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Persistence does not win: Know when to stop

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May 18, 2012

Thomas Edison did not try same thing in same way over and over again. He gave up apparently when he found a way of doing anything is wrong. In fact we know that doing same thing again and again and expecting a different result is insane. The example we often put enthusiastically that, never give up like Thomas Edison is fundamentally flawed. And the way we often put it serves the status Quo not courage and success.

Edison is the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Story goes that Edison experimented thousand times to invent his particular invention and at the same time which also put as a best example of not giving up. But what we often miss on the move is that, Edison gave up sufficiently in his way of experimentation. Rather what he did is that he stopped when he found a way unsure and tried another and started over again. Unfortunately we often miss this very point.

Popular notion says; not giving up is what makes success to happen. I differ. My understanding says, Not giving up or persistence, whatever you call it, is a relative term. Moreover, it is not self-determining or isolated. Rather inter-reliant, dependent to lot other factors and connected. So, when people say that, be persistent to your dream, passion, or goal they must not say it without putting a “star mark” that is “condition apply”.

My experience tells we are good at giving advices. And most of the time when things stop working we hear advices, some are great and some are too great. Whatever reason, it always happens that, we get an advice on not giving up. Examples are not scarce. There are Olympic players who made things even after he injured himself pathetically. And there are many more other examples to put to motivate one who is falling short in achieving goal, running things efficiently. However, second thought of examining whether the path itself is right or wrong, always comes in mind when it’s too late and only when nothing else left to do, when things go extreme, when things become irreversible.

I do believe, persistence alone does not win, there are works to do before becoming persistent on anything. Becoming persistent on something wrong will end up you in wrong destination. So, what is important it is not persistence rather something else on what you are going to be persistent.

Conversely, persistence can have even a very different name if you wrongfully place it into different plate. Einstein put the wisdom sufficiently when he said; “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Does not this sound familiar? Point is: It’s not about journey only but it is about map too. Without having right map you cannot reach at your destination no matter how persistent you are. On the other hand being persistent on wrong target can jeopardize you. So, when you are going ahead think, think seriously, purposely, and contemplate. Never bet on something that is misplaced!

I have found by myself that, there are reasons of why people often talk about persistence and people listen about persistence and people want to practice persistence although most people don’t. Number one is that, it gives us an artificial sense of courage that seems real, and a feeling of superiority of trying out, a feeling of worthiness and sometimes a feeling of being part of some great people who won a lot in life.

However, feeling has very little to do with reality. Knowing when to stop is as important as knowing how to start and courage to start. Persistence is blockage that often stop people from quitting in right time when quitting can save them and give them with the opportunity to start all over again.

So, when you consider quitting over something don’t be afraid of what people will think, however, they are going to think something, because being feeble or being a quitter can save you a lot even more than what you possibly can earn by being persistent. Know when it is right time to quit and stop and start all over again!


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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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5 comments on “Persistence does not win: Know when to stop”

  1. That's why it's should be -'perfect practice through the right method makes a man perfect'..

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