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. This study aimed to challenge the current educational system to shift from what was introduced 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 self-control habits could transform students’ experience and school achievement.

So how does a study on children’s academic performance relate to my fundamental questions regarding 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 with which we can integrate this philosophical analysis into our personal and professional lives. Let me explain.

We are all born with an innate form of tenacity. Studies show that the extent to 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. To better understand your level of tenacity, you need to know who you truly are.

According to the Academic Tenacity study, individuals 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 valued learning, overlooking smart. They typically perceive challenges and setbacks as opportunities to learn and saw the effort as a virtuous call to try new strategies.

Tested theories show that individuals with long-term or higher-order goals have an increased sense of tenacity. They are people who work with purpose and know they’ll contribute something of value to the world – no matter what! They understand 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

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 knowledge. They believe increasing your tenacity is as simple as shifting your belief in yourself and that failure is just a step in the process. They are not afraid to try something new or even try harder. Instead, they trod new paths, meet new people, and learn some new moves.

Are you ready to live tenaciously, or are you already a persistent bee? How about using the 12 Universal Laws to tap into a higher form of tenacity? I’ve blissfully interpreted the Laws adding in my bit of wisdom in how you can live a more tenacious life.

Divine Openness – 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!

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 are dumb and lack ability. Instead, I suggest you 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.

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

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. So, when you encounter obstacles, find your path, and continue to flow.

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! HINT: Checkout you Law of Vibration wish list.

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.

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.

Law of Attraction – Radiate tenacity, and you will captivate like souls. Are you ready to pay it forward? Lead by example, and your gumption will move others; they will have no choice but to follow suit and teach others. See, you’ve started a tenacity revolution? Welcome to the club.

Law of Transmutation – Resist change, and you resist growth. If you have a fear of failure, what you have is a fear of growth. What are you really afraid of? That you’re not good enough? Smart enough? Do you lack experience? You’re right, now sit and wallow in your inability. While you’re sitting in the pity pool, think about why you’re afraid? Are you looking less than perfect? Consider this, when you fall on the ice, presuming you’re not knocked unconscious, how do you react? Are you embarrassed? Absolutely!

However, 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 laughing 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-of-a-mess who kept trying then in my kitchen, in my office, or on my yacht feeling unhappy.”

Law of Relativity – Learn from strife and failure! Truly tenacious people try, fail, plan, try 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 renegade and fail forward.

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 boss say something dumb? Don’t stew over it; instead, replace the idea with a vision of you body surfing through big strong waves. Trust me. It works; I can’t remember what my boss said to upset me; the memory is gone.

Law of Rhythm – Shit happens. This is the old 90-10 rule; life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.

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. Are you 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. When I examined the attributes that truly make a person tenacious, I found persistence and tireless dedication to the cause.  

I’ve accepted that I’m as dumb as a fox and regularly remind my kids that while I’ve failed at 95% of the things I’ve tried, the 5% I’ve achieved – I’ve EPOCHLY achieved!

I love the Chumbawamba song; it’s not the life story of bozo the clown but instead a tribal cry for the tenacious; I get knocked down, but I get up again, nothings ever gonna keep me down! Little kids understand this, do you?