Today, I wanted to share my views on the power of persistence and how it impacts our personal success. A favorite quote of mine that really puts this power into perspective for me, is from American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He said, “The heights by great men reached and kept – Were not attained by sudden flight, – But they, while their companions slept, – Were toiling upward in the night.”
Isn’t this true? Success is for sure not an over-night experience. At least some toiling or hard work is certainly required. Look, can we succeed by trying once or twice, not getting the exact result we wanted and giving up? It’s obvious that to be successful at anything worthwhile, we need to keep working at it. However, many of us decide it’s to painful to continue putting in the necessary work. We simply fail to keep following through instead of going back to the drawing board, adjusting and trying again until we succeed. Why does this happen? Well, I certainly have some experience in this area. My list of excuses is likely too long to list so, I’ll keep the list brief:
- There is just not ever enough time
- I have to do this, or that
- I am too tired right now, I will do it later
If you have ever used this type of self-talk, how did it make you feel? I know how it makes me feel – exhausted. I also know it’s almost impossible to achieve anything of importance when I’m in this exhausted physical and mental state. How can being persistent help? Also, how can we become “persistent”?
Persistence, to me, is a core personal ability we all have used at some point in our lives. We have likely used it when our backs had been against the wall and we needed to produce a result now, or else. We needed to be persistent to overcome the obstacles that stood in our way of some end goal. Once we committed to being persistent in that situation, we kept on going and did not give up until we completed what needed to be done.
How can we become better at persisting? Well, what is the goal you are trying to achieve? Why are you trying to achieve it? Who will benefit when you achieve that goal? How positively will it impact their lives and yours? Are you 100% committed to doing what it takes to achieve that goal? Do you know that oftentimes, people are so close to achieving a goal, but give up moments before they may have had a breakthrough that would have propelled them to succeed? Inventor Thomas Edison is a great example of someone who practiced the power of persistence. He worked relentlessly to create his inventions and succeeded greatly, but only after many failures. How successful would he have been if he did not persist? Quoting Edison himself, he said, “Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” What a great truth that is. If we keep working and adjusting and get a little farther each time, we will get closer and closer to achieving our ultimate goal. However, if we don’t persist and make those last few efforts, we just won’t get there.