B.L.U.F. – Anything that’s worth doing is going to take time and grit to accomplish. You are guilty of quitting too early. Life is NOT short. Don’t worry how fast you are moving towards your goal, just make sure you are still moving towards it.
(Be honest, how many of you just googled “B.L.U.F.”?)
OK…Any of these sound familiar…
Life is short
Besides these phrases showing up on terrible vacation T-shirts, they also often give us permission to act spontaneously or do something wild and crazy contradicting our normal behavior. But even more often, I find, that people use them to throw their personal and financial goals out the window and end up serving more as tools for self-sabotage. Or even worse, we use them to all out quit. The psychology of quitting is so interesting.
From the moment we set out to reach a goal our mind presents numerous reasons that push us to quit (e.g., fear of failure, fear of success, the existence of obstacles, laziness, failing to believe in ourselves, etc.). The idea to quit remains present in our minds as long as reasons to quit exist, and we tend to have a low threshold. It takes very little struggle, very little sacrifice before the desire to quit overcomes us. And even worse, sometimes we quit right before we reach the tipping point of success….
This story is from the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
The Man Who Quit Too Soon.
“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.
An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught by the ‘gold fever’ in the gold-rush days and went west to dig and grow rich. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel.
After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, and told his relatives and a few neighbors of the ‘strike.’ They got together money for the needed machinery and had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.
The first car of ore was mined and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits.
Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened. The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there. They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again—all to no avail.
Finally, they decided to quit.
They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars and took the train back home. The junk man called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with ‘fault lines.’ His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the Darbys had stopped drilling! That is exactly where it was found! The junk man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.”
LIFE IS NOT SHORT
Odds are in your favor that you will live a LONG time. A key skill to master is the development of grit versus the ease of quitting. Grit is something that you can develop, quitting is all too natural. Our minds are constantly working to get us to quit.
I took this picture while on a family hike in the Appalachian Mountains. It reminds me how patience and consistent growth can literally move mountains. For me this picture epitomizes GRIT!!!
Here are three tips to develop Grit and to battle the psychology of quitting….
1. Failure is Just Practice
Any time you fail, view it as a practice attempt. Deliberate practice means learning as you go, getting feedback from your experience as well as from others and trying again. You are NEVER going to progress towards a goal as fast as you want to. Set goals high, but be ok with the marathon approach. Because after all, life is much longer than you think.
Meeting and reaching financial goals, personal/professional development achievements, or learning to build authentic relationships are ALL LONG-TERM PLAYS that take practice.
Notice I didn’t use the word passion. “Find your passion” is the mantra that we’ve spoiled an entire generation with. Forget Passion. You want purpose.
Purpose is anything you can develop an interest in over long term. Practice is useless if what you’re practicing is something you don’t feel purposeful about or can be highly interested in. Of course, the word passion gets thrown around a lot. What’s important isn’t that you find some natural calling, but instead find something you can readily dive deeper into the more you learn.
The last part of the grit formula is simply time. The ability to be patient. To keep pushing the rock up the hill, even if it is ever so slowly moving. Time to devote yourself to practice, purpose, and developing from failure.The marathon analogy is a real one. Just keep moving forward even if the pace is not as quick as desired.
Interested in reading more about Grit? Check out another piece I wrote called “Are You Gritty?” it has a book and video recommendation in it. I think you’ll enjoy it.