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What happens when you commit to a number

Emma Grey

My six-year-old fell off a skateboard the first time he tried it yesterday and immediately gave up.

I explained that the only reason his friend is able to ride it so well is that he kept getting back on after he fell off when he was first learning. My son was having none of that. He gave up and that’s the end of it. 

It happens like that for a lot of us. We try something. It doesn’t work. We announce we’re no good at it. We move onto something else. What might happen, though, if we committed to a certain number of attempts?

I read a fantastic article last year for writers, in which the author suggested that we should aim for 100 rejections per year. That’s a big number of submissions. Most authors I know give up after only a handful of knock-backs. Some give up after one. Some don’t even get as far as the first submission. 

What about starting an exercise program? It’s easy to want give up after one or two sessions, because you’re sore, and those ‘feel good’ endorphins tend not to kick in until you’ve attained a certain level of fitness. What if you made a pact with yourself just to stick to it for three weeks, regardless of how you felt?

Cold calling clients is another example. Business owners often balk at the ickiness (I know I do!) and give up when the first call doesn’t provide the desired result. What if you committed to calling 20 people?

Blogging, dating, dancing, playing a musical instrument, craft, sport, learning to drive, trying new restaurants … the list is endless of the positive experiences we might miss out on if we write things off and give up at the first hurdle. 

Don’t lock yourself into something indefinitely, but do have a go at setting a minimum number of attempts. You’ll be performing tricks in the skate park in no time!

Emma will speak at an upcoming event hosted by Canberra Wise Women, in which she will share some of her favourite stories from her co-authored book, I Don’t Have Time, talk about how we can untangle ourselves from the ‘cult of busy’ and share a little about how she is picking up the pieces after the sudden death of her adored husband last July. Tickets available here


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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