Episode 5 – Persistence
Episode on being ‘persistent’. Learn about ‘Intelligent Persistence’, where you make course corrections to reach your destination. Learn the difference between being persistent and still growing. Going to a mentor helps you stay persistent on your goals.
Rajesh: And this is Rajesh Setty. I’m a serial entrepreneur and author.
Ravi: Fantastic, Rajesh. I’m really glad the way this is going. The fact that we just pick a topic and start recording and the topic that we decided we’re gonna talk today is about persistence.
Rajesh: That’s a great topic, Ravi. The moment you suggested the topic which was 15 seconds ago, I remembered my favorite quote and this has been my guiding light for most of my professional life. This is from Abraham Lincoln and the quote goes like this, “I will prepare and someday my chance will come”.
Ravi: “I will prepare, someday my chance will come”, that’s amazing.
Rajesh: That’s for me-
Ravi: Expand on that a little bit.
Rajesh: – most of the time we know that we start working on a sometimes like a roller coaster ride. Being an entrepreneur, I’m sure we both have experience the roller coaster ride multiple times. So a lot of times we assume things. This will happen. I’ll do this and this will happen, and in case of Abraham Lincoln, as you know, the number of times he failed before he became a President, it’s like a world record there. But he never gave up on preparing. He kept preparing knowing that someday his chance will come. And boy did his chance come. He became the President and he made amazing things happen. But if he didn’t think like, that that I failed here, I failed there, but stopped preparing, that chance would never have come.
Ravi: Or if you’re just focusing on the chance and not the preparation. Because if you just focus on the chance, you just go into this person, can you help me, can you help me, can you help me. A lot of times you’re focusing on the result, which is your preparation, rather than doing what you need to do that makes you a better candidate and the world will recognize, and then the opportunity strikes.
Rajesh: Totally agree.
Ravi: Again, the topic of persistence is he persisted in what he believed in.
Ravi: He didn’t give up when things didn’t happen. So that’s what persistence is, is you just keep at it because of your belief not what the world tells you to believe.
Rajesh: Exactly. We all know the value of timing, especially as entrepreneurs, timing is everything. [inaudible 01:11] many of the entrepreneurs that we know are genius people. Because, I know exactly when to do it and I will pick the exact timing and it will be a rocket ship after that. So until that timing hits what do we do? We just keep doing whatever we are doing and we become better at doing what we are doing. I always believe that one thing is to add value is whatever way we are trying to do… like even in this conversation we are trying to see what should we talk so that it’s valuable to people, or we engage in helping ourselves become somebody that’s gonna add value, better value, in the future. So, either we add value, or we increase our capacity to add more value.
Ravi: I think I want to add the word intelligent persistence. Because simply persisting on something even though if it’s not working is in my opinion madness.
Rajesh: That’s like, running like a hamster in a wheel.
Ravi: Exactly. I want the listeners to get clarified, that persistence does not mean doing things over and over again and expecting different results. Persistence means that you are clear on your end goal, you have a sort of underlying belief in that end goal and your capabilities, but you are smart enough to make the course corrections to get to your destination it’s like, I want to reach the airport. I have an 8 p.m. flight and I leave at 4 p.m. thinking I have sufficiently planned for the commute and the traffic and guso on but sometimes it could be unexpected circumstances. So do you give up? Do you take some side streets and eventually get to the airport? I find people are persistent when it comes to taking a flight but they are not persistent when it comes to achieving a goal whether it is starting a company or achieving a particular milestone. I don’t know what’s about this catching of planes. Everybody’s so stressed out and they make it happen all the time.
Rajesh: It’s basically, if you double-click on it, the end goal is very clear. Either you catch a flight or don’t catch a flight. That’s about it. It’s like black and white, or zero or one kind of thing. But in life not everything is black or white, or not everything is zero or one. How do you become successful as an entrepreneur? There is no zero or one there. There are shades of grey where you can end up. Catch a flight, it’s black. Don’t catch a flight, it’s white. But being an entrepreneur, successful as an entrepreneur, is it good if you build a $10 million company or is it good if you build a lifestyle company? It is so subjective, the life decisions, that’s when the persistence wins because they don’t know. How do you know that you are growing every single day?
