The Art of Living Lost: Harnessing the Power of Tenacity

IMG_8980 (1)A few months ago I was asked to write an e-learning module about the Power of Tenacity; as I contemplated the topic, I wondered what makes a person tenacious?  Are you born with tenacity or is it a learned characteristic?  If we are born with the ability to be tenacious, how do we tap into it?  It was with these questions in mind that I started my research.

In 2014, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored a study titled Academic Tenacity Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning.  The goal of this study was to challenge the current educational system to, shift from what material was taught and how it is taught, to a more psychological approach.  Specifically, the research showed that understanding motivational or non-cogitative factors such as the students’ beliefs about themselves, their feelings about school or their habits of self-control could transform students’ experience and achievement in school.

So how does a study on children’s academic performance relate to my fundamental questions about tenacity?  As it turns out, the report was quite clear in demonstrating how mindsets, goals and self-control factor into a student’s success.  More surprising was the ease in which I integrated this philosophical analysis into my personal and professional life.   Let me explain.

We are all born with an innate form of tenacity.  Studies show that the extent in which you live tenaciously is related to how you grow to view yourself, visualize longer-term or higher-order goals and withstand challenges and setbacks.  Simply put, to better understand your level of tenacity, you need to know who you truly are.

According to the Academic Tenacity study, people with a fixed mindset believe their ability is a limited entity and they tend to worry about proving it versus improving it.  Likewise, individuals exhibiting the growth mindset greatly valued learning over looking smart.  They typically perceive challenges and setbacks as opportunities to learn and saw effort as a virtuous call to try new strategies.

Tested theories show that people with long-term or higher-order goals have an increased sense of tenacity.  People who work with purpose know they’ll contribute something of value to the world – no matter what!  They understanding timing and exercise self-control, realizing you must rise above the distractions of the moment, stay on task and navigate obstacles to achieve long-term success.

The study also implies that tenacity is fueled by attitude.  Tenacious people are not derailed by difficulty, be it intellectual or social.  Instead they transcend momentary setbacks to focus on long-term wisdom, remaining engaged while conceptualizing and deploying new goal-attaining strategies.  Setbacks and mistakes are a call to increase perseverance leading to personal and professional growth.

Tenacious people are life-long-learners.

So how do you amp-up your inner tenacity?  First, you need to know who you are; do you have a fixed or growth mindset?  The following checklist will help:

  Fixed Mindset   Growth Mindset
Intellectual ability is a limited entity Intelligence can be increased
I can prove I’m smart I’m always improving
I failed because I’m dumb Maybe I need to try harder
I avoid failure at any cost I’m focused on learning and improving
I’m focused on short-term concerns I see what it takes to achieve my goals
I view setbacks as a lack of ability Intelligence expands with hard work
When I fail, I withdraw my effort Motivation trumps failure
I’m very competitive I enjoy peer interaction and support

Got it?  Remember, your mindset determines your level of tenacity.  Individuals with a fixed mindset focus on performance as a way of proving one’s ability while folks with a growth mindset embrace learning as a way of improving one’s ability.  Increasing your tenacity is as simple as shifting your belief in yourself.  You need to believe failure is a step in the process. You can’t be afraid to try something new or even just try harder. You must tread new paths, meet new people and learn some new moves.  If I can do it, you can do it!

So are you ready to live tenaciously or are you already a persistent bee?  Let’s try something new; how about using the 12 Universal Laws to tap into a higher form of tenacity?  I’ve blissfully interpreted the laws adding in my own bit of wisdom on how you can live a more tenacious life.

  1. Divine Oneness – We are universally connected. Everything we say and do affects others.  So start a wave of tenacity!  Live a life full of experiences that challenge you, as you grow and learn a ripple will occur and others will benefit from your experiences!
  1. Law of Vibration — You are what you vibrate! If you believe you failed because you are dumb or lack ability, you’ll never attract what you need to succeed because you already have the answer, you’re dumb and lack ability.  Instead, look beyond your short-term anxieties and focus on longer-term goals.  You don’t have long-term goals (hopes and dreams)?

Start your list now – I’ll wait.

