By nature, I think of myself as a rather persistent person. I’m a proud go-getter, and I persevere to the best of my abilities. However, more often than not when a person is persistent, it’s seen in a bad light. This is something I’ve observed not only through my own life’s experiences, but also as an onlooker, watching people who share the same penchant for persistence. Yet we still get our way.

Even in situations that seem like a lost cause I believe they’re not worth losing in the first place. Whether it’s following up on a job application, or even standing your ground when it comes to principles – if you believe in something so strongly, it’s certainly worth your persistence. To give a more specific example, I once had a friend who decided to change her career, and while it took her some time to find a job within a new industry, she was eventually successful.

But when does persistence reach its brink, and where does it overflow to hard-headedness or even overzealousness?

Go-getters deserve credit, not condemnation

Striving to achieve

In order to achieve our full potential, we need to have a good balance of both persistence and patience. Granted, it takes years, decades even, to accomplish major goals like graduating, landing that fantastic dream job, writing a book, getting married or travelling the world. But to achieve ambitious goals, we need to be ready to push ourselves to set goals in the first place. Better yet, categorise targets on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.

Baby steps

As the age old saying goes: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Cliché as it might sound, it’s good to remember you have to “walk before you run”. You need to write a page before you write a chapter of a book. In order to travel the world, you have to start with planning a trip to one country. Life is a process, which is why you should always break down your long-term goals into short term ones. That way, they’re more achievable. After all, you can win the long game by getting things done today, which will amount to bigger things tomorrow.

Patience isn’t only a virtue

It’s also a skill to be mastered. Our society has brainwashed us into wanting and expecting everything on-demand. Yet the greatest things in life need to be earned over time. For the sake of understanding and practising the skill of patience it’s good to acquaint yourself with its distant cousin: rejection. It’s all part of the process.

We’ve all been turned down in life, whatever way shape of form. At the end of the day, it’s what keeps us grounded, humble, and hungry to succeed. Coming from a generation which is stereotyped as entitled, millennials desperately need realistic aims and a clear path forward. As long as you keep moving forward, no matter what obstacles get in your way, virtually anything is possible. Sometimes being turned down is a good thing as it can put you on a new and better path altogether.

To feel successful and experience success, we must meet our short- and long-term needs. Yet we must remember to brace ourselves for potential failure, because nothing is fool-proof. Ultimately there’s no such thing as an overnight success, and we all need time in order to make our mark. And to do that, a healthy dose of persistence is key.