Tenacity – A life skill we all knew and may have forgotten

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf


When did you last watch a small child learn how to crawl or walk?

It’s a milestone achievement we all accomplished, and few of us remember.

Fearless to a degree, children are little tenacious engines. They constantly explore, fall, bump themselves, cry and try again. The older we get, the less comfortable we are with the whole falling/failing thing. And yet being able to fail, get frustrated, bump into dead ends, and plans that don’t work is all a normal part of life. Everybody experiences it. Everybody. What’s different is the levels of the tenacity with which we handle it.

How do you cope with adversity?

  • Some refuse to keep trying and are defined by their limits.

  • Some keep trying the same things over and over again and refuse to try something new.

  • Others appear like they’ve got it all sorted and are managing brilliantly; until the day they can’t get out of bed, have a major health scare or some other life-changing event occurs.

  • Others evaluate their actions, progress, options and feelings. They remain flexible and focus on growth / recovery / solutions with purpose.

Tenacity is a powerful life-skill

There are many ways we deny that we are less than happy with our lives; that we feel overwhelmed, and really rather miserable. Tenacity is that quality that has you looking for ways to reboot, restart, and recalibrate. It’s understandable that these times may be quite daunting and somewhat terrifying…in essence, it can feel like starting again.

Those unsure feelings will pass.

Developing your own tenacity will see you coming through these times stronger, better, and more able to get back on track… onto the path of the life you want to live.
Sounds better than giving up, doesn’t it?

What can you do to boost tenacity?

Here are three things you can do right now to help kick start that tenacious aspect of who you are (remember you were once that toddler who always kept trying with enthusiasm).

  1. The 5,4,3,2,1 – GO Agreement
    Don’t feel like doing something? Make an agreement with your mind that once you count down from 5 to 1 and then GO – you will do just that. Whether it’s getting out of bed, or doing the dishes or a task at work, whatever it is – commit to doing it when you say GO. It’s surprisingly effective and you’ll feel your body get ready to begin the task as you do the countdown.
    This comes from Mel Robbins – The 5 Sec Rule. Check her out on YouTube

  2. Forget Motivation
    Develop self discipline instead. Shocking eh? Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do something without needing anyone else to tell you to do it. This is how people stick to long term goals. It’s a particularly handy trait in the isolating, work from home scenario many of us find ourselves in.

  3. Knock over the small tasks
    If it takes less than 3 minutes – do it now. Simple, effective and surprisingly satisfying. Be mindful not to waste time on small menial tasks, and ensure you’re still tackling high priority items.

Tenacity is a life skill that encompasses the spirit and courage of a person. We all have it, we were born with it. Sometimes it might take a more conscious sense of optimism to draw on our natural tenacity. It’s not that life isn’t going to be tough at times. That failure, loss, embarrassment or pain doesn’t hurt a tenacious person…it’s just that their inner voice/critic/child says at the end of the day “Oh well, let’s try again tomorrow.”

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” ― Thomas A. Edison

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