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Breakthrough
"Productive insight; clear (often sudden) understanding of a complex situation."  Free Dictionary

Pop the bubble of conditioned thinking and emerge into the creative realm of "no absolutes," continuous change, uncertainty and unlimited possibilities.

Then, there can be innovation, adaptation and optimal performance.
Performance and Open-minded Mindfulness
Open-minded:questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty.  

Mindful: consciously aware; concentrated. 

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.

Breakthrough
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VOLUME VII ISSUE NO. 2 | FEBRUARY 2015 

Perseverance: Keep on Keeping on

By George Pitagorsky

To accomplish anything of real importance, whether it is completing a project or sustaining a committed relationship, requires perseverance.

Perseverance means applying continued effort to achieve something, despite difficulties or delays; it is the expression of determination. 

 

"No one succeeds without effort... Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance." ~ Ramana Maharshi


"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." ~ Albert Einstein

 

With a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish, your intentions, you apply effort. For significant intentions, if you expect that your intention and initial effort will accomplish your goals, you may and probably will be disappointed. Most often, it will require a sustained effort and you will face barriers. Your ability to persevere in the face of the barriers is a critical success factor.

 

Barriers

There are many barriers that get in the way of accomplishment. They may be:

  • Distractions that cause loss of interest
  • Frustrations caused by external delays, for example, receiving an approval from someone before being able to proceed or loss of resources (money, people, materials, etc.) needed to get work done.
  • Frustrations caused by your own mistakes or that of others
  • Conflicts
  • Getting tired and lazy to the point of giving up
  • Doubting that the original intention is still worth the effort.

 

Each of these must be addressed. In fact, addressing them is often where the most effort is needed to accomplish the goal. In a project, getting the work done to build a house, paint a picture or put on an event requires effort but it's the kind of effort that is expected and comes relatively easy.

 

Handling distractions, frustration, and lethargy requires the kind of emotional energy that is much harder to sustain.

 

Perseverance applies to both of these types of effort, the direct effort to get the work done and the effort to dissolve the barriers.

 

Managing Distractions

Distractions may be thoughts, day dreams, new ideas, new project opportunities, attractive people, places or things. Managing them requires mental discipline. Doubts are also distractions. They are ideas that may be useful but can get in the way of persevering. Tiredness and laziness are additional distractions that require a conscious effort to overcome, including the effort to pull back from the work to take a rest and recoup your energy.

 

Consciously decide which distractions you will let divert you from your goal. That means seeing when distractions come up, evaluating them and then either letting them go, bringing your attention back to your goal or going off in another direction. Either choice is OK if it is made consciously, knowing the implications of your choice.

 

You do not have to persevere.

A new and better opportunity can arise and justify your dropping of the first one. However, if that happens regularly and you rarely finish anything, it might be a sign that you need to improve your ability to sustain interest in one thing, even when it becomes boring.

 

There are three stages in projects as well as in relationships.

 

The first phase is characterized by excitement.

 

In the second stage, the excitement fades in the face of the hard work of actually getting things done and going beyond the wishful thinking that all will all be easy and fluid. It takes work to sustain excitement and motivation during this stage. It is here that juicy distractions will take you off on a tangent or cause you to completely drop your project in favor of a new and exciting one.

 

The third stage is completion. The goal is in sight, most of the hurdles are behind you and the result is going to be a good one. Perseverance is motivated by the taste of victory or the pleasure of the sustained relationship that has been built.

 

There are no solid lines between the stages. They flow into one another. Depending on the situation, there may be flare-ups of excitement during phase two. This is particularly true in long term projects and relationships where there are milestones to be celebrated and change to be managed. 

 

Perseverance makes use of the energy of excitement and the attraction of a happy, fulfilling ending, including the joys of a long term relationship.

 

Managing Conflict and Frustration

Conflict and frustration are different kinds of barriers. Conflict can be about the goal, the approach to achieving it, or any of the details. It can be emotion based or content based. 

 

Frustration arises when our desires or preconceived ideas are thwarted.

 

Pema Chodrun says "We can put our whole heart into whatever we do; but if we freeze our attitude into for or against, we're setting ourselves up for stress. Instead, we could just go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead." This kind of open-ended inquisitiveness captures the spirit of enthusiasm, or heroic perseverance.

 

This idea of going forward with inquisitiveness, not being bound by preconceived beliefs or positions, is the attitude that lets a person or group break through or avoid unhealthy conflict and the frustration that comes with holding onto preconceived, unfounded beliefs and positions.

 

Don't think that conflict is a barrier to success. Healthy conflict is an asset, not a barrier. Healthy conflict is needed to make sure the optimal designs and plans are agreed upon, the most effective approach is used; the relationships are healthy.

 

Attitude

The right attitude helps in the struggle to overcome the barriers. For example, you can think that no matter how serious it is, it is all a game, a play. The game is an important one, but it is still a drama in which you have a part. You master your role.

 

You can also cultivate the attitude that each moment, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, is an opportunity to excel and to learn from your experience. That attitude fuels perseverance. It allows you to get through the difficult barriers and avoid them in the future

 

Knowing when to Quit

Perseverance is a great asset, but as with everything, there can be too much of a good thing.

 

At some point, in some situations, it becomes clear that keeping on is just foolish. You make a conscious decision and may decide to persevere or you may decide to stop and turn your attention to something else.

 

There is no one right answer. In a commercial project you might choose to persevere because you realize that the effort is worth the reward.

 

If you are committed to fulfilling a vow, that has a different flavor, where perseverance is to fulfill the vow or let it go. Here, it is about whether the vow still makes sense for you. With commercial projects, there are objective criteria. With vows and resolutions, it is mostly subjective.

 

If your overriding personal project is to be unconditionally happy, serving your needs and the needs of others, then you would probably persevere no matter what gets in the way.

 

Taking it Home

It is all up to you. If you choose to persevere you choose to expend the effort to accomplish your goals and fulfill your intentions and resolutions. 


 

The result, when perseverance is healthy and a conscious choice is the satisfaction of knowing you have accomplished something important. You have overcome the barriers and taken control of your life.

 

2015 George Pitagorsky                                                 Top

Performance and Open-minded Mindfulness

Open-minded: 

questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty.  
 
Mindful:
 consciously aware; concentrated. 

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.

 Learn More
Managing Conflict in Projects
By George Pitagorsky
Managing Conflict in Projects: Applying Mindfulness and Analysis for Optimal Results by George Pitagorsky charts a course for identifying and dealing with conflict in a project context.

Pitagorsky states up front that conflict management is not a cookbook solution to disagreement-a set of prescribed actions to be applied in all situations. His overall approach seeks to balance two aspects of conflict management: analysis based on a codified process and people-centered behavioral skills.

The book differentiates conflict resolution and conflict management. Management goes beyond resolution to include relationship building that may serve to avoid conflict or facilitate resolution if it occurs.

 

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The Zen Approach to Project Management 
By George Pitagorsky

Projects are often more complex and stressful than they need to be. Far too many of them fail to meet expectations. There are far too many conflicts. There are too few moments of joy and too much anxiety. But there is hope. It is possible to remove the unnecessary stress and complexity. This book is about how to do just that. It links the essential principles and techniques of managing projects to a "wisdom" approach for working with complex, people-based activities.

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