In the mid-1800’s W. E. Hickson, a British educational writer, coined the proverb;
Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.
The second stanza, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again” has found its way into modern usage and reminds us all of the need to persist.
Persistence, the opposite of quitting, serves as a powerful reminder that giving up is an assured way of failing whereas determination, while not a guarantee of success, will always drive us closer and closer to where we want to be.
Einstein is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is “doing the same things over and over again and expecting the results to be different.”
If we take Einstein at face value then we need to question the wisdom behind “try, try, try again.” If “try, try, try again” represents doing the same thing over and over, it would suggest that W.E. Hickson was seriously misleading us down the winding pathway to craziness.
Does this mean that when our first attempt at something fails to produce the results we desire we should simply give up?
Of course not. When something we try does not deliver the results we expect, it does not mean we have failed, it merely means that we have discovered a way of doing something that does not work.
Does that mean we try the same way again?
Or is it a sign to try a different way?
The Habit of Flexibility reminds us that when we are not getting the results we want, we must simply find another way, then another, then another.
The Law of Requisite Variety teaches us that in any situation the person with the greatest flexibility will ultimately prevail and if we “always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got.”
Sometimes, engaging in flexibility requires us to step outside of our comfort zone and it is not uncommon for the level of our discomfort to exceed our desire to get the sought after result, and we quit.
In other words the discomfort of flexibility can make reaching our goals seem unimportant.
If anything, adopting The Habit of Flexibility helps bring increasing urgency to those times when our discomfort overrules our ability to try different ways.
Flexibility is the cornerstone upon which achievement rests. Our willingness to try new and different approaches, to experiment with the untried, and to take a chance on the unproven is the reason we are living in the most technologically charged time in history and our ongoing boldness in attempting the unknown will yield ever greater advances in the development of our societies.
The Habit of Flexibility is vastly superior to the habit of giving up. The Habit of Flexibility reminds and encourages us to keep trying new ways until we succeed – even in the face of crushing adversity.
The more we embrace The Habit of Flexibility the easier it is to reach the conclusion that the reason we haven’t achieved the success we seek is because we haven’t found the perfect approach.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
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