Success is the result of many failures. Many stories have been told around successes and failures. One salient point is generally about persistence. But persistence is a two-edge sword. Persisting while you know you’ll get through the hurdles is good and necessary. However persisting beyond the point of complete failure is mad. How many businesses have persisted and bankrupted their owners and investors? Probably too many.
It’s interesting to discuss with professional traders and derive some learning. Successful traders are cold-blood human beings. They can weather storms, and we know there are violent storms in the stock exchange, but more than anybody else, they know when to get rid of a losing position> they will cut their losses before it’s too deep, for a simple reason: it’s better to lose one arm than both! But how do they do it? They follow a simple rule: they set a target and fire the action when the target is reached. There’s no emotion, just action!
The same should happen with any project you pursue! Set a limit, persist until you reach it and if you reach it, pull the plug! It may happen you never reach your limit so you may persist until you reach success. But the lesson here is to avoid being stupid in face of adversity. In each and every project, there is risk. Risk ties to our fears and fear is an emotion you need to go beyond. With a limit, you do not kill the risk nor the fear, you inoculate the emotion. It’s like a vaccine: you may catch the disease, but it will not be deadly! So to answer the question I asked in the title is fairly simple: set a limit and pull the plug when you reach it!