Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
There is story after story of success and they have a common thread – persistence. Those who have the heart and commitment to keep pushing, discovering and failing forward eventually prevail. I do believe it is what differentiates those who achieve from those who observe. Here are some ways to make persistence work in your life:
- Check your worldview. Do you believe that being successful is just a matter of finding the right opportunity? Or do you believe that working your tail off and not giving up on an opportunity is what it takes? Get it straight in your head. Hard things are achievable for those that are willing to keep press on.
- Choose friends wisely. You are who your friends are. You allow their counsel and influence to speak into your heart and mind. If you are pursuing hard things, better to have encouragement, support and love than doubt, naysaying and envy.
- Commit your integrity. Tell people what you are shooting for. It helps to have the pressure of failing others, if not just yourself. We have a hard time living with incongruence. Use it to your advantage.
- Read about your heroes. People like Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill and others who withstood adversity show the path to persistence. They never gave up. They inspire. They have a roadmap and show you it is possible.
- Practice pressure situations. Take on responsibility and force yourself to deliver. Every victory builds your persistence muscles. As a boy, I can remember practicing distance racing in my mind for track. When the real thing happened, I was prepared and ready to push forth when it hurt and when it counted.
- Protect your confidence. Your belief system is what carries you through every challenge of your life. Guard it. Nurture it. Do everything possible to ensure you build confidence. Confidence comes from knowledge. You gain this from reading, working hard and saying, “Yes,” to hard things. Build your confidence daily.
- Breathe. Pressure typically accelerates life. We can get dragged into the perceived or real current of problems. Learn to breathe deeply and be above the problems. They may come fast and furious, but your ability to keep focused and calm will help you be clear and attack with resolve. Controlling your breathing and mindset are critical for winning. This is what you can control – the inside, rather than the outside.
Persistence is not something we can do without problems. If you avoid pain and problems, then there is nothing you can do to grow in this area. Applying these strategies to your daily life is what builds a life of problem solving and leadership.
Underneath the covers of successful people is their resolve and persistence. As the world keeps getting faster, it will require those of us who are committed to leadership to get deeper with ourselves.
What are your thoughts?