Persistence vs. an Ugly Voice from the Past

Persistence is a crucial trait.

And it’s this quality that keeps you going through everything. But sometimes flashbacks can get in the way of persistence.

Flashbacks? Yeah, you know – ideas, voices or mental pictures from out of your past. Stuff that rises up out of the back of your mind to haunt you – undermine your determination. And that’s exactly what happened to me a few years back.

I had just finished setting up a brand new sales promotion. This one meant a lot to me because I was planning to offer something – in this case, real money – back to my readers.

I was all set to invite my readers and subscribers to send me customers, then I’d pay them a 100-percent commission on every initial sale. (Again, this was a good while back.)

That was the plan but it got temporarily derailed.

It had taken me about a month to write and lay out all the pages and to get the automated scripts set up. Once everything was in place, I tested and re-tested it all to make sure every step worked right. Finally I posted an announcement on my blog and sent out an email telling everybody about the sale.

Then blam! Everything suddenly turned to the brown stuff.

Customers ordered but then didn’t get their downloads. Emails went missing. The sales database didn’t show some of the sales.

Whoa! This wasn’t in my plan.

Not even close. So I shut down the sales site, deleted my announcement from the blog, and followed up with every single customer and affiliate until they were all taken care of. That filled one very long, very busy day.

And sometime during that day… I gradually realized that an ugly voice from the past had started whispering to me.

“Maybe somebody’s telling you not to go in that direction,” it whispered. “Maybe you were meant to do something else instead.”

That’s when I stopped, raised my face to the heavens, and had a good long laugh. Man, I quit believing in that idea when I was 14-15 years old. Even at that age I could see the silliness of such an argument.

My response then – as now – was: “If God (the Universe, my Higher Self) is trying to stop me from doing this good thing, then where is He every time I’m about to do something stupid? Where is all that ‘help’ then?”

See what I mean?

Of all the times that “God” tried to stop me, not one of them was when I was about to do something really idiotic. Not a one. Only when it was good or helpful or important.

So the logic that “God is trying to stop you for your own good” has some very large holes in it. Growing up, I’d heard that phrase for as long as I could remember, and as a small child, I accepted it unquestioningly.

But I got over it.

Once I got to my early teens, it didn’t take me long to discover that such an idea – that “God” wanted me to quit trying because I’d met a few challenges – was just another whining excuse to give up. Furthermore, it encourages the quitter to shift the blame onto God. Anybody who’s ever used such an excuse (including me) is practising the worst kind of cowardice. Out-and-out hypocracy. They’re trying to hide behind “His unknowable will.”

Sorry, but that was bull pucky when I was a kid, and it’s still bull pucky now.

So there I was, puzzling my way through a situation that’d turned in an unexpected, unintended direction. And I was getting this old voice whispering in the back of my mind. “It’s not your fault… it’s not meant to be… you should do something else… you can blame it all on God… your struggles aren’t going to succeed… just give up and quit….”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that when I get those ideas, I’m probably getting close to a breakthrough. That’s when it’s really important to keep moving forward. To keep looking for alternatives. To be persistent.

Most of the time, when we seem to be at an impass, it’s because our thinking needs to flex more. We need to turn loose of our old ideas about how to do the task. Back away, take a new look, come at it from new directions, be willing to try something different. And try again.

In short, use a little persistence.

To quote Jason Nesmith of Galaxy Quest, “Never give up. Never surrender.” (Winston Churchill also said something similar.)

Of course, while you’re NOT giving up, you DO want to be flexible in your methods of getting where you’re going.

So, undaunted, I pressed onward. I found a different automation script and had it installed. I changed the way the product – MP3s and PDF documents – would be delivered. And I called in several friends and had them test the new setup even more stringently than before.

Again, persistence.

And things started working correctly. Sales went through smoothly, without glitches of any kind. They were faithfully recorded in the database. Every customer got the download email and received the product. And that silly idea about God wanting me to quit? It was exposed yet again as the goofiest of notions. Something I’d picked up from quitters in my past.

Persistence. It’ll get you where you really want to go. It’ll get you there most of the time. In contrast, giving up never will. NEVER.

And how do you develop persistence?

The old fashioned way. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, never giving up, never surrendering. You keep holding the vision of what you desire firmly in your mind.

When other alternatives come sliding into your thoughts, you test them. Will they take you in the direction of your intentions? Or will they lure you away from them?

The ones that’ll help move you forward are keepers. The others are distractions – they’re invitations to quit or turn aside or take the easy way out – and they can be discarded. Immediately. Remember, you don’t take a detour until it’s the only option you have.

That’s how you build persistence, an inch at a time, a day at a time, till it becomes strong as the toughest tool steel, able to cut through the hardest obstacles. That’s how you train yourself to be determined and keep going until you reach the objectives you’ve set.

But what about the easy path?

Now, maybe you’ve heard a lot about synchronicity, where the Universe will hand you lovely shortcuts to your goals. Yes, that happens.

So we learn little tricks to try and attract synchronicity to us. We visualize, we affirm, we meditate and chant and do all sorts of things. And unwittingly, we begin to think of synchronicity as some kind of cosmic vending machine. We insert our 200 repetitions and expect the desired result to come tumbling down the delivery chute.

But know this – you don’t buy synchronicity. It’s a gift, not a product.

And I don’t know why, but synchronicity is much more common in the presence of determination and persistence. It’s like a reward for holding our minds firmly on-target.

In actual practice, you just don’t find synchronicity coming to the aid of indecisive, aimless quitters. It just doesn’t happen.

So if you want the Universe to start handing you easy wins, forget synchronicity and luck. Forget the easy, effortless way that so many teachers have told you about. Become willing to work for every inch of your progress. Then, and only then, will you qualify for the occasional free pass of synchronicity … a gift from the Universe for your willingness to persevere.

Ironic isn’t it? Persistence, the readiness to do things the hard way, turns out to be the easy way in the end.

Cheers from sunny Japan,

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