Tenacity is good but sometimes a different approach is called for

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

So suggested American educator Thomas Payne in his ‘Teacher’s Manual’ published in the first half of the 19th century.

Persistence, he argued, was the name of the game. Stick at things and you’ll get there, was his advice.

I reckon he was largely right.

But only largely.

Whilst there are times when tenacity clearly pays off, now and again it can also be the case that a different approach is called for.

It’ll take you a long time to bang nails in with a screwdriver, for instance, but switch to a hammer and the job will be done in a jiffy.

Someone (it may have been the author Rita Mae Brown, although some suggest it could have been dear old Albert Einstein) said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing day after day and expecting a different result.

So which way is best? Well, both probably.

Focus and perseverance have a lot going for them.

But when things really aren’t working, so does stopping, thinking, and adopting a different approach.

5 thoughts on “Tenacity is good but sometimes a different approach is called for

  1. Persistence against resistance! We have just won an insurance claim (in France) which has spun two years of arguing,paperwork and long periods of cruel silence (from the insurance company). It finally went to the Ombudsman who eventually ruled in our favour. In this instance, we knew were right and the Insurance company were wrong so we persisted against their resistance. They hoped we would give up along the long way as many do but we didn’t as we knew we were not liars and that the only way to achieve justice was to follow it through right to the very end. This is an example where dogged persistence is the right path to follow. Where our mental health is concerned, there isn’t just one path to follow and adopting a different approach is often helpful. There are no set rules with our health and although it seems to me daily that I am fighting a battle with my insomnia, it’s not against the sort of blatant injustice of the corporate world which is in our case was a clearly defined matter of right versus wrong.

  2. Thank you.
    I particularly like Louise’s comment. It has really struck a chord with me, and is something I’m going to try and remember.

  3. I’m very good at the finding the best tool for the job, and taking a step back and stopping when things aren’t working. But I am not so good at the persistent approach. Looking back, most of my failures were failures to persist.

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