Perseverance is great, and so is changing course sometimes.

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

So suggested American educator Thomas Palmer 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.

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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.

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