“How can I help you?”
“Hi. I’m calling to confirm my delivery today.”
“Yes, I see you’re on the schedule. They should be arriving any time today between six and six.”
“Ok… I just want to double-check that they will in fact be delivered today. This is the third time the delivery has been scheduled, but no one has ever shown up.”
“Well, you’re on the schedule. They’ll be there today between six and six.”
“Alright… thank you.”
Guess what? They didn’t show up.
Too much trash
Oh, the joys of homeownership.
Where apartment leasing offices and maintenance crews used to handle the minutiae of such chores, these tasks now fall on my shoulders. Which, as an aside, I should point out the fortunate position I’m in to be a homeowner.
It was a lot of work to get here and I’m grateful to have such things to complain about.
Now, back to the topic at hand. We needed new trash cans. Our current ones, ideal for a person living by themselves, did not cut it for our family of three. Overflowing each week, I’d often have to sneak our trash into neighbors’ cans like some kind of criminal.
So, one day I decided to do something about it.
Speaking to our homeowner’s association, I arranged to get a larger set of trash cans for us. Easy enough. They were to be delivered in two weeks. Only, they never arrived. Cutting out the middleman, I then called the trash company directly, explaining the situation.
They apologized for the error and assured me that they had now added me to the schedule.
The new trash cans would be delivered in two weeks from today. Two more weeks of waiting? Fine. Two weeks later, on the day of the scheduled arrival, I called the trash company several times to confirm their delivery.
Each time, I was given the affirmative. And yet, the cans never came.
Around and around we went like this for weeks.
I’d call, they’d apologize, assure me that I was now on the schedule, and send me away. On the promised day of delivery, I’d follow up with them to confirm. They’d check their records and either:
- Have no indication that I was to receive anything that day;
- Tell me that they’d arrive between six and six, but never show up;
- Or, my favorite, tell me that they had already been delivered that day. To which, I would walk outside to find my existing trash cans still sitting there.
A lesser person would have quit. Would have said it wasn’t worth the time or frustration. But not me. I was getting those trash cans. I was not giving up.
Eventually, I got the right person on the phone and held them accountable. I politely asked for their name and confirmed that they were working on the day of the “promised” delivery. Now I had someone in my corner.
Someone that couldn’t plead ignorance. Someone that knew exactly who I was and why I was calling.
It worked. On the specified day, I walked outside to find… yes! The new trash cans! Finally! They stood before our garage, ready to store whatever items we deemed as garbage.
As far as I can tell, no one else in the entire community has this larger set of trash cans, though everyone has the same problem we had. Now, we are the kings of the trash. We are the Joneses. Keep up, if you can.
Tips to keep going (even when everything says to quit)
My story conveys a microscopic example of something we all deal with: wanting to give up when times get tough. In any ambitious undertaking, at some point, the cons begin to outweigh the pros. And it’s in those moments that your resolve becomes so important.
You can listen to the voice and give in.
But, you’ll generally feel like a quitter and will likely think less of yourself. Or, you can push through with determination, ultimately attain your aims, and add another story to your resilience repertoire. A story that will make the next challenge you face that much easier to deal with.
It’s your call; I recommend going with the latter.
That said, here are three ways to be persistent when all indications tell you to quit.
1. Have a system in place
I would have loved to stop working on the trash can problem. To forget about it. To let it slip my mind and fade into nothingness. But, I have a system in place that doesn’t allow for that. And that’s a good thing.
My system doesn’t authorize balls to be dropped or things to be forgotten. Based on the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, I have a Google Doc that houses all of my personal tasks: reminders, one-off chores, things to do, etc.
And part of that doc is a section called Waiting On.
In that section, I list everything that I’m waiting on. Then, when planning out my week on Sunday, I review that list and see what, if anything, needs to be followed up on.
A constant reminder
In the case of the trash cans, I saw that Waiting On item every single week. Burning a hole in my mind, I was constantly reminded about it and followed up on it accordingly.
Now, I could have just removed it from my list, but that would have been an acknowledgment of my giving up, and I wasn’t giving up. Once it’s on the list, it stays there until whatever I’m waiting on has been resolved.
In the case of your own aims, what kind of system can you put into place to keep you both aware of and acting on your objectives? For things you’re waiting on, create something similar as to what I described. For projects in the works, create a document that you check on daily.
Most importantly though, once you’ve committed to it, don’t take it off the list until it’s done.
2. Visualize what you’re after
In the past when things didn’t go the way I had hoped, particularly with my blog (QuickBooost), I would crumble.
Laying in the fetal position, moping for most of the day (or week… or weeks), I would cry to myself about why my launch didn’t perform better. Or why my article didn’t do as I had wanted it to. Or why my email campaign didn’t get the results I had wanted.
Definitely not the healthiest way to handle things, but that was how I dealt with setbacks.
Today though, I don’t find that happening as much. That could be due to a lot of factors. However, I believe it’s because of one thing in particular: visualization.
Throughout the day, I visualize QuickBooost getting to the point that I want it to. In other words, I’m conditioning my mind to believe that what I’m doing is possible. In turn, when encountering setbacks, I don’t fall apart.
Because I’ve been training my mind to believe.
Instead of feeling like this failure is a massive one, I move forward knowing that I tried my best and that I’ll inevitably end up getting to where I want to go.
Your skepticism is valid
I know exactly what you’re thinking right now: That’s stupid. I’m not doing that. That’s exactly how I used to feel about this too.
So, your doubt is fully warranted. All I can tell you is that, in my experience, visualization has helped me develop my resilience and keep me moving forward even when things seemed bleak. If it sounds silly, I totally get it.
And yet, my recent shortcomings haven’t felt as devastating as those in the past. Something I attribute to the practice of visualization. Two books helped me understand this concept better: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
Both require an open mind, just a heads up.
3. Practice gratitude
One of my current goals is to spend at least five minutes each day thinking of things I’m grateful for. The simple reason: to get myself into a positive mental state.
I tend to fall victim to negativity. When I feel blue, overwhelmed, or stressed, everything crumbles around me. We already talked about this though, so no need to mention it again. That said, my gratitude practice serves as a way to cancel out those negative feelings.
In fact, more than just cancel them out, actually change the way I think altogether.
Kind of like when you subtract a negative number it becomes a positive, this practice helps me stay hopeful and optimistic.
Outshine the negative
When you say things to yourself like:
- I’m not good enough;
- It’s never going to work;
- Or I’m a failure, you bring about results that reflect that.
Or if anything, you’ll feel so crummy that you stop trying and fulfill the prophecy that you set for yourself. However, when you say:
- I’m so grateful to have clean air to breathe;
- Money in my bank account to afford the things I desire;
- A roof over my head that I can call home;
- And a beautiful tree outside my window that gives me so much inspiration, you’ll be filled with a positivity that keeps you going.
All to be grateful for
When combined with visualization and a strong system, gratitude serves as an amplifier. Something that will reinforce your mission and make you feel like anything is possible – even when the signs are telling you otherwise (and they will).
When grateful, you don’t see negativity.
Instead, you see a slew of amazing things to be thankful for. It’s powerful and I suggest setting a similar gratitude goal for yourself as the one I mentioned above.
Keep going forward
When going up against adversity, you will want to quit, to give up. But, if you can hang in there, your efforts will be worth it. To help you do so:
- Create a system that enables follow-through;
- Visualize what you want, training your mind to believe in its possibility;
- And remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for (there’s a lot).
These three things won’t make the work any easier, but they will keep you in the game. And that’s a battle in and of itself.
I’m going to go take out the trash.