Ravi: Exactly. If you set yourself a goal, that you don’t know you’ve achieved, that’s like you are always in that sort of in a grey zone. The thought that comes to my mind is why can’t we make the journey with milestones that are black or white like, I want to write 10 blogs by end of June. I want to write two chapters of my book by end of the year. I want to reach half million-dollar revenue by this time. People can set goals and then be persistent to achieve them, no matter what obstacles come in the way.
Rajesh: I think, as you know, it sounds simple, but why would not people do it… for me, it’s a fear of failure and they don’t want to let themselves down or let those people that have believed them down. So, best is to have a vague goal. Somehow I will make it happen. Sometimes you ask young people, “what do you want to become?” They will say, “I’m still figuring it out”. That way, whatever they become, they can always escape, “I was figuring it out, it was not like” [crosstalk]-
Ravi: There’s no end to it…
Rajesh: There’s no end to it. Just ask them, “Can you make up your mind?” They say, “Yeah! There’s too many things. Let me think about it.” They don’t want to stake a claim. They don’t want to say. If they say, they want to write a book, and you start asking them specific questions, they will wiggle their way out. They will say… when do you want to write a book? They say that, “Yeah! I’m busy. My kids are going to college”. They will tell so many things but they won’t say an exact date.
Ravi: I agree with you, because like you said, people are afraid to be pointed at that they didn’t achieve something.
Rajesh: Correct. Easiest way is, I’ll work hard, somehow I will keep working, and because I didn’t set that exact date, even if I’m failing, I won’t know it.
Ravi: I won’t know this and nobody knows it because I haven’t committed to it. So maybe what we should probably do is that goal should result in loss of something. Let’s say [crosstalk]-
Rajesh: If stakes are high.
Ravi: – the stakes are high. This plain stake is high. What if, for example, you’re telling me that I should write a book and I have to write a book. I have so much in my head, I hope somebody will one day read that. What if I said, if I don’t finish three chapters by the end of July, I’m going to stop eating ice cream for a whole month.
Rajesh: Yes, that’s a good… believe me, that’ll work.
Ravi: Because I’m losing something!
Rajesh: … if ice cream is your favorite thing to eat. In case I don’t like ice creams, I will give up ice creams, then it’s cheating.
Ravi: Exactly. If you talk to… especially in India, and I am sure there is a part of a culture here also that when they go to a highly spiritual city, they’re supposed to give up what they like the most, not like I don’t like mangoes so let me give mangoes. So, it is about overcoming your desire. So, I think, if people attach their goal to something that they really value and that they will not get it if they don’t achieve the goal, I think, then they are more likely to be persistent, they’re more likely to stay focused because they’re going to lose something that they really love.
Rajesh: Yeah, that’s one definite good idea. The other good idea is going back to, [inaudible 09:18] mentoring which, I think, plays a big role in being persistent because you have a mentor and you just confide with him or her like, “This is what I want to achieve”. What happens in the next mentoring session? First thing that the mentor will ask is, “What have you done about it?” I find this in myself because when I talk to my mentors, they say, “The call is on Sunday”. On Saturday, how much ever busy I am, I wake up, the demon in me wakes up and say, “Oh my God, I have a call”, and I don’t want to let my mentor down. I’ll just try to catch up everything. So Saturday will be the catch all. So, that also helps.
Ravi: And I also want to define some rules when to be persistent because if you just say, “Be persistent”, “Okay, how do I know that when to be persistent?” I think, certain things that I’ll be telling entrepreneurs when I talk to them is, “Are you seeing traction in the marketplace? Are you drinking your own cool aid? Or, are other people, who are completely neutral to this, saying good things about your product? It’s true with Mentor Club, personally. Early on, I was drinking my own cool aid. I was saying mentoring is going to change the world, everything. But, very few people really got what it was. Now, what keeps me persistent on this journey is when some unknown person hears the story and tells me, and not only tells me just to be nice, they’re willing to pay you, they’re willing to endorse you, they’re going to put their name behind it. So, when to be persistent? One of the key things, and I would like you to… second one is, are you getting the traction that you’re expecting from people that are outside of your core circle, which is one good check mark to say. If that answer is “Yes” in the last one week, last two weeks, last one month, then it’s worth being persistent. What’s the second one?
