Hmm, IMO, I think anybody will keep trying as long as (a) they believe that effort will eventually allow them to succeed and (b) they believe the payoff is worth the effort.
For (a), the problem is that some people feel that the ability to do certain things (or everything) is something you're either born with or not born with--and if you're not born with it, you're screwed! This is where the idea of not praising children too much comes from. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
is on this topic.
(b) is a little more clear cut.
Originally Posted by Suzannah
Yes, persistence on a task they don't want to do. This is my focus. It's not hard to persist with something you like. I'm talking about the other stuff.
There's a dark side to persistence, also known as the sunk cost fallacy. Would you keep eating a bowl of ice cream after you got a tummy ache and weren't enjoying it, just because you'd already paid for it? Would you keep spending $15 per month and a couple hours per day on an online video game that you've grown bored with because you've already got to level 53 and everyone says it gets fun again at level 80? Stay with your abusive boyfriend because you've been with him this long
and he seems he might be shaping up? Hold on to those stocks you've already lost money on because the company might
? Those are extreme examples, but quitting the baseball team or choosing to settle for a C in your algebra class could be the same kind of thing for some people in some situations.
Most things that are worthwhile--even things we're doing for fun--have some parts to them that are hard and make us tempted to give up or at least procrastinate, but there are also times were it's just not worth it and you should quit now to cut your losses. (And I can think of plenty
of times during my school years where, in retrospect, I wish I'd worked less or quit sooner, so I don't think the fact that it's academic automatically places something in the "worthwhile" category.) I'm not sure how you'd teach someone this. How do you know which is which for someone else?
|...how do we learn, as adults, to do the things we hate to do, even though we would rather be doing nearly anything else?
Well, I rarely do anything I don't want to do. I don't like my job, but I want to go, because I want the consequences of having gone and done my work. If I really didn't want to go, I'd just stay in bed. I don't have to go. Nothing's forcing me (certainly not "social conditioning"!). I go because I took an honest look at my options, and it's the one I want.
Same goes for doing the dishes, finishing the line art for a picture I'm drawing for the fun of it, etc.. It's very rare that you ever have to do anything.