Persistence and Flexibility

Reading about the experiences of a web startup, the following comment caught my eye:

The key lessons I’ve learnt are the importance of being persistent and flexible in your mindset. It’s inevitable that you will go through tough times, and that your idea will evolve a lot, but what differentiates you as a startup founder is the determination you have to stick with it, and your ability to adapt.

Persistence and flexibility – two things that often seem to people like opposites. Either you are fully committed and let nothing derail you, stubbornly ploughing on oblivious to setbacks and failures, or you learn from experience, and when something is going very very badly, bite the bullet and give up.

Like a lot of important traits, what is important is learning to work with seeming opposites, and that is something that can’t be taught by just telling someone “be persistent”, “be flexible”, or even “be persistent and yet flexible”. It’s something that must be learned experientally.

Other such opposites, at least for entrepreneurs, are described in the book Smart Luck.

I described another pair of paradoxical qualities in my post on Patient Energy.

That is once again topical, as the Northern Ireland peace process reaches another huge milestone. Many people deserve great credit for that, including Tony Blair who has demonstrated incredible patience, energy and resilience in that area over ten years.

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