Sir Thomas Allen: Overcoming Challenges to Achieve Success
Sir Thomas Allen is an opera singer known for his vocal and acting prowess on the operatic stage. He was born in a working-class mining town in north-east England, where most people grew up to become a miner or involved in heavy industry. Growing up in a community where a career in the arts was not looked upon, he had to deal with peer pressure and criticisms from neighbors. However, he worked even harder to become a great opera singer.
Allen’s story is one of resilience and determination, but it is not without its challenges. Like all successful people, Allen had to overcome disappointments and failures in life. However, it is usually only their successes that are celebrated and remembered by the public. This illusion causes expectations of success in an unrealistically short time, and creates a negative bias towards our own results in life.
The Want for Instant Results Is Inborn
The desire for instant results began when we were just babies. By simply crying loud enough, babies could get attention, food, or someone to play with. As babies got older, the expectation of having their needs instantly fulfilled never really went away. Even adults seek instant rewards, but the methods have just changed from crying to be fed to heading to the nearest fast food outlet.
It’s the same with information. Years ago, to properly research a subject, you would have spent hours or days perusing the reference section at your local library. Nowadays, due to the power of the internet, you expect online search results to instantly display on your device.
Sure, fast food outlets and the internet have some positive benefits. But if you’re not careful, they can also lead you into a mental trap — always wanting to see results appear as rapidly as possible.
Sadly, not everything can be as instant as eating fast food. Some things in life take time.
Things Never Get Easier When You Switch to Others
The idea that things will get easier and better because of switching to other things is a fantasy. Sure, the instant pleasure of giving up for another option might feel good at first, but unless it’s moving you forward to a bigger goal, then it may actually be hindering you. By taking a short-term benefit, most people end up sacrificing their long-term goals and happiness.
Bottlenecks and problems are everywhere. Even if you switch from one goal to another, you’ll still be constantly faced with challenges and difficulties. They never go away. So it’s better to stick to your guns—rather than throwing them away every time you hit a bad patch.
How to Resist Giving Up
It’s not easy to resist the desire for instant results making us want to give up, but here’s what you can do to stay motivated:
1. Widen your perspective and draw out the big picture in your head
Realize that we only see a big fluctuation at the moment issues arise—but we’re probably missing the big picture. Journeys to major successes are likely to be long and time-consuming. If we reach a disappointment during the journey, it’s most likely to only be a small dip on an upward-trending pathway. Accept that you’ll constantly be presented with examples of people around you getting awards, receiving applause, looking successful, etc. This is really tough, but try to celebrate their success, rather than letting it remind you of your failures.
2. Put the incremental progress before your eyes
Lasting progress is typically only made through incremental steps. Small, smart choices + consistency + time = Radical Difference.
Small, Smart Choices. Take big tasks and break them into smaller components. This is a great technique to use when you feel that you’re not making any progress.
Consistency. Make everyday’s small choices count. For example, are you using your mornings to be productive? Many successful people work on their health and fitness before breakfast. Whether they choose to run around a local park, or exercise at a gym, they have made a habit of putting their physical strength and stamina to the top of their daily to-do list.
Time. Progress takes time. The small and smart choices you make every day will be accumulated into something great in a month, and a year.
If you only focus on the outcome you want, you may have difficulty visualizing the progress you’ve made so far. To overcome this, always keep a record of what you’ve done and celebrate small wins. By doing this, you give yourself feedback and recognition that can help you to stay driven and on track. As already mentioned, difficulties will appear on your journey towards success. However, by recognizing your small wins, this will keep you from falling into the ‘no results now’ trap.
It’s a Continuous Battle
It may look like it’s easier to switch to something else at that moment, but in fact, it only makes the future path even more difficult.
All successful people have gone through a lot of tough times to become what they are today. If you want to become successful, put my advice into action and you will be resistant to giving up.