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Every setback, every obstacle, every time you hear the word “No” could be an excuse to stop and give up.

Or they could be a barrier to success that you’re required to push past.

The most effective salespeople aren’t necessarily the most persuasive, they’re often the most persistent.

The most effective inventors don’t necessarily have the most ideas, they are able to work through every problem that arrives to come up with better solutions.

The most effective business leaders aren’t the ones who never have any setbacks, they’re the ones who keep going in spite of the apparent difficulties.

I want to remind you today that every setback can be an invaluable learning opportunity.

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There’s a great quote from 19th century social reformer, Jacob Riis, that is prominently displayed in the locker room of successful NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs.

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at the stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps 100 times without so much as a crack showing in it.  Yet at the 101st blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone on before.

Sometimes, we get frustrated because we’ve been trying to get a breakthrough in a certain area of life, but we don’t seem to be making any progress.

Remember the stonecutter and keep hammering away.

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If you apply for seven jobs and miss out on them all, apply for number eight.

If you try and fail seven times to give up smoking, try an eighth time.

If you try to run around the block seven times and almost pass out each time, give it a go an eighth time.

If you have seven book proposals rejected, start working on an eighth.

If you say sorry seven times and there’s still tension in the relationship, say it eight times.

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English: Sunset at Ocean Beach in San Francisc...

Image via Wikipedia

Edwin Louis Cole once said, “You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”

It’s a timely reminder that it’s not our problems that defeat us, it’s our inability to come up with resourceful solutions to them.

Sometimes, we get caught in the trap of focussing on our circumstances.

We think that we’re defeated and if we go on thinking that way, we are.

Let me encourage you today to keep your head above water, to keep swimming, to find a way to make it through whatever challenges are in your way.

It’s easy to allow one mistake to sidetrack our endeavours, but don’t let that happen to you.

One bad eating day doesn’t need to destroy your weight loss aims.

One bad customer interaction doesn’t need to hinder you from reaching your sales targets.

One negative comment doesn’t need to stop you from sharing your ideas.

One day of inaction doesn’t need to turn into a life of lethargy.

You may be down at the moment, but you don’t need to stay there.

Through persistence, a positive attitude, hard work and innovative ideas, you can come up out of the water.  Dripping wet and smiling!

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Every successful artist, blogger, author, business and church has had a breakthrough moment when they went suddenly from relative anonymity to being well known.

One day, they’re labouring away in their mum’s garage and the next their name is heard everywhere.

It’s what a lot of people aim for – to be recognised, to be at the top of the pile, to breakthrough.

There’s not a lot of science as to when this quantum leap occurs.  For some people it happens after a few weeks, for some it takes a few months and others work diligently for years before their moment arrives.

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Australian athlete Sally Pearson recently won the 100 metres hurdles at the World Championships.

In the final, Sally ran the fourth fastest time in history with a phenomenal effort that saw her take victory in convincing fashion.

Hurdling is a gruelling event, with athletes sprinting at full pace before having to launch themselves over an obstacle, trying to maintain balance and form so that they can repeat the process in quick succession and cross the finish line first.

In life, we are often confronted with hurdles.

There are a wide variety of obstacles that get in our way and test our resolve.  They can range in gravity from a simple traffic jam to a marriage conflict, challenging work situation or serious health issue.

How we look at these obstructions will significantly impact our capacity to achieve our full potential in life.

So why do we have hurdles?

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Wouldn’t it be great if there was a lift that took you straight to the top?

Where all that you had to do in life was step in, press a button and you arrive at your destination in a matter of seconds?

How much easier would it be for our faith, finances, careers, relationships, health and parenting if the elevator did all of the work, while we just stood there listening to nice relaxing music, until the door opened and we stepped out on the top floor, ready to enjoy the spoils of success?

It would be great, but the lift is broken.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the need to not give up after one failed job interview.

But what happens if you have applied for dozens of jobs without success?

There are many people who have been unemployed for weeks, months, even years and have been rejected too many times to count.

What should you do in those circumstances?

Here are six tips that I hope are helpful:

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George Weiss is an inventor.  He’s also 84 years old.

Over the past 50 years, he’s come up with many new ideas.

He would develop a new idea in his basement in Brooklyn, New York, and then pitch it to investors.

Only to be rejected.

Undaunted, he would it all again.

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In the 2011 NBA Draft, Marquette’s Jimmy Butler was selected with pick 30 by the Chicago Bulls.

Whilst that’s the starting point for what will hopefully become a successful professional career, it all could have turned out very differently.

Without a father from an early age, Jimmy was kicked out of home by his own mother at the age of 13.  Her last words to him were, “I don’t like the look of you.  You gotta go.”

After moving from house to house, with no money, no parents and no support structure, he was eventually taken in by the Leslie family who already had 7 children of their own, but generously opened their home and hearts to Jimmy in his senior year of high school.

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