Million dollar ideas are a dime a dozen. The determination to see the idea through is what’s priceless. – Robert Dieffenbach
What does that mean?
To me, this says that there are lots of great ideas out there. And not just any ideas, Million Dollar ideas. Really good ideas. Lots of them, all over the place. However, very few are actually carried through to completion, and that’s what is makes it worth-wile. The ability, determination and perseverance necessary to see an idea through to completion is where the true power is.
Why is perseverance important?
Did you learn to walk in an instant? If you’ve seen more than a few nature shows, you’ve probably seen a baby herd animal born and struggle to get to its feet and move with the herd. You have also seen how poorly the first few attempts end. However, the only other option available to the young creature is to starve, it perseveres until it succeeds.
Most of us learn to roll over in our first half year, and to crawl in the second half year. Walking usually follows just past the first year, and running (with fewer and fewer falls) is fairly well mastered by the end of the second year. What the little humans lack in quickness of development they make up for later in life with cleverness.
But perseverance is necessary to achieve even these basic functions. The same goes for the other skills we learn when we are young. Mastering a language (or two), math, shapes, colors, musical notes. All take some time and effort. Some give up before mastering them.
Now imagine you had been allowed to give up on each of these skills. You can’t walk, crawl or even roll over. You can’t feed yourself or speak. You can’t add, tell colors or shapes apart or comprehend music. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I decided to persevere. I can’t imagine a life without music, or math, or colors. I could probably get by with pointing and grunting (and do, from time to time). How about you? Is there any skill you mastered as a kid that you’d give up?
Where can I apply this in my life?
How many of you have seen (usually late at night) an infomercial and said “Wow! I thought of that a few months ago! They totally stole my idea!” I know I have. That’s the crux of the first part of the quote. Lots of people have ideas, good ideas, million dollar ideas.
That, however, is where the second part comes in. How many of you did anything past the initial thought of the idea? Did you even write it down, or did it just sit quietly in an alcove in your mind? For me, it was always just an idea that came and went. I have yet to write one down on paper, much less look into the issues of building a prototype to prove the concept.
After that would come determining how to mass produce it, trade studies on different materials that could be used to construct the item and then finding a financial backer & manufacturer. That takes a lot of perseverance, as there are probably five times as many steps as I listed, and there will be several attempts before achieving each step.
How many of you know someone who just can’t seem to get math? My dad got his Bachelors Degree in Mathematics, so I didn’t have a choice. I actually enjoy it. Conversely, I do poorly in Chemistry. I imagine I could make it work if I worked it harder, but didn’t have the interest and therefore, the perseverance.
Golf was something else I didn’t have the patience for as a kid, and it crushed my dad. He loved golf and had imagined the two of us golfing together for years and years. Dad still golfs, and I still don’t get it. I understand the challenge, but to me, it’s about as rewarding as pounding my head against a wall.
What have you given up on, something you wanted to do, but lacked the perseverance to complete? GED? A College Degree? A driver’s license, motorcycle license, pilot’s license? Perhaps you wanted to learn to play a sport, or get better at it. Perhaps you always wanted to learn a musical instrument, perhaps guitar or piano?
What else? Did you ever want to learn how to garden or grow flowers? Learn to swim, jog, weight lift, cycle, yoga, martial arts or some other physical skill? Learn how to play chess or go, solve crosswords or Sudoku, or learn a new language? Learn to paint, draw, take pictures or act?
There are lots of possibilities. Write a few down. Take a moment and brainstorm and get perhaps five or six ideas. Pick the three that are of most interest to you. What would it take (besides perseverance) to get this idea going? A Pilot’s License is going to take a moderate amount of money. Golf won’t, unless you plan on buying the best clubs out there with which to start off. Figure out the demands on your time, checkbook, mental and physical health and start laying out a course to your destination.
Once you have decided which of the three to start with, find someone who can help you. A personal trainer, coach, instructor or whatever the proper title is. Discuss with them what your goals are, and work with them on determining what kind of time-table is appropriate, and what the cost to you will be (both cash and time).
Now that all of that is done, it’s time to get busy. Do it! Commit to accomplishing your goal. Write notes to yourself, plan rewards for making milestones along the way, celebrate achievement. Positive reinforcement will be very helpful. But, ultimately, if you don’t persevere, you won’t get to the end of your rainbow.
Keep at it. Everyone will have setbacks. Don’t quit, renew your determination and set out again. And again. And again. Adjust your plan, approach it from a new angle, but keep at it. Success can only elude you for a finite period of time. Out last it. Tree roots can force their way into tiny cracks in a rock and eventually split the rock. That is what we must be. An unstoppable force.
As the wind and rain eventually wear mountains down, so too will perseverance.
From: Twitter, @DavidRoads
confirmed at: hmmm, it’s all over the net, but not at quote sites I could find.
Robert Dieffenbach : also referenced all over, but no hits on the author – anyone?
Photo by Steve-h