Rajesh: Very good point. In fact, I want to go to the philosophical aspect of it. See, you mentioned one thing in the beginning of the conversation, [inaudible 11:28] just not one want to be randomly persistent but intelligently persistent. Just make sure you’re doing it the right way. Not because, everyone is just banging my head to the wall for no reason kind of thing. How do you know that you are intelligently persistent? One easy way for me is if you’re growing in whatever you are doing, then it’s the right way. But, how do you know you are growing? Now, that comes to… because it’s very subjective, right? If you are growing, you will increase your power. Now, philosophical terms. What is power? Power is a capacity to get things done. So, last year, if it took you eight months to write a book, but if you are intelligently persistent and learning how to write a book, this year, the same book should take you 6 months… similar book. That means, you have increased your power. Second, that’s internal. External aspect of power is very simple. In your area of core expertise, are you getting high stakes request from people that matter to you and people that are competent enough?… That may suppose that you’re good at defining go-to market strategies, how to take a product to market.
Ravi: And somebody asks you for help in that area, that means they are responding to what you know.
Rajesh: Exactly. Somebody, who is already competent, asks you for things that they could have solved it themselves but they respect your opinion and they think you can add more value to them. So, if you start watching, first is your own capacity to get things done, second is you watch how the market is looking at you and do they feel that you can add value but it has to be from competent… it can’t be from your brother, sister, mother or all those people because they love you, but it has to be somebody competent who is saying, “Let me ask. Wow! I think he is an expert in this. I would love to…”, and then they pay, not pay, that’s a different story. The request has to be high stakes. That shows that your persistence is paying off.
Ravi: Correct, because whatever area that you want to establish mastery, whether it is an entrepreneurship or as an expert in a particular domain at work, or you want to be a speaker, that means those efforts are paying off because high stakes request will not come if those efforts were not going anywhere, right? So, let’s recap. Being intelligently persistent is extremely important, that you’re seeing traction to your efforts, and one of the traction is you’re getting those high stake requests, and also the power to get more things done.
Rajesh: Correct. Exactly. So, that’s a good recap of what is persistent. I think, this topic… we have to have one more conversation at some point in time because it’s so broad and then, it can be easily misunderstood also, that they are not going anywhere but they will say, “I’m persistent”, and they go nowhere.
Ravi: Exactly. In fact, maybe let’s talk next time about when not to be persistent.
Rajesh: Yeah, that’ll be good.
Ravi: Because sometimes, when you define what is not, then, what is becomes very obvious.
Rajesh: Very clear. To close it, do you have any final comments?
Ravi: Yeah, I mean, I think as individuals, as human beings with big dreams, we have to be persistent on something. We cannot let the world fall in our lap. We have to be drivers. We have to be persistent to achieve something that we love, that we feel significant, and that we feel value we have used our time, that god given time, in a very productive way.
Rajesh: Yeah [crosstalk]
Ravi: What that area is, is kind of left to the audience.
Rajesh: Exactly. My final comment, I wanted to go back to mentoring which is, suppose, you feel that you make a self-assessment and you feel that you should have been persistent but you’re not. It’s not a weakness to go to your mentor and say, “I need some help here.” They are there to help you. Just hold you accountable and channel your energy so that if you’re sleeping away and then giving BS excuses and everything, they can tune you up and make sure that you’re on the right path.
Ravi: Absolutely. Well, I really enjoyed the conversation on persistence. Well, we have been persistent here because we are enjoying it, we are seeing good response from people. We’re onto the 5th episode right now. Rajesh, thank you very much. You can find more about Ravi and mentor club, at mentorclub.com.
Rajesh: Thanks again, and this is Rajesh, signing off and you can see more about me on my blog rajeshshetty.com/blog.
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