What is worse than procrastination? When you are often starting projects, but never finishing them. In this edition of Tough Things First, Ray Zinn and guest host Rob Artigo discuss the art of sticking to it.
Rob Artigo: I’m Rob Artigo, your guest host for this addition of tough things first, the podcast with Ray Zinn, longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley. Hi Ray.
Ray Zinn: Hello Rob. Good to be with you today.
Rob Artigo: Sticking with the task, or rather, stick with the task until it sticks to you is a line from a poem with an unknown author, but it’s been quoted numerous times. And let’s talk about stick-to-it-ivness. How do you define that?
Ray Zinn: Well stick-to-it-ivness is having a dogged perseverance to just stay with something and fight it through and that’s the whole concept of stick-to-it-ivness. I mean you’re just dogged. Dr. Ivan, I remember, resolute tenacity. You’re so dogged about staying with it, resolute to stay with it that you accomplish it even though it’s an abominable task to you and something that’s really, something that you don’t want to do and challenged in your life to do. You just stay with it and stick to it until you solve it.
Stick-to-it-ivness is, I don’t know if it’s a real word but it’s just that ability to stay with the ask until it sticks to you.
Rob Artigo: I think it’s a word. If it’s not, it should be. Thinking back to a previous podcast and we talked a little bit about fighting a losing battle. So when you’re talking about stick-to-it-ivness and what you talked about was the dogged, relentless pursuit of weathering the storm or getting through to the end of the task and being successful when it’s over. But we want to make sure we have a distinction here between that kind of effort and the kind of effort that ends up being destructive.
Ray Zinn: Exactly so. You know, don’t stick to something that’s not worth sticking to. Like, sticking to smoking when you know it’s bad for you. That’s the wrong kind of dogged tenacity or perseverance. If the values are good and you want to accomplish it, stick with it until you really enjoy doing it and that’s what I talk about in my book, Tough Things First, is to love to learn the things you hate. So that’s stick-to-it-ivness. If you can learn to love things you don’t like doing. You’ve accomplished a lot and so it takes a lot of discipline. And discipline, you know, I define as doing what you don’t like doing and doing well and having that ability to do the things you don’t like doing is a dogged perseverance. So that’s what I mean by having stick-to-it-ivness.
Rob Artigo: You walked right into the next work I was going to bring into the discussion and that is discipline. So let’s start with discipline is not something that comes about in the process. Discipline has to be there in the beginning, doesn’t it.
Ray Zinn: Yes, so it’s the willingness to do those things that you don’t want to do. That’s what discipline is. Anybody who have a rigorous exercise program or rigorous diet that you follow or a hobby that you follow and you do, it takes consistency and persistence, a persistent effort to accomplish it. So to excel at anything, you have to have a mindset that says that you’re just got going to gie up. You’re just going to stay with it until it’s done.
Rob Artigo: And you mentioned in the course of our discussion here that during this podcast, the really doing the, you didn’t say it, but doing the tough things first is to learning to love what you hate, getting those things out of the way that may be a hindrance or a distraction to you because you dislike it or because it’s unpalatable for it. Get those out-of-the-way so that the fun things, or the more interesting, exciting things that you do during the day are what you have to do the rest of the day. You’ve already gotten those other things out of the way.
Ray Zinn: Yeah, become more creative. If you could get rid of those tough tasks, the ones you don’t like doing, and you get those ones that are a pain in the neck, as they say, you’re going to be more creative the rest of the day because your mind is free of all those things that you would have or wanted to procrastinate. And you know, procrastination is the bane of humanity. So don’t put off those difficult tasks, just get them out of the way. Do them.
Rob Artigo: Do you think that’s where a lot of people break down when they are, say they begin a tasks, they think they’re focused, stick-to-it-ivness is probably one of their motto and maybe even discipline is something they think about. But discipline, again, starts from the beginning and it has to go all the way through the end. You find that’s were things start to lose it, and lose your momentum when you let those things you dislike pile up.
Ray Zinn: Well, you know, we have these New Years resolutions we talk about at the beginning of every year. In fact, we start talking about them at the end of every year. You say, well I got to come up with my New Year’s resolutions and they don’t last. If you think about the resolutions you have made, New Year’s resolutions, I doubt seriously that you either accomplished them or that you even stuck with them for more than three months and you’re not alone.
Having that mindset, a resolution doesn’t have to be at the first of the year. It’s a consistent effort to be the best and it’s not something that you decide to do at the end of each year and then give up about three months later. It’s something you have learned to do. You enjoy fighting those tough tasks, as you would. And that’s how you become the best of the best and excel at something, is when you have learned to really do the things you don’t like doing and then loving doing it. So, there’s a saying that goes, come what may and love it. So no matter what comes your way. No matter challenges or difficulties you have in your life, to say bring it on, that’s what I want to do. Give it to me. Whatever it is that no one else wants, I’ll take them.
That’s what this country is built on. Bring us your indenture. People who are needing help and will help you and this is what this country is known for, it’s willingness to help others.
Rob Artigo: And stick to it. Thanks Ray.
Ray Zinn: Right, you bet. Thank you Rob.
Rob Artigo: And I’m Rob Artigo and Ray Zinn, right there, invites you to check out his ToughThingsFirst.com website where you’ll find more information on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages. You can join the conversation there. Chime in with your questions or requests and learn more about Ray’s book, which we mentioned here in the podcast, Tough Things First.