One thing that fascinates me about blogging is how every post is an experiment itself.
You carefully choose the topic, take some time for writing and select a powerful title.
And then, right before you publish, you have a gut feeling that the post will attract a lot of readers or not. And almost every time, you’ll be surprised by the result.
If your goal is e.g. to attract more people for your writing and you publish day by day or week by week there seems to be a really thin line between trying hard and succeeding in reaching more people. One day your post reaches a couple of thousand readers and the other day it reaches tens of thousands.
Being persistent with what you do seems to be key in making things work successfully and finding what you love doing. And I have found this to be valid for almost everything in life.
University professor Cal Newport describes this nicely in his “formula of success“:
Success-of-a-project = Project-Potential * Serendipitous-Factors
Project-Potential is the rareness/value of your skills and Serendipitous-Factors cannot be controlled or predicted. The chances of encountering high serendipity can be increased by launching more experiments.
“Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love. If you subject yourself to that constraint, it will automatically push you away from things you think you’re supposed to work on, toward things you actually like. “Always produce” will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.
A lot of times being persistent is getting easier over time when skills, knowledge or reputation increase but extremelly hard when you are just starting out.
5 things that help me with being persistent in writing, fitness and projects:
- Clear Goal
I have found persistence to be easier to achieve when you have a clear goal in mind. I frequently use KPIs and software like Geckoboard.com or Ducksboard.com to keep track of progress. This forces me to break down big goals into day-by-day steps.
As the saying goes:
“you can’t manage what you can’t measure”
- Long-Term Goal
This is constantly referred to as the “focus on the Line-not-Dot” debate. It really helps to set a goal for say 3 months and then not pay too much attention to single events (positive or negative) within that timeframe. It’s just too easy to get sidetracked by improper Analytics over a short period of time or negative comments by critics. I wrote about this in one of my last posts.
- Continous Progress
Even if your motivation is down, getting a single task done on a project is a really powerful mechanism of getting things done continously.
- Always be shipping
Make shipping a habit. Be it a blog-post, a sound-clip or a project. Making sure you ship regularly will help you learn faster by feedback and avoid the perfection-trap. This will help you stay motivated by creating momentum in your life.
Helping others with what you learn on the way and talking to others (users / readers / peers) is really rewarding. I first encountered this feeling with a small open-source tool I wrote for myself that eventually attracted some users who found it really helpful.
What are your hacks to be persistent with what you do? Do you have a good example where persistence led to success for you or others? Love your thoughts on this!
Image-Credit: 500px.com (Tim Tadder)