Perseverance is sticking through a task despite obstacles and seeing the task through to completion. These obstacles could be anything: time may be a factor - the task could take days, weeks, months or even years; the task may involve the help of others who may be busy themselves; we may have to overcome our own personal challenges - doubting ourselves when times get tough or overcoming physical challenges.
There is no question that when we complete difficult and/or long term projects, we feel an immense sense of accomplishment. Far more than if we just finished a short term easy task. For those of you who've been following our articles here at RCGS for the past several weeks, you should start to see an over-arching theme here: Goal Setting; Being Positive; Confidence, the value of Practice and now, Perseverance. These are all key factors in helping us become healthier, happier individuals. Science has also come to show that important task completion releases dopamine in our system, making us feel great when we complete something important to us. Click here for the related article from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Classic examples of this are when sports teams win a championship - many obstacles had to be overcome in order to achieve the goal and the resulting feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement are immense.
What does this mean in terms of guitar? I can tell you from personal experience that guitar is a life long journey that adds a lot of pleasure and personal satisfaction to your life - which is why we want to learn guitar in the first place. I also know that at times, challenges present themselves where you doubt your ability to play something or your ability to play at all. This is where perseverance comes into play. We must stick it through - we will get to where we want to be if we just go a little further, practice a little harder. Perseverance when combined with being positive, goal setting and using practiced confidence will get us through to where we want to be EVERY time.
Continuing our theme here, but from a non-guitar perspective; Perseverance will allow us to get ourselves to where we really want to be in life. In recent articles, we talked about long term tasks such as weight loss. Being able to persevere when we doubt ourselves, to duck our heads down and continue on through is key. This brings up a great quote from Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell: keep going." When trying to lose weight, we are changing a lot of things: our diet, adding exercise to our daily lives, and challenging ourselves to see a long term task through to completion. Just like any long term task - we must be Positive, we must have Goals, we must develop Confidence, we must use Practice every day to gain good habits and finally, we must Persevere. We must keep going no matter the obstacle. Typically when we are struggling, these means success is just around the corner. We must keep going - we're almost there!
Here are some easy exercises to help us practice perseverance:
1. Use positive self-talk. When you are doubting whether you can continue on whatever you are doing, come to your own rescue. Tell yourself, "I can do it!", "I'm doing great!", and “I’m doing the best I’ve ever done!” These are some examples of many that you can use. Be your own best friend and advocate. Be your own coach and cheer yourself on to your victory.
2. As noted in our Confidence article, make sure you have close friends and family around you that help you persevere, especially when times are tough. Tell them what your goal is and that you need their help. Make sure you surround yourself with plenty of high quality people such as these.
3. Related to item 2 above, make sure you take advantage of your support network. Sometimes, we can be embarrassed that we need help or we can let pride get in the way of asking for help. If we don't ask for help when we need it and try to "gut it out" on our own, we may find that we give up, which is what we don't want. Never be afraid or too proud to ask for help and support! Those who care about you will gladly and willingly give it and you will be able to continue on your goal. Perseverance is not a solo effort; reach for that support when you need it.