Newness and perseverance

The decision to give up on something is easy to make and it is also absolute. At one point you are engaged in something, with all the possibilities and trials and tribulations implied, and then you are back at zero. You just stopped.

Often a decision to stop is because the thing you are doing gets difficult. We convince ourselves that a Rubik’s cube is too hard, or that the alarm clock went off too early and we haven’t had enough sleep. We stop engaging and move on to something else (or to more sleep).

To frame it another way, rather than stopping because something gets hard, we stop because it is no longer new and exciting. Sooner or later, any activity or relationship loses its feeling of newness, its novelty. There is a comfort in starting something fresh, an excitement, and also a lack of pressure – how can we be good at something if we haven’t been doing it for very long? The novelty fades and what we are left with is a reflection of how well we are doing. It’s easy to drop the ball and stop playing if we are not happy with what we see.

To quote Seth Godin: “Two things you might take away from this: First, there’s solace in finding someone who has done it before, whatever “it” is you’re trying to do. Knowing that it’s possible and studying how it was done can’t help but increase the chances you’ll stick it out.

Second: huge value accrues to the few able to actually do a thing for the very first time.”

Imagine you kept at it and got it right? No need to imagine, just keep at it.