How to Find the Willpower and Perseverance Needed to Achieve a Huge Goal? Have a Quick Chat With ‘Future You’



Steve Jobs believed perseverance was the key to success. According to Jobs:  

I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You pour so much of your life into this thing.

There are such rough moments… that most people give up. I don’t blame them. It’s really tough.

Clearly, Jobs was right. Pushing through failure and adversity to stay the course allows “ordinary” people to accomplish extraordinary things.

But why do a few people keep going when so many others quit? 

Most of them stay focused on the present, since thinking about all the time and effort required to achieve a hard goal can be demoralizing. They utilize the “never less, never more” approach. Or they keep their world small. Or they embrace the 40 percent rule.

But some, even though it sounds counterintuitive, force themselves to think about the future.

That’s what Tyler Pierce did when he and Jeremiah Bishop attempted to ride from a Hawaiian beach to the top of the 14,000 foot Mauna Kea volcano, arguably the world’s hardest gravel climb. (If you aren’t familiar, Tyler is more widely known as Vegan Cyclist, and Jeremiah is a professional mountain biker and coach featured in my book, The Motivation Myth.)

More than ten hours into the ride and still with over two hours to go, Tyler found himself lying by the side of the road: Struggling to overcome exhaustion, extremely thin air at elevation, and — most crucially — nearly crippling mental fatigue.

But instead of just focusing on completing the next section of road, or getting to the next turn, or even just turning the pedals a few more times, Pierce cast his thoughts well into the future.

Here’s Pierce, from the documentary The Impossible Route:

This moment is so rare: That’s the little seed that got planted while laying on the ground pretty much dying. Thinking, ‘I’m not going to have another opportunity to do this.’

It’s like I took my consciousness and put it in the future. ‘Future me’ is going to be so happy I finished this.

So just be ‘future you.’

Bishop, because he’s Jeremiah Bishop, finished in just over nine hours and became the first person ever to complete the climb.

Pierce reached the summit just as the sun was setting to become the second person ever to complete the climb.

“It was so beyond my physical capabilities, so beyond my technical skill set,” Pierce says. “It was very similar to having watched someone be successful, versus being that person.”

Want to be the person who succeeds? Want to achieve what “future you” will be delighted to know you accomplished?

The next time you think you’ve reached your cold-call limit, think about future you and make one more. The next time you think you’ve reached your employee development meeting limit, think about future you and conduct one more. The next time you think you’ve reached your quality double-check limit, think about future you and check one more order. 

Because the future you, unlike the tired and drained and just plain over it “present you,” has the perspective and foresight and wisdom to know what is best for you.

So frame what you need to do today in terms of what your future self will admire.

And then get to work making sure future you will be proud.

Because the opinion that matters, today and tomorrow, is yours.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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An open minded personality.. fun to be with, because of my positive vibes. God fearing, for without God I am nothing.. Moved with compassion when dealing with you, not selfish or self-centered...

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