Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Champions know the power of persistence.

Post 307. OK, so you’re now clear about the specific goal you want to achieve and you’ve visioned what it will be like when you get there. The key factor linking these two is persistence. Without this discipline, bad things tend to happen to good people.

“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

Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting. Champions do what needs to be done whether they feel like doing it or not. Persistence of action doesn’t come from stubbornly clinging to the past. Rather it comes from a vision of the future that’s so compelling you would give almost anything to make it real.

Would-be writers, like myself, have to continually grapple with the challenge of persistence. I sit here in my office with no boss breathing down my neck and no paycheck waiting at the end of my week. The same person responsible for accomplishing my goals is the exact same person most likely to renege. In the beginning, writing is a lovely dream, a fantasy where every article effortlessly jumps onto the page. However, once I sit down in front of the monitor, I’m forced to enter the real world and discover not just how exhilarating the action can be but also how tempting it is to procrastinate or to take a day off and go to the beach. The secret is realizing that there’s success at the end of the road as long as I keep my fingers moving steadily forward.

For one of the most dramatic examples in the history of perseverance in the face of repeated defeat, read this biography:

His brother was born and died in 1812. He was saved from drowning by a playmate in 1816. He was kicked in the head by a horse and for a brief time was thought dead in 1818. His mother died of milk poisoning in 1818. His sister died in childbirth in 1828. In 1832, he served in the Black Hawk War as a Captain, but ended up after 3-months as a private. He lost his job in 1832. He also was defeated for State Legislator in 1832. He failed in business in 1833. He was elected to the Legislator in 1834. His former business partner died leaving him deeper in debt in 1835. His sweetheart died in 1835. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1836. He proposed marriage and was turned down, ending the courtship in 1837. He was defeated for speaker of the State Legislator in 1838. He broke off his engagement after 6 months in 1841. He had episodes of depression in 1841. He was defeated for nomination for Congress in 1843. He was elected for Congress in 1846. He lost his re-nomination for Congress in 1848. He was rejected for the position of Land Officer in 1849. His son died in 1850. His father died in 1851. He was defeated for the Senate in 1854. He was defeated for the nomination of Vice President of the United States in 1856. He was defeated again for the Senate in 1858. And finally Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860.

Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other … There are no impossible situations, only people who think so. This is the most well known piece of advice that I or anyone else can give to you. Those who succeed, those who have made their millions, one thing that they will all say, is that you have to persist.”

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