Perseverance and failure cannot coexist. Failure happens when you quit. When all is said and done, perseverance, commonly referred to as “stick-to-itiveness,” is the ultimate success insurance. Nothing can take its place.
Like the old adage of getting up just one more time than you have been knocked down, “Staying with it” applies to so much that is good and healthful in life! From learning to walk to riding a bicycle, our childhood teaches us that failure only occurs when we stop trying. It’s a lesson many of us need to revisit in our adulthood. Then we need to consciously apply the techniques and principles that keep us on the “perseverance track.”
For example, the world is full of those who “tried” to get a business going. After meeting with difficulty or rejections, they quit. They accepted failure, and faded back into the crowd never to be heard from again. The worst part is not that they quit their business, but that they quit themselves.
Why should succeeding at a business be easier than learning to ski or to play the piano? We are likely to stumble at first. It’s part of the learning process. Ultimately, the people who persevere through the stumbling process learn enough to become successful. It’s “staying with it” that separates the successful from the “wanes.” Remember the words of Vince Lombardi, “We never lost a game, we just ran out of time.”
Let’s examine this valuable, yet elusive character trait, to see how we can
enhance our own level of perseverance in life.
How are you currently equipped to persevere in pursuit of your dreams?
11 Ways To Raise Your
1. Be grown up, which means, be independent, take responsibility for yourself. When you step out, take risks, and succeed some people may be
envious or fearful that they’re “losing” the former you. This can cause
them to be critical of your new aspirations and plans. They become “dream
stealers.” When you are overly concerned about what your family, friends
and acquaintances might say, you might lose your drive to persevere and let
your dreams fade away.
This may be a great time to develop new friends who support your goals and
gladly celebrate your achievements. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to abandon the old ones. But let them know how you feel. Just give
them a little room to catch up with the new you!
2. Intentionally select positive re-enforcement. When you purchase books
and tapes, movies and other media for your entertainment, seek those with
strong, uplifting themes. Select those which nurture your spirit. Avoid as
much negative messaging as possible, including other outside influences that
bring you down. For instance, why would you choose to read a magazine
article or watch a news program that leaves you depressed or angry? For
those times when negativity unavoidably invades your space, find something
to learn from it or something humorous about it. When someone hands you the thorns, find the roses!
3. Live healthy. Energy and stamina are musts for perseverance. You
need them for focus, resilience, optimism, self-confidence, clarity and
intensity. You have seen from the above quiz how much each of these effects your Perseverance Quotient!
4. Ask, “What is true?” not “What do others think is true?” To make effective decisions, you must take the responsibility of perceiving
reality as accurately as possible. Decision-making is not a popularity
contest and there’s definitely no guarantee that what the majority thinks or
believes is compatible with the truth. This includes the people the
majority regard as experts.
When you seek the truth, you’re being true to yourself. When you’re true
to yourself, you nourish your will to persevere.
5. When getting advice, consider the source.
If you want to shorten the distance from perseverance to achievement, you
want to learn from the mistakes of others, rather than repeating them
yourself. And you want to use the methods that have brought others the
success you seek.
If you’re planning to climb Mt Everest, who will you look to for advice?
The best source is someone else who has done it!!
If you want to pilot an airplane, would you listen to advice from Aunt
Matilda who has never done anything in her life more demanding than entering a Bridge contest? Would you ask your accountant? Your best friend? Or would you seek advice from someone who is a successful pilot?
If you wanted to start a small business, would you seek advice from someone at work, your minister, a university professor, a corporate person, or from someone who is already successful in the business?
And here’s a fascinating corollary: if you are looking for a way out, an
excuse to quit, you need go no farther than Aunt Matilda, your accountant,
the folks at work, etc. You’ll get all the negative encouragement necessary
to put your dream back on the shelf.
6. Avoid the “no action” alibi. We’ve all been guilty from time to time of
using convenient alibis for not persevering.
Eric Hoffer, who had spent much of his life as a “simple” longshoreman, is
a great example of someone who didn’t let other people’s stereotypes, which
he could have used as no-action alibis, prevent him from becoming a
And Eric Hoffer says it well: “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday.
“But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything, we are fixed, so
to speak, for life. Moreover, when we have an alibi for not writing a book
and not painting a picture and so on, we have an alibi for not writing the
greatest book and not painting the greatest picture. Small wonder that the
effort expended and the punishment endured in obtaining a good alibi often
exceed the effort and grief requisite for the attainment of a most marked
The important thing is to be totally honest with ourselves; recognize the
alibi for what it is and not make alibis a way of life.
