Tag Archives: kim kardashian

Learning To Persevere

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge

We live in a world of instant gratification, where success looks easy.  I don’t have any trouble making that statement.  If you watch TV at all, then your days are filled with instantly white teeth, instant and inexplicable celebrity and seemingly easy financial success. And we fall for it every time.  Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Palin and of course my favorite, freakin  Snookie. They all have the same things, white teeth, unexplained celebrity and financial success.

But, they also all have three other things in common: Head scratching mediocrity, an ability to manipulate us with our own desire for overnight success and that they only play one note. When we tire of that note, they are gone and the next one comes along.

You Betcha!

It is truly not them though, it is a very skilled media who chose them to hold up as examples of what we desire for ourselves. In many ways, they were just convenient.  In the right place at the right time when a hungry dream machine needed fresh fodder. Or, in Palin’s case, a fading and cynical political campaign’s need for a woman, a black person, anything to appear relevant to an increasingly diverse electorate. They really didn’t care much that they were promoting a half wit who thinks Africa is a country and the French Revolution a ballet step.

OK, so where does that leave the rest of us?  Well, personally, my sex tape didn’t really take off and my reality show “The Real Goys of Hollywood” didn’t get past the pitch phase, so to succeed I’m left with persistance, determination and hard work.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle

It’s hard to grind it out every day. I get that. At some point you may ask your self why keep going? The answer to that question is purpose. It’s the purpose of loving your art, loving your family and loving those that work next to you. It’s the purpose of contributing to something bigger than yourself and creating a legacy. That’s what keeps you going. That’s what keeps you looking forward to the next step.

But what makes for purpose? Author Guy Kawasaki gives a simple equation in his book ‘Enchantment.’ He uses an acronym: ‘M.A.P.’ which stands for mastery, autonomy and purpose. He explains that in any endeavor, if we are given the opportunity to master a skill and receive autonomy in doing so, all we have to add is our unique purpose of something bigger and we will have no problem finding the energy for persistance and determination.

I find his equation not so much a recipe for success as a formula for joy. As we all have, I find I have reinvented myself numerous times. Life just unfolds that way. If you really look closely at it, what makes change interesting and purpose easier, is the simple act of learning new things. When your interest is held, you become persistent in your pursuit of practicing the new skills you are acquiring. That feeds your purpose and vice versa.  That’s right, what I am suggesting is that constant progress is the result of persistence, and persistance is the child of constant learning and expanding your skills. Mix it all together and you manage to support your purpose.

For myself, my learning consists of downloading a steady stream of audio books from iTunes.  I have a 45 minute commute each way and I have decided to fill it with learning.  In the past year, I’ve listened to books on business culture, leadership, happiness, purpose and entrepreneurship to name a few subjects.  My current title is: The Talent Code, Unlocking The Secret of Skill by Thomas Coyle. It’s a remarkable  study of where our physiology and habits meet to propel our talents. It’s all about how we learn, how we are coached by others and how we should coach others.

The bottom line is this: In pursuit of my purpose I have become extremely determined and persistent when it comes to learning. Even this blog is me learning. I’ve come to realize that no matter what I’m doing, I’m learning something.  Even when doing nothing I’m learning something (how to do nothing.)  For me, it’s become a question of what do I need to know to make my business better, my relationships better and what excites me and makes me want to get up in the morning.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb

Do you want  (or need) to be more persistent, tenacious, determined? Those traits want constant fuel to keep them ignited.  Even if you just surf the net, something as benign as Stumbleupon.com will help you learn.  It’s great. You just plug in your interests and the website randomly sends you to other websites that contain articles and information on the subjects of your choosing. As a matter of fact, just last night on Stumble I learned of a new concept: PLN or Personal Learning Networks. Groups of people that share what they are learning through Twitter.  They point out blogs, videos and articles.  Kind of what I’m doing here. I learn, I share, I learn some more.  It’s made me better at all facets of my life.

So, what are you learning about for your career? How is that translating to your life.  What things spark your passion, make you persistent and determined to push farther?  I want to know!  At this point I want to do more than throw words out into the blogosphere. I want to start a conversation! I want to start a PLN.

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now.  In that pursuit I have been determined and persistent.  Learning new things has been the vehicle to spark my imagination to try and communicate new things and that’s my epiphany. What’s yours?

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn to do it”  – Pablo Picasso

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Want to share this idea with your own Twitter network? Here are tweetable bits.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.” – Calvin Coolidge http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn to do it”  – Pablo Picasso http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

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Lord of the Flywheel

Spoked flywheel

Like this only made of stone and weighing 2000 pounds

I’m not sure what a flywheel is exactly, but Jim Collins describes it in his book “Good To Great” as a large heavy stone on an axel of some kind. Sounds pretty medieval I realize but OK. My imagination places this contraption off the ground at about eye level.

Like this, only made of stone and weighing 2000 pounds.  Great big stone with a an iron pole running horizontally through a hole in the middle.

OK then, if you were to try and turn the wheel, you obviously could not make it turn 100 MPH instantaneously, right? It would take all your strength to just move it an inch. So you take a try and indeed it just moves an inch or so. When you realize that you’ve only moved it a little bit, then what?

That’s always the question isn’t it? There are only two real answers: move it again or give up and look for a lighter wheel to turn. So, your answer to that question begs another question: how bad do you want it?  Momentum can only be built on a fly wheel by turning it little by little. With each turn a little more momentum is gained and the wheel gets easier and easier to turn.

The problem is in this fast paced, want it now, tweet it now, buy it now and have it all now world, the concept of daily toil to build momentum over time seems out of place. Mostly I blame advertising and the Kardashians for this, but like it or not, achievement demands that you struggle turning the wheel as much as you can each day. Over time all those small turns add up until the wheel can turn freely and quickly.

I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to gain mastery over any endeavor, be it playing a musical instrument or directing traffic. That latter one scares me for obvious reasons, but let’s make that assumption. If you were to work on the fundamentals of building a business, craft, practice, etc… for one hour a day, it would take you 27 years to gain mastery. Work 8 hours a day at it and it only takes 3.42 years to gain mastery.

Here’s the beauty of it all though: hidden within this 10,000 hours resides the effect of momentum in the form of compound knowledge that we gain by so much practice. As you invest more time in any activity the benefits come back to you exponentially. That is the beauty of momentum. That is the beauty of the wheel turning faster and faster the more you make small investments in turning it.  When the flywheel gets to turning very fast, you are really looking at all of the knowledge you’ve gained spinning the wheel on its own.

Even Kim Kardashian can do it.  One day she’s clubbing and dating football players, releasing sex tapes and showing up on every red carpet she can find. Next thing you know, she’s a judge of a talent competition show?  How does that happen? Based on what? Certainly not talent.  It’s based on the flywheel.

You see, it doesn’t matter the reason you decide to turn the wheel, it matters THAT you turn the wheel.  You choose, you can save the world like Mother Teresa, or you can be the Mother of all self promoters.

I would like to think most of us are more like Mother Teresa, but I have a feeling we’re either somewhere in between, or at the very least, just trying to figure out how to move our careers forward in subtle and unassuming ways.  Yes, I think I’ll go with that.
The Flywheel is a very powerful thing.  Daily practice of one sort or another is the message here.  Knowing what your goals are and committing to moving the wheel a little at a time is the exercise. Having faith that all your effort will get you where you want to go is the discipline.
As for me, I’m off to turn the wheel a bit.  I’m taking an African orphan to The Country Music Awards….