022 Are you persevering or merely being obstinate?

You’ll likely push through a lot of obstacles to get to your next great beginning. That calls for perseverance—unless your being obstinate. But how can you know when you should persevere or quit?

Are you persevering or merely being obstinate?


George Eliot (aka 19th century novelist Mary Ann Evans) provides this episode’s Inspire Me quote:

“Failure after a long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure”

Do I give up? Or keep going?

That question is bound to come up in any worthy pursuit. Leary and Armin discuss the cultural value that perseverance has become. Quitting anything is equivalent to failure. Yet, there are times when we should call it quits on our pursuit—in a healthy way—lest we become stubborn. The trick is knowing when.

At the heart of the problem lies resistance, for it’s in the times we face resistance where we must make the decision to soldier on or to change directions. Listen to Episode 18 for more about resistance.

Leary points out that every pursuit goes through three stages: a birth, a death, and a resuscitation. Whether you persevere through the death stage to the resuscitation phase is dependent on whether your focus is entirely on the dream or the Dream Giver. Often, God may use an opportunity to redirect us to something better. When our focus is only on the outcome we envision, stubbornness ensues.

In his helpful little book, The Dip, Seth Godin writes:

“Persistent people are able to visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can’t see it. At the same time, the smartest people are realistic about not imagining a light when there isn’t any.”

and offers three questions that we can ask ourselves we wonder if we should continue or quit:

  1. Am I panicking? Obviously, few good decisions are made in a panic. Take time to let your emotions subside.
  2. Who am I trying to influence? Think about the external motivators for continuing or quitting. It can yield real insight to why you are pursuing a goal.
  3. What progress am I making? Objectively appraising your progress and possibility of achieving your goal is an important factor in your decision.

Leary offers two additional questions to consider:

  1. Am I persevering out of shame or ego? We may not want to quit because we may think it means we’re a failure (shame) or that others will perceive us less than we want them to (ego).
  2. Am I yielding the pursuit to God? The best objective to pursue is the Guide Himself who will direct our steps.

If you are in this situation where you need to determine whether you should press on or quit, take this episode’s Challenge Me:

  • Take time away with the Lord to reflect on your situation
  • Seek the counsel of others about your situation, particularly paying attention to whether shame or ego may be driving you
  • Commit to a period of time to pray about it
  • Journal your discoveries and emotions about the decision

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