Perseverance vs. Insanity

700 525 David DeWolf

In Episode 81 of his podcast “This is Your Life,” one of Michael Hyatt’s listeners asks this question:

…you were reciting a quote from John Maxwell that was something in the way of “quitting is the only way to fail.” But then I was thinking about the definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So where’s the line between the two? Because I want to believe that fighting the good fight and fighting your way through the hard times and trying to do different things to make my business work is going to be the way to success while all my competition goes to the wayside, but then again I have to think, how long is too long? When is it time to quit? … How do you identify between the two? … How do you identify when it’s time to quit or when you just keep fighting through because you know you’re going to win someday?

I think a finer point can be made on Michael’s answer, which had to do with listening to your own heart and following your passion, as well as questioning whether or not you’re called and remembering that a little perseverance goes a long way.

There are two key differences between those who persevere and those who are insane.

Those who persevere pursue a vision, a result, or a goal. They are unwilling to give up their dream and are motivated by the attainment of the final outcome.

Those who are insane attempt to achieve a specific vision or outcome through consistent means. They continually attempt to accomplish something in the same way that has already failed them multiple times.

Perseverance is an intentional commitment to the WHAT that is being pursued. Insanity is a naive or blind commitment to HOW that something is being pursued.

Healthy perseverance requires determination, creativity, and the humility to start over, retrace your steps, admit failure, and try again.

Insanity is stubbornness for its own sake. It lacks creativity and strategic thinking. One can persevere in an insane fashion, but, it is always possible to break the cycle, learn from our past and continue to persevere in a healthy way. On the other hand, if we quit, we often miss the boat.

What are your thoughts about perseverance vs. insanity? Where do you experience the line between the two?