Effective people persist. They don’t give up easily.

Persistence accounts for much of achievement. A major quality that classifies people as gifted is that they stick to a task.

What is it that allows a person to persevere? According to Art Costa of the Institute for Habits of the Mind,  they have a repertoire. These people have many different ways to solve a problem. If you only have one way to solve a problem and if you try it and if it doesn’t work, you will have a tendency to give up.

But people who persist will try a plan, and if that approach doesn’t work, they go to another plan. If that one doesn’t work, they create another and continue to search until they are satisfied.

Having a repertoire of problem-solving processes is what allows and encourages persistence.

The concept of persisting or persevering has to do with knowing how to behave when you DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER.

In school, we were accustomed to receiving tests back with a score assigned. The score represented the number of answers we knew. But the critical point in life is not the number of correct answers we know but how we behave when we don’t know.

Most of the problems we face in life have no easy answers. When confronted with a dilemma, an enigma, or a problem that is ambiguous, do you think of alternatives to meet the challenge or do you say to yourself, “I can’t do this?” and then give up.

It’s more beneficial to learn and teach three ways to solve one problem than it is to teach just one way to solve three problems.