For centuries, people have chanted that the most persistent person wins the prize. In this article, I am going to challenge that belief. I assert that it is not persistence that makes the difference. It is the stripping away of beliefs that allows an individual to keep going. While I understand that people in the stands watching a sporting event have opinions about successful athletes. On the field, there is something happening that the fanscannot see. The same applies when people view what they call persistence.
To start, the human brain stores everything it hears, smells and sees in neuropaths. Those neuropaths possess your attitudes and belief systems. When you were born, you were told you could be anything you wanted. However, when you said you wanted to be CEO of a Fortune 500, you may have been told about being realistic. If you were black or Hispanic, you may have been warned that being CEO of a Fortune 500 is so rare for blacks and Hispanics that it’s best to focus on being a doctor or lawyer. Many women may have been told the same. In addition, you were told that women and minorities have to work twice as hard as white males, especially if those males came from affluent families.
This kind of conversation creates cognitive dissonance. That refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. In other words, being told you can be anything you want, but CEO is unrealistic, creates internal conflict and tension. One path is to stay in the conflict and pursue your dreams. The other is to avoid the conflict and take your parents’ advice.
While the cognitive dissonance may have initially started with your parent(s), you inherit the same conflicting thoughts your parents have. Since you trust your parents, you trust they know what they are talking about, even if you believe you can be the exception. (Depending on socioeconomic class, being a doctor or lawyer may appear to be unrealistic. Therefore, the child is told to focus on getting a lower paying job with benefits, for example. By the way, many children are discouraged when they want to be professional athletes.)
To go against your parents is to simultaneously go against conversations stored in your neuropaths. As you can see, this creates a quandary for the individual. As a result, a woman or minority could sabotage a great career because they spent time looking for evidence to prove they can’t be CEO of a Fortune 500. They would seek evidence they have to work twice as hard. Even those two beliefs work against one another. Why?
While the job of CEO is extremely demanding, he or she must be able to delegate. If a woman or minority believes working twice as hard is what got them to the position of CEO, they may believe that is what they have to do to remain in that position. Eventually that person will become overwhelmed because they did not delegate effectively. An overwhelmed CEO could result in a poor performing company and eventually lose their job. There is a saying that the best CEOs work on their companies, not in them.
Furthermore, you may be so exhausted from working twice as hard that you may become disheartened to pursue a higher level of management. So working twice as hard can be a double-edged sword.
What does this have to do with persistence? If a woman or minority was told that being a CEO was unrealistic, they will have mental barriers that stop them from pursuing CEO. While those conversations may be stored in your brain, upon introspection, you will see those thoughts and beliefs are not your own. They are the beliefs of your parents, teachers, media, etc. Therefore, you are not obligated to adhere to them. As you strip away the inherited beliefs of others, you can make a clear path for new thoughts and beliefs. This time they will be the thoughts you choose for your life.
On the other hand, if you never inherited conflicting beliefs, you would have a clear mindset. That mindset would allow you to move through each phase of success in your life with power and alacrity. To the observer, you would look persistent. Contrary to the observer, you would have the advantages of seeing no barriers. The same possibility occurs for the person who strips away inherited barriers. With built in barriers, you spend time being in conflict with them or stripping them away. If you don’t know how to strip them away, you are stuck. Without the barriers, you have freedom and open fields to do what ever you want.
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.