While working on a project recently, I hit a point at which exasperation set in. A particular requirement of the software I was building was proving very difficult to satisfy, and I’d already spent more time looking for the right approach and solution to my problem than I ever imagined this task would require. You know the feeling, right? Nothing you’ve tried has worked, and you can’t seem to find a hint of anyone else having shared their solution to a similar problem.
Part of me wanted to throw up my hands, and just quit. (Well, quit for the day.)
Then it hit me: This difficult, puzzling, exasperating part of what I was doing was precisely where the real value of what I was building would originate! If it was easy from start to finish, then most anyone could do it, and there would be much less value to my own work. This difficult piece, where I chose to persevere until I’d solved the puzzle, was what would separate me, and my work, from those who gave up, and were left with only a part of a solution. This difficulty was precisely what would lead someone to pay for my solution rather than quickly turning out their own product.
We know that specialized knowledge has value, but it is of far greater value when paired with the sort of character and determination that refuses to throw in the towel when challenges crop up. And challenges crop up in almost everything we do which is of any significant scope.
It is important to also recognize that you are not faced with a simple binary choice when you hit this hard spot. That is, to persevere or to quit are not your only choices. You can also opt to enlist the help of someone more skilled in the particular field, whether it’s a friend who’s a wiz and able to bail you out in a matter of a few minutes, or another party you hire to address your challenge. Spending a little money to push your project over the crest of the hill to completion is a much smarter course than abandoning a product in which you’ve invested significant time, and from which you will see no return if it’s left unfinished.
Train your thoughts not to fall into despair when you hit the truly difficult portion of your project, but rather to recognize that as the moment when you have truly begun to create value. Once you do, you’ll find you get excited rather than frustrated when you encounter difficult problems in your work.