Sunday, March 15, 2015

Perseverance and Leadership

I recently received a quote by Napolean Hill on Whatsapp "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits" that got me thinking. It is like a person who is digging for gold and does not know when to stop. Who knows, he may strike gold in the next hit or he may continue to labor for indefinite length of time.

When faced with repeated learning experiences or failures, the person starts to have doubt in his own capability. This causes stress. This stress can consume significant part of the person's capability to perform and the performance will usually suffer resulting in reinforcing of the self doubt. This is a downward spiral. Once a person gets caught in this it is difficult to get off this spiral. It is like getting off a speeding bullet train running at 300 km/h. The only way to get off is to slow down this train and wait till it stops. 

I have failed many a times. We all fail. There is nothing wrong in failing. It is just a feedback. However keeping oneself focused during such times is hard. How does one keep oneself focussed at task without worrying about outcome of one's efforts. I read a transforming mental image that one of my favourite  executive coaches had developed. Imagine you are on edge of a large pond and you are next to a large pile of nice round stones. Your job is to throw one stone at a time in the center of the pond so that they will accumulate in the center of the pond till one of the stones will finally appear on the surface. You do not know how many stones will it take to accomplish the job for you do not know the depth of the pond or the height of the pile that you have formed under the water. Any stone that appears above the surface is job well done.

Each stone is important. Every stone has the possibility of breaking the surface but since you do not know which one, you have to focus all your effort on throwing the stone in hand. You cannot be distracted by the stones already thrown or the ones that will be thrown later. Nor could you be distracted by the thoughts related to the rewards that you will reap or disappointments you will have if the stone happens to appear or not appear on the surface. You have to believe that every stone made a difference and that they were accumulating  under water even though you could not see them. 

It is easy to get in self doubt. Your capability in accomplishing the task. The time it will take to accomplish the task. Just keep throwing.

If you like this post please share it with your friends. If you have feedback about this post or if you would like to share your experience please leave your comment. You can also get in touch with me at