Don’t you believe that if you work hard enough and really put your mind to something, that you can do anything?
So does this guy I want to tell you about. He’s a techno-geek-engineer type and right now he’s a strong voice within his organization for a specific product approach. See, he’s championed this thing for years and by the sheer force of his personality he’s kept the idea on the table. Millions of dollars and thousands of work hours have been placed on this approach, mostly because he’s so forceful and tenacious.
But you know what? The guy’s wrong.
The technology he champions was once bleeding edge – but three years later it’s old, outdated and irrelevant. The market has passed it by.
[Think of it like insisting on playing football in leather helmets.]
So even though voices inside the company are beginning to ask: “Are we betting on the wrong horse?”, our guy continues to pound his desk to guaran-damn-tee that the tried-and-true is going to work.
He wants to win.
In fact, maybe he wants to win more than he wants the company to succeed.
Yes, he’d rather put a product into the market and watch it fail (which he can always blame on marketing), than be seen as “wrong”.
And in his own mind he fought the good fight, was persistent and determined… and won. Against all odds.
We’ve all been taught that winners never quit, and quitters never win. We’ve watched countless movies where by sheer persistence and determination (and playing “In Your Eyes” on a boom box held over his head), the guy gets the once reluctant girl to fall in love with him. We love underdog stories told from the sidelines, or in hushed whispers during the uneven bars competition. Through sheer grit and focus, the kid got to the top.
And I hear this theme nearly every day from the clients I work with: “I should be able to figure this out! I just need to work harder, I guess.”
Depends on why you want what you want.
Because the truth is, I could love team sports and be as persistent and determined as all get-out and never suit up as a Washington Redskin. Or a National. A Cap. Or a United mid-fielder. Regardless of my effort, or intention, or willingness – none of that is never going to happen.
Smart winners know when to quit, and how to find something that gives them what they want in a different way.
If want to be a part of sports, I can get that plenty of ways. For instance, I can’t bat third for the Nats, but I can get a season ticket to the games. I can also volunteer to coach a baseball or softball team, or get training to be an umpire for kids’ games. I could join an adult softball league. I can keep score for the girls varsity this spring. I could plan a trip to every Major League ballpark in North America in one single season. All of these are winning, and very possible, scenarios.
Win. Win. Win.
And it’s good I know that. Shooting for the truly unobtainable drains a lot of energy from a soul, and we end up feeling depleted, down and blue. Like the techno-geek-engineer fears, we feel like failures because we didn’t get what we said we wanted. But what we said we wanted wasn’t what we really wanted, anyway. It was just an idea of one way to get there.
How does this figure in with the Power of Positive Thinking? With the Law of Attraction? With The Secret?
Well, I am for all of those ways of marshaling one’s energy. I know that my thoughts create my reality, and I certainly can bring some pretty amazing things into my life when I focus. However, you have to know why you want what you want. If you want things or opportunities because your ego needs some feeding – not gonna happen. If you want things or opportunities because they’ll be joyful, fun and help others – you’ll get them. Simple as that.
And that’s the happy turnaround, my friends. With persistence and determination sometimes comes stuck and unhappy. And that derives from staying too long in one place, and ignoring the facts. By introducing the idea “perhaps I’m persisting in a direction that’s never going to pay off“- well, that allows you to be agile and shift toward something that’s… possible. Good. Fulfilling. Smart.
If your persistence and determination doesn’t seem to be paying off, take a minute. Ask yourself this: what do I really want here?
And if it’s to “win”, perhaps there’s another, easier win waiting for you, right under your nose.