Dear Dreamer, Persistence beats Bad Timing

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Photo source: https://nutrition.org

Michael Nattoo

Jack and Rose meeting on the Titanic (fictional), Romeo and Juliet falling in love (fictional), and Gully Bop and Miss Chin (pre-split) – all shining examples of the love we all yearn for. But aside from that obvious detail, what other common thread runs through these stories? If you guessed ‘bad timing’, then you, my friend, are right. They all had chemistry, but timing proved to be a b… bad thing. Yes, timing proved the Achilles heel in those ‘exemplary’ love stories. The Titanic crashed days after Jack and Rose hit it off, Romeo and Juliet lived in a time when their families were yet to find peace with each other (if we’re counting that as the only issue they had) and Gully Bop and Miss Chin… well… they were Gully Bop and Miss Chin much too soon. Point is: Timing is EVERYTHING. Yes, I tried avoiding the use of that cliché to get my point across but it’s the only one that seems fitting for the matter at hand – see what I did there? ‘At hand’?  Because we’re talking about time and… Sorry.

Now, I’m sure for most of you, my aforementioned arguments, if I may generously call them that, are stating the obvious: “Michael, of course it’s bad timing. Duh”, you say. And to that I say, Dear Dreamer, you are right. I am stating the obvious, but there is a reason to my madness. You see, recognizing and acknowledging that many of the ills we face stem from that abstract ‘bad timing’ thing, is the start of overcoming it. It was Sun Tzu who once said: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

See, I told you I was getting somewhere with this. Not only am I in the business of stating the obvious, you see, but I can intersperse my madness with some ‘good advice’, like so: knowing (acknowledging) your foe (bad timing) makes it much easier to focus on defeating it. The trick is, however, you can only overcome (defeat) bad timing with one thing: optimistic persistence. Sure, you could throw ‘planning’ into the mix, but what happens when, not if, your plans get derailed? The way I see it, ‘planning’ is just a way to optimize your persistence. If you fail, you try, and you try and you try again. That’s persistence, Dear Dreamer, and that’s you chipping away at the effects of bad timing.

Take a moment to remember your ‘Almosts’: the “almost lover”, the “almost friend” or the “almost whatever-good-thing-you-could’ve-gotten-but-didn’t.” I’m serious. Stop reading right now, and reflect. Keep reflecting. Done? Good. If I had allowed you, perhaps you could have recalled a few more of those experiences too, where everything seemed almost JUST perfect, but wasn’t quite right, and therefore fragile. That ‘not quite right’ is the chink that makes your armor a paper shirt in a war of scissors. Quite the dynamic, huh?

There are many things we won’t accomplish in our lifetimes, but we get to choose what those things are. I hate to sound like that annoying guy who believes every single thing can be made possible if we persist at it, but there is some merit to that. Persistence is about focus. It’s about exhausting the odds. We almost never get anything when we’re quite ready for it. This means that more often than not, we’re faced with the issue of having something good, at a really bad time. That’s often incentive enough for us to jump ship. But if we persist, if we try long and hard enough, it’ll come. Pause. What I’m saying is, if you keep swinging, you are bound to hit something. It’s a shot in the dark, yes, but it beats the alternative of running away.

Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and even Sony, were ahead of their time, and inevitably, they failed when they first tried. That’s not because they weren’t good ideas, but because they just couldn’t flourish that time. Unless you have your very own personal seer, your only option is to keep swinging. Nobody cares how great your ideas are, or how great your plans are, or even how great you are. The truth is, people are more inclined to celebrating mediocrity, just so long as it is consistent, and persistent.

So, be persistent, keep swinging. It has to connect one day. And that, Dear Dreamer, is a scientific fact… probably.

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