If You Keep Doing What You’ve Always Done……

I recently had a very enlightening conversation with a young athlete. She is a runner who is working hard to improve her time. I am not an athlete; but as a motivational speaker, I gave her my thoughts on how she should just keep practicing and eventually she would break through the wall.

She listened politely and then stopped me in my tracks. “Actually,” she said, “I think I need to change something in my running style because just practicing doing what I have been doing doesn’t seem to be working.” Well, it hit me that my words of wisdom were about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine! I thought I was being supportive and encouraging this young woman, but I was just scratching the surface of her challenge. Sometimes “just keep trying” is a valid approach, but in some cases, it just sounds a little fluffy.

She started me thinking about how we should deal with problems realistically. If things aren’t working the way we planned, perhaps we do need to stop, reevaluate the situation and try something new. After we have examined the options, if we determine that we just need to work harder and keep at it, so be it! But there will be times when we might need to consider tweaking things a little and trying a different approach. After all, if we walk into a room, flip on the light switch, and nothing happens; how long should we stand there flipping the switch on and off before we consider that we may have a burned out light bulb?

We can expect to encounter difficulties and even failures every now and then, because that is part of moving forward…and perseverance is a good thing! But even when we are sure that we are on the right track, it doesn’t hurt to pause every now and then to take stock of what is happening on our journey. There is a lot to be said for “If at first you don’t succeed, try again,” but it needs to be tempered with “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten!”

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