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Success is Stamina: To Win Means to Keep Playing | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/01/06/stamina/

scotthyoung.com

Success is Stamina: To Win Means to Keep Playing | Scott H Young
I like James Carse's distinction between finite and infinite games. A finite game, like chess, is one that you play for awhile and when somebody wins, you stop. An infinite game, like life, is one where the goal is to be able to keep playing. To win at life means to keep living.

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Rethinking Success

We liken success to sports, exams or battles that have winners and losers, and that have an end. However, success means having the stamina to keep going.

There might be many people who are more talented than you are. What will make you successful in starting a business, building a popular blog or writing a book is how long you can keep on trying.

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Patience and Idleness

The kind of patience that leads to success is not the same as waiting. Waiting has no benefits. Investing time doesn't do anything on its own.

The kind of patience needed for success is an active, self-doubting kind of patience. It's putting in enormous amounts of work, reviewing the work, questioning if it was the right work, then making adjustments and trying again.

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Build-Up and Breakthroughs

Success tends to accrue in two different modes:

  • Build up: It is the steady accumulation of improvements that you can see month after month, that will eventually help you reach your destination.
  • Breakthroughs: It requires a lot of effort with no visible benefits, but every once in a while, there's an insight that unlocks your potential.

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Being patient 

Stamina may increase the odds of success. However, life rarely involves a single pursuit. We are continually trading one activity against another. Those with greater endurance in one pursuit may miss a different one where success comes easier.

While there are many dead-ends and pitfalls, it is also clear that success requires stamina. One has to work on faith that everything will eventually pay off.

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How to Increase Your Stamina

The key to long-distance running is pacing. If you're running faster than what your body can effectively sustain, you'll burn out. If you pick a speed just below that critical threshold, you can run for hours with the right mindset.

Set yourself up in a way so that sustaining effort for years is a viable option. It should include mental stamina. 

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Strategies for success

Dead-ends are everywhere, and many efforts go nowhere.

  • Periodically ask yourself whether you genuinely have better opportunities than the one in front of you. Avoid the thinking that leads you to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side.
  • Focus on the process of the pursuit itself, rather than the goal. The process should be tolerable, even exciting.

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Systematic approach

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Get close and collect information about how the problem is manifesting.  Understand where the problem does and doesn’t happen, when the problem started, and how often the problem occurs to generate critical insight for the problem-solving effort.

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Taking action = eventual success

Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 

Confidence

Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.