I have caught myself on too many projects/jobs where I start really strongly, really impressively, yet fail to maintain that momentum throughout the project/job. Is this a problem millennials only suffer from? Is this more common than I think? How do we solve this?
I think it isn’t necessarily a problem exclusive to millennials, but some aspects of our lives and our growth definitely exaggerate it. It seems almost comedic to say that older generations had unlimited drive, and persistence to finish strong and prevent the loss of momentum. However, certain facts of life as a millenial make this habit, if you can call it such, ever more common. We are used to information being so readily and easily accessible. We can get almost any desired piece of information with a small time investment in research, or in other words, “googling it.” When we have problems, technical, wood work, broken anything, we are used to “googling it” because somebody else has had the problem before and figured out the solution. And we don’t have to.
The occurrence of scenario over and over again programs our minds into an “immediacy of resolution” mode. We are uncomfortable with problems that we can’t immediately find a solution to online. We give up, say it’s impossible, or rely on someone else to figure it out, and move on to something easier. I have noticed this many a time in my personal and professional life. I am not ashamed to say that I have done this on multiple occasions, and ended up feeling very bad about it afterwards. Yet, I haven’t changed. I have just felt the same thing happen this week in my job. I simply hit a stumbling block, couldn’t find a way around it, and thew in the towel.
There are two problems I see with this. The first is that one never really learns a valuable lesson if s/he throws in the towel when the going gets just a little tough. The second is that the person would never be able to grow the credibility required to advance in life.
Let me address the first. Struggling with problems, attacking them from different angles, failing a lot, but succeeding eventually, is an very powerful, humanizing scenario. It is a journey through which new ways of thinking and creative avenues of the mind are identified. The constant attempts at solving a problem create conscious and subconscious databases of experience that can be used in the future to tackle different problems. This gain simply doesn’t happen when giving up is the regular option.
The second problem is that when one gives up on solving issues on their own, things are left undone. Their reliability is questioned. If this occurs over and over, soon enough one develops an undesirable brand. One becomes an employee to avoid, as they will never finish a difficult problem.
My dilemma is twofold. A) How does one train oneself away from this habit? And b) How does one identify the correct time to quit a certain problem? Because there will always be problems that can’t be solved with the technology and/or knowledge available. How does one identify which problems are worth pursuing and which ones to be discarded?