Silver bullet fables – part 2 – persistence

Another silver bullet approach to managing your life or career is to persist, no matter what, until you succeed.

It sounds so, simple, and so reasonable, that it is no wonder that so many sincerely motivated people follow this path to eventual meltdown or worse.

Let me give you some examples to illustrate the folly of using persistence as a silver bullet for dealing with life and its challenges. Persistence as a silver bullet solution is like continuing to drive down the road long after you have lost your sense of direction.

It’s like saying to yourself, "If I just keep on driving, I will eventually arrive where I want to be."

Some real life examples include:

Persisting on a career course without noticing that your spouse and children have started creating a life elsewhere without you.

Continuing to share your expertise in some area and failing to notice that your listener’s eyes are glazing over.

Continuing to push some product or service on a potential customer without fully understanding their objections to doing business with you.

Continuing to work a full schedule even though you are sick and your judgment is impaired.

I have done all of these, of course, and have survived to go on to better things in the end, but the lesson to be learned is that there is no silver bullet which can be used to resolve all situations. Persistence is vital, but must be tempered with observation and course corrections where necessary.

I caused a fire yesterday that burned a half acre of underbrush next to my new home because I was ignoring the fact that I was not really healthy and in possession of my full faculties.  If it had not been for some helpful neighbors and two volunteer fire departments, I would not be writing this post today.

I have been under the weather with a very heavy cold and I have kept on working and producing as though I was healthy. My respiratory distress and the coughing was a constant distraction and my effective IQ was probably around 45.

So when I went to empty a bin full of "cold" ashes, I did not take the usual precautions and put them safely in a steel ash barrel, because it was already full. I took the ashes, which had been sitting on the hearth for several hours after Gretchen had cleaned the stove, and poured the pile of ashes at the edge of our cleared yard. I stowed everything neatly away and went back to work.

About an hour later, I noticed that the woods were on fire and called the fire department. At that same moment, two neighbors drove up and jumped out to help me contain the fire as best we could.

It took another hour and a dozen fire fighters to put out the fire which I had caused by my neglect of my usual safety precautions. In retrospect, I can see that I had set myself up for it by continuing to work and carry on without recognizing that I was judgment-impaired because of my health.

Like driving and drinking or while using a cell phone, managing a business or your life while physically under the weather is putting yourself at risk.

Persistence, tempered with cautious observation, is probably a safer course to follow.

If any of my comments have struck a chord in your life, you might want to see what is actually going on before you follow any of my examples.

I plan on a reduced schedule with frequent side-checks from Gretchen before I return to the normal full-tilt assault on life.

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