What I have found with any pursuit that there is a threshold you need to cross that will take you from amateur to expert. From failure to success.
Of course you say.
But my point is, you need to reach that threshold, and cross it, otherwise if you don’t persist to that juncture and stop for even a short period of time, you will have to start all over. From square one.
I mentioned this before in my Square One Rule, that you need endure a lot of practice to get to this precious threshold.
You can’t know where that line is unfortunately. It will just suddenly one day pop up.
Sometimes you can struggle decades and not move one inch closer to success.
So when do you stop?
When you are no longer enjoying the pursuit, or more importantly, not getting anything from it. When you have exhausted all attempts to make it more challenging and you are not advancing one iota. When you have explored all aspects of it and nothing is happening. When you are no longer open to life and where it wants to go.
Not when friends and lovers say give up. Not when you are having a pity party and beat yourself up. If something truly matters to you, you won’t give up so easily.
But all practice can become dull. You have to decide if it’s dull because you’re not advancing, challenging yourself, or it just does not interest you any more. You have to be very careful in your assessment of that, because of the Square One Rule.
It may not mean abandoning it totally. Sometimes you just need to tweak it a bit. Find a different direction. Find something that gives you the same pleasure, in the same field, but doing things a bit differently.
For instance, to get a bit off topic, I knew someone who desperately wanted to be a pilot, but she had a problem with her eyes that could not be corrected. Had she spent some time figuring out what it was that she loved about being a pilot, she may have found something to satisfy that, within that industry. She need not abandon aeronautics just because one door was closed. There are thousands of positions in that field. She may have even found it was not airplanes that she loved but something else, like freedom, or technology or prestige. And those things can be found in many capacities.
Single minded purpose is good, but you need to be open to life, pay attention. Doors may open for you and you don’t see them. Allow your interests to evolve. One thing may lead you to something way more exciting and beyond. Sometimes life knows better than you about where you should be and what you should be doing.
Before a threshold appears many times you hit a plateau. These are tests to see how much you want to keep going forward. If you are going to exert the effort to cross a threshold.
I do like thresholds. They appear everywhere. In your career. Your creative pursuits. Your relationships.
I especially like crossing one. Then you have to find a new one.