can always choose to not listen to them and ignore their words.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided that he wanted to be an actor, a lot of people told him that it was impossible for him to make it in the movie industry. Some said that his body was too bulky and some said that his name was too difficult to pronounce.

However, Schwarzenegger pressed on and chose to pursue his acting career. The rest as they say, is history. You don’t have to listen to what everyone has to say, especially those who have never created the results before.

3. Learn from the Successful

It is true that you shouldn’t listen to the naysayers, but what about other successful people? Take advice and learn from them.

When it comes to investing in the stock market, do you want to take advice from your neighbor who has never bought a stock before or do you want to take advice from Warren Buffett? You know the answer. Thus, learn from other successful people. Ask them for advice and seek their help when you need it.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

4. Never Take Your Eyes Off Your Goals

Whenever things are not working out for you, you should focus even more on your goals. You shouldn’t take your eyes off the results and rewards that you want. Like someone once said, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

When you focus and keep on thinking about the problems, the setbacks, and the challenges, your fear will grow and stop you from moving forward. Hence, put your focus on your goals.

Always choose to think about the rewards and the results. After all, your goals are the main reason you started the journey in the first place. So when you are in doubt, think about your goals.

5. Remember Your Purpose

Napoleon Hill, the famous author of the classic success book, Think and Grow Rich, wrote in the book, “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” In other words, it is your purpose that propels you into taking action.

When your purpose is weak, your desire will be weak too. You have to understand that what drives you in the first place is your purpose. Therefore, remind yourself of why you want to do it when things are not working out for you. It is your purpose that keeps you going.

Most people give up when the tough time comes because they don’t have a strong enough reason that compels them to move on. When you have a strong and powerful reason to act, you will be committed and never give up no matter what happens.

6. Learn from Your Experience

So what do you need to do when things are not working out? One way to get ahead when everything seems bleak is to learn from your experience. Take time to understand why things are not working out for you. Is it that what you do is wrong? Is your strategy not working? Should you try one more time?

You have to use the feedback that you get and improve your method. Remember, success comes from good judgment. And good judgment comes from experience. But how do you gain experience? From the failures, setbacks, and challenges that you have gone through.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

7. Take One Small Step

The key to making progress is to always be in action. Whenever you find that things are not working out, you just need to take one more step. Even if it is just a small step, do it. After all, success is the accumulation of small victories that you accomplish day-in and day-out.

Thus, when you are taking action and do just one small thing, you are making progress. More importantly, you are building the momentum you need for the big success that you desire.

You just have to begin. Ask yourself what is the one small thing you can do to move forward to your goal. You will most likely have to try more than once to succeed. It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.

If you take a sharp ax and swing it at a large tree, eventually, the tree will have to come down no matter how big it is. The key to persist and press on is to keep taking action. Somehow, if you keep moving, you will reach somewhere.

Which one of the above perseverance suggestions resonated with you most and why?

Shawn Lim is the creator of ( and he’s a passionate blogger in the personal development industry who has inspired thousands to pursue their dreams and follow their passions. You can learn more about him plus download a free copy of his guidebook, Reach Your Goals on his website.

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