7. Identify counterproductive habits or thoughts you would like to discontinue. Then dump them!
Being mentally or emotionally rigid means that you hang on to habits that no
longer serve you, habits that can make you unproductive, frustrated,
Examples of counterproductive habits that may reduce your will to persevere:
—Grousing about politics, work or the neighbors with friends
—Blowing small aggravations out of proportion
—Dwelling in the past
—Worrying about stuff that may not even happen, or that you cannot control
—Viewing yourself as a victim
—Worrying about what others are doing or what others have.
“Be true to yourself.”
Focus on what you can do, not what you cannot do. When you focus on what
you cannot do, you get more of it!
Keep YOUR pace. It’s different from the pace of others. Forget the Jones’s,
and don’t feel guilty about moving ahead of some of your contemporaries.
Remember the story of “The Hare and the Tortoise.” Live the life YOU want to live; earn what YOU want to earn; do what YOU want to do. Don’t be too concerned about how others are living their lives.
8. Willingly forgive yourself and others. Do this for your own sake, your
own peace of mind. Carrying around the emotions of grudges, disapproval,
hatred, or disappointment is toxic to your spirit of perseverance.
Whether the subject person is someone else or yourself, you are the one
feeling the wound. You don’t hurt others when you hold hatred toward them;
you hurt yourself. And you can hurt yourself seriously by allowing hatred to
fester in your consciousness. You can’t experience anger and joy at the
same time—so leave plenty of room for the joy!
9. Take reasonable risks. Without risk, there’s no reward. Risk avoidance
dampens the spirit, undermining the will to persist in the face of obstacles
and reversals. The choice not to choose is probably one of the riskiest
choices you can ever make, with zero upside potential!
10. Get support. You deserve to be around folks supportive of your
aspirations. All good psychologists, counselors, coaches and teachers will
tell you that you must have exposure to a positive environment. Napoleon
Hill called it a Mastermind Group.
11. Don’t quit.
When you feel yourself slipping, remember Sparky. School was all but
impossible for Sparky. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He
flunked physics, Latin, algebra and English in high school. He didn’t do
much better in sports. Although he did manage to make the school golf team,
he promptly lost the only important match of the year. There was a
consolation match and he lost that, too.
Throughout his youth, Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually
disliked by the other students; he wasn’t considered consequential enough
for that! He was astonished if a classmate ever said “hello” to him outside
school hours. He never found out how he would have fared as a “date.” In
high school, Sparky never once asked a girl out. He was too afraid of being
Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates, and everyone else knew it, so
Sparky simply accepted it. But one thing was important to Sparky: drawing.
He was proud of his own artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In
his senior year in high school, he submitted some cartoons to the editors of
his yearbook. They were turned down. Despite this particularly painful
rejection, Sparky had found his passion.
Upon graduating from high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios.
He was told to send some samples of his artwork, and the subject matter for
a cartoon was suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon. He spent a great deal of time on it and on the other drawings. Finally the reply from the
Disney Studios came. He had been rejected once again. Another loss for the
Sparky wrote his own autobiography in cartoons. He described his childhood
self, a little-boy loser and chronic under achiever. He was the little cartoon boy whose kite would never fly, who never succeeded in kicking the
football, and who became the most famous cartoon character of all, Charlie
Sparky, the boy who failed every subject in the eighth grade and whose work was rejected again and again, was Charles Schulz.
Charles Schulz persevered. He succeeded beyond his wildest imagination.
He earned and deserved that success. He had failed at everything else he had
tried. He endured rejection. It took a lot of trial and error to finally find out what it was that he was supposed to do. But he never quit. Because Charles Schulz persevered, the world is richer.
Perseverance is the insurance policy and common denominator for success. So powerful is perseverance that failure cannot exist in its presence. As
Edison observed when after thousands of efforts to make the electric light
bulb produced no illumination, “I haven’t failed. I’ve identified 10,000
ways this doesn’t work” By accurately viewing it as a learning experience,
eventually Edison succeeded, leaving the critics and nay-sayers one of
mankindÂ¹s most important inventions.
Charles Schulz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Colonel Sanders, Thomas Edison, Ayn Rand and the endless list of other persistent great achievers found that
success inevitably arrives for every person who perseveres. Learn from the
people who did it: Let perseverance keep your goals alive. And your dreams
Do what you love to do. Stand up for what you believe in. Make it a part
of your life. Work toward it every day. Remember with every “No” you are
that much closer to a “Yes” And by learning from each defeat and staying
the course, success is inevitable.