  1. _____________________________________________________________________________
  2. _____________________________________________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________________________________________

Once you understand your higher order purpose you’ll be presented with the tools and a glimpse of the roadmap you need to succeed.   Have fun,

  1. Law of Action – Don’t just think it, live it! Yes, good things come to those who wait — but it doesn’t say sit and wait.  Tenacity is like a river flowing, when the water reaches a tree or a rock, it splits and continues to flow.  When you meet obstacles find a new path and continue to flow.
  1. Law of Correspondence – Does you outside match your inside? You meet people every day that seem to have it all, a nice house, fancy car, and beautiful clothes yet they’re miserable.  Their relationships are in disarray, work is un-fulfilling and loneliness abounds.  It’s impossible to be tenacious about things that don’t make your heart soar.  Find your inner joy, do it now!

HINT: Checkout your Law of Vibration wish list.

  1. Law of Cause and Effect – You reap what you sow. When you share your faith, joy and insight others flourish.  When working on a team, your wish to keep up with others and be a valued participant requires tenacity.  Believe in yourself, in your abilities and project positivity and the effectiveness of your team expands.
  1. Law of Compensation – Live tenaciously and watch your spirits grow! By now you have some tenacity tips under your belt; go ahead live a life full of learning, and benefit from the wisdom of your mistakes.  Along the way you’ll meet like-minded people that enrich your journey.
  1. Law of Attraction – Radiate tenacity and you will captivate like souls. Are you ready to pay it forward?  Lead by example and others will be so moved by your gumption they will have no choice but to follow suit and teach others.  See, you’ve started a tenacity revolution?  Welcome to the club.
  1. Law of Transmutation – Resist change and you resist growth. If you have a fear of failure what you really have is a fear of growth.  What are you really afraid of?  That you’re not good enough?  Smart enough?  Lacking in experience?  You’re right, now sit and wallow in your inability.  While you’re sitting in the pity pool think about what you’re afraid of?  Looking less than perfect?  Think about this, when you fall on the ice, presuming you’re not knocked unconscious, how do you react?  Embarrassed?  Absolutely!  Most people assess the situation, check parts for functionality and then get up and continue on their way. You took another three steps and fell again?  Repeat step one then giggle nervously.  Are you giggling so hard you can’t get on your feet?  Did you pee yourself just a little?  Who cares?  Face your fears and say “fear, I pee’d myself in public there is nothing you can do to hurt me – I’d rather be a bit-o-mess who kept trying then in my kitchen, in my office, or on my yacht feeling unhappy.”
  1. Law of Relativity – Learn from strife and failure! Truly tenacious people try, fail, plan, try again (and again, and again), and then succeed.  Whether it’s a new sales and marketing strategy or a new dating website, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Be a reneged and fail forward.
  1. Law of Polarity – Understand the benefits of the bait and switch. Even the happiest, most positive, person gets “knocked down” and sometimes it’s hard to “get up again”.  Practice the bait and switch technique, if a situation or person gets you down; replace your negative or sad thoughts with something positive. Did your sister, friend, neighbor say something dumb?  Don’t stew over it; instead replace the thought with a vision of you body surfing through big strong waves.  Trust me it works; I can’t remember what was said to upset me, the memory is gone.
  1. Law of Rhythm – Shit happens. This is the old 90-10 rule; life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?  Fixed folks over think and withdraw.  They think “I tried, I failed, I was embarrassed so I’m not going to try again”.  Growth minded folks do exactly the same thing they just don’t live there forever.  Instead they think, I tried, I failed, and I’m embarrassed, how could I have done that better?  Then they try again.
  1. Law of Gender – Patience grasshopper. Learning to be tenacious takes time.  If you plant the seeds of desire today, and start or continue to lead a tenacious life, the fruits of your labor will bloom.  Confused?  Let me put it to you this way, tenacious people are in it for the long haul; failure, planning, learning, really learning all take time.  Stick with it; see where the path leads you.

I used to think I was the poster child for tenacity.  In the face of hardship, I plowed right through, climbed over or clawed my way around.  I believed tenacity was a reaction to adversity, COMPLETELY MISSING that it takes tenacity to achieve such joyous goals such as wife and mother.  Folks, when I examined the attributes that truly make a person tenacious, I found persistence and a tireless dedication to the cause.

I recently told my kids that while I’ve failed at so many of the things I’ve tried, where I’ve succeeded,  I’ve EPOCHLY succeeded!  Learning this, really understanding and believing this, has been one of my GREATEST Lost to Joy Moments!