Fall Seven Times…
And Stand Up Eight
I recently saw a conversation with Ed Sheeran who said that he had been rejected by every record company once and by his current record company TWICE before they finally signed him. He’s so talented and successful that it’s hard to believe.
What’s even more impressive is his perseverance. He inspires me to keep going, even when the going gets tough. Most of us assume that determination, willpower, drive and focus are the critical components of perseverance, and while they are important, there is another crucial element—dopamine.
Research shows that higher levels of dopamine drive some people to continue to pursue their goals while lower dopamine levels cause others to give up. Dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone, that when released in response to an activity, makes us feel good and want to do more of what’s creating that positive feeling.
To ramp up your perseverance while pursuing joy, look for little wins along the way that produce dopamine. For example, set mini goals, instead of one big target, so that when you achieve them, you get hits of dopamine. Have a checklist of things that you want to accomplish every morning and check them off your list to release dopamine. Look at everything you achieve and acknowledge it. Engage in puzzles, brainteasers and games that enable you feel accomplishment. Each success triggers dopamine.
Perseverance doesn’t have to be drudgery. Balance it with dopamine, and it can actually be fun.