One thing at a time – Why toddlers are more persistent than you

If you’re reading this blog there is a good chance you are currently focused on trying to improve yourself in some way.

This is great. I believe that continuous learning and personal growth is key to happiness.

The point of this blog however is to remind you to focus on one thing at a time.

Often when I start trying to learn something it will spark an interest in a number of things, and I’ll end up half ass learning several ideas and not really nailing down any of them.

This is an ineffective way of doing things.

If you want to learn a new skill, you need to focus on that one thing until you’ve mastered it.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be open to new ideas once you’ve decided to focus on a single new skill. You can still write them down and put them on your list of things you want to learn next.

The idea is that the human brain struggles with multitasking and trying to do too many things at once is just not feasible.

This is especially true in sales.

All to often in sales you’ll learn half a dozen new techniques and strategies on a training course on from a book and on your next customer visit you’ll try and implement everything all at once.

What happens?

You end up doing several things quite poorly and you end up sounding like a robot trying to remember a script.

Simply put…It doesn’t work!

Instead, you are better off focusing on one aspect and trying it a few times during your usual sales pitch. Then once it has become a habit and you do almost subconsciously, then you can move on to adding the next skill.

This leads me on to the next point to remember when trying something new.

Persistence and commitment.

Did you know that when Colonel Sanders tried to sell his fried chicken recipe, he got rejected 1,009 times?

After how many attempts would you have stopped? 10? 50? 100? 500? 1,000?

Either way, Colonel Sanders was not in the mindset of trying to sell his recipe a certain number of times and if he didn’t get anywhere, he would stop and just enjoy retirement.

He committed to the fact he must sell this recipe and would continue until he achieved his goal.

This persistence and commitment is something we all have as children, but we tend to lose it slightly as adults.

For example, how many times does a toddler fall over when trying to walk? Or have an accident when learning to use the toilet?


But have you ever met an adult crawling around in nappies? With the parents following saying ‘he just never got the hang of it’

The point is:

Toddlers don’t count how many times they fail; they just keep going until they achieve.

A favourite quote of mine is:

‘There are no failures. Only results’

 When you look at it as ‘results’ it makes it a lot easier to see how you can fix it.

If you want to alter the results, what do you do? You tweak the formula / action.

Every time you get a different result to the one you were looking for you learn something. You learn what didn’t work, and you can use this knowledge to tweak the formula / action again.

To summarise:

When trying to learn a new skill you are best to focus on one thing at a time, and when you have decided on that one thing, you must fully commit to it. Commit and persist. Remember there are no failures. Only results.

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