I’ve always been a big proponent of being persistent. We hear the famous Calvin Coolidge quotation:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

I see people who give up – just short of what would have likely been success. However, I also see people who are “persistent and determined” but are off track in what they are doing.

If you’re losing money on each watermelon you sell, don’t be persistent and determined to sell more. Stop what you are doing and change direction. If you are miserable in your job, persistence may just get you more of what you are already experiencing. Get a coach or attend a seminar. Create a 48Days plan to be in a new position. There is a wealth of information about “seeing” the new opportunities, but you have to go get it. If you are an average tennis player, don’t just persist in your bad form; take some lessons from a pro to learn how to be better. If you want a better marriage, don’t just persist – ask to be mentored by someone who has a great marriage.

Here are some examples of redirecting:

  • If your job provides nothing for you but misery and a meager paycheck, plan to quit and be gone in the next 48 days.
  • If you have been running your business for one year and after expenses it’s only netting you $500 a month, quit and find a new venture.
  • If you started a non-profit ministry and after two years you find that you are spending 80% of your time on administrative work and have no real economic model for continuing, consider linking arms with an established organization.

Winners don’t just persist. They quit quickly and often.

Being persistent is a tactic, but not a strategy. Make sure you have a strategy for the areas of your life where you want to see excellence. Wikipedia defines “strategy” as a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Imagine you are driving a Ferrari at 80 mph headed straight toward San Antonio – but you really want to go to Los Angeles. Accelerating to 120 mph may give you the sense that you are really making progress, temporarily. But what you really need to do is change direction.

Be careful of being “persistent” in the wrong direction. Right direction is more important than persistence.

Article originally appeared at 48days.com. Used with permission.

Dan Miller, President of 48 Days LLC, specializes in creative thinking for increased personal and business success. He believes that meaningful work blends our natural skills and abilities, our unique personality traits and our dreams and passions. Dan is active in helping individuals redirect careers, evaluate new income sources, and achieve balanced living. He believes that a clear sense of direction can help us become all that God designed us to be.

Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays and Wisdom Meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews,' Moody MidDay Connection, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences speaking on aging and changes in the workplace as well as at universities and churches. Over 130,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the 48Days.net business community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love. Book Dan to speak or check out 48 Days products at www.48Days.com.

Committed to personal priorities, Dan and his wife Joanne are approaching their 45th anniversary and have 3 world-changing children and 12 amazing grandchildren.  

What does it mean to be fully alive in your work? Many of us are not yet doing what God put us here to do. Dan looks at the changing work models and outlines a plan for integrating your dreams and your passions into your daily activities. If you’ve ever buried your dreams in an attempt to be “practical” or “realistic,” Dan will show you how embracing those very dreams is the most practical way to enjoy life and achieve the success you’re looking for.

Publication date: February 26, 2013