Most people are quick to give up when faced with a challenging problem, often before making one real attempt. Successful people continue to take action, making changes to their plans if needed, and keep moving forward. They use each temporary setback as a stepping-stone to future success, always rejecting failure. As Sylvester Stallone says, “It’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, especially yourself.
There is a famous problem in mathematics called Fermat’s Last Problem. This problem was found in one of Fermat’s notebooks, along with the claim that he had solved the problem, but no solution included. The mathematician, Andrew Wiles, set his mind on solving the problem, working on it in secret for a long time. After 7 years and many failed attempts, he finally solved the problem. Talk about making a determined effort backed by a burning desire and faith to succeed! Mr. Wiles certainly met with many temporary setbacks along the way and it would have been normal to give up. Instead, he refused to quit and found huge success.
Another example of never giving up is found in the story of Thomas Edison, who invented the incandescent lightbulb among many other things. It has been said that Edison made more than 10000 attempts before his lightbulb finally worked. He saw these attempts as simply ways that didn’t work and not as failures. His mind was made up ahead of time that he would succeed and so he saw his temporary setbacks as a positive, as they narrowed down the possible solutions. Often when solving problems, trial and error is extremely helpful, just keep making attempts and learn something from each one. You have not failed until you have stopped making attempts.
Napoleon Hill said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win”. Often success comes only after struggling to overcome obstacles as if you are being tested. You must be willing to experience some failure since this prepares you to recognized success when it finally comes. Do not expect to just find success immediately, since it often takes a long time and a determined effort. Be clear on what you are passionate about, writing down your goals on paper and then throw yourself fully into your task.
One word of caution; guard your goals from other people since people often will not understand what you are trying to do. They may put you down and try to discourage you from working toward your goals. Take action first to work toward your goals and only then show others what you have already done. You need not explain something you have already done successfully.
In what ways do you demonstrate your determination to stick with a difficult problem when it seems impossible? Do you see the obstacles you face as a positive thing, as they strengthen your character on the road to success?