This continues on from yesterday's thoughts (Is this the pain of growth?) but also makes sense standalone.
I heartily recommend Seth Godin's The Dip. It's a 90 minute audio book and it's well worth listening to (though I'm sure the read is also fine, there's something about audio).
When we struggle, when it gets hard, it's so important to look at the situation objectively and figure out what the struggle is for.
Are we growing?
Is there something great on the other side?
If we succeed, will we be proud of it and happy about it?
It's a dip. Push through.
Are we simply trying the same thing and expecting a different result?
Even if we get good at the current grind, is it just more struggle on the other side?
If we succeed, will we feel just as we do now?
It's a dead end. Get out of there.
Oh, a caveat if you do have a listen:
...it is aimed solely at people who are creative, intelligent and want to succeed. Those who are mediocre, unmotivated or just coasting through life will probably not get much from Godin. He is not an elitist, but his message is squarely aimed at those who want to succeed or at least achieve excellence.
--Richard Pachter reviews The Dip in the Miami Herald (2007)