When it’s Time to Adapt Rather than Persist

Persistence is one reason problems persist. More specifically, persisting in behaviors that don’t work, is one reason problems persist. Smart, motivated people, do this all the time.

Persistence has a dark side.

compassion is foolish when it allows pain to continue

How long have you been frustrated with a boss, employee, process, or program? Congratulations for sticking with it. However…

Persistent frustration over the same problem means you’re persistently doing things that don’t work.

7 ways to adapt rather than persist:

  1. Congratulate yourself on having persistence, but give yourself permission to change strategies.
  2. Try something that feels wrong. You’ve already tried things that feel right. Did they work? Get advice from someone you trust. When a trusted adviser says something you want to dismiss, do that.
  3. Focus your energy on areas of greatest impact. Don’t get sucked into a black hole. If you can’t make a difference in one area, make a difference somewhere else.
  4. Remove roadblocks. If there is one person on the team who consistently blocks progress, remove them. Compassion is foolish when it allows pain that serves no purpose to persist.
  5. Let it go. Either accept or escape things that aren’t likely to change. It may feel like failure, but it’s wisdom.
  6. Work on yourself. Become the person you want others to be. How might the very qualities you want from a problem employee or boss be qualities that will take you far?
  7. Choose happiness. Unhappiness drains your energy. All the problems you face are opportunities to make a difference.

You’re smart, not a quitter, when you keep the same goal but adapt strategies that aren’t working.

When persistence might be a problem, ask:

  1. How might frustration be healthy? Distracting?
  2. What type of gains are acceptable?
  3. How are you changing or stuck as a person?
  4. Who might have a new perspective?
  5. What new person needs to join the battle?

How would you help someone see when it’s time to adapt rather than persist?