There’s a Japanese Proverb that says: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” That wise saying underscores the importance of persistence as you strive for performance improvement. In fact, many would argue that persistence is the single most important attribute in the success mindset.
Throughout history, we’ve been reminded of the value of sticking with something we’re passionate about until we achieve what we want to achieve. For example, there’s a Buddhist saying, “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”
Psychologist Edward De Bono has noted that, in his vast experience in working with successful people, he finds two major qualities: (1) they expected to do well and, (2) they’re persistent.
We know from our own experiences that both education and raw talent are often trumped by persistence. Those who succeed in any venue are often not the most intelligent or the most talented. They simply figure out a way to get over, under, around or through the obstacles thrown in front of them. The stream always finds its way around the rock.
Persistence is an intrinsic motivation. It comes from deep inside. The stronger the inner desire to succeed, the greater the chances of success. The fact is, we all face obstacles and challenges. Successful people accept that fact and simply figure out a way to deal with them.
Those who persist face the cold, hard facts. Life is tough, the economy sucks, work is hard, life’s not fair. So what? Success in life has always been difficult, work is always challenging, cheaters do prosper, and you won’t win the lottery. Shake it off and move on.
One of the keys to persistence is to make sure we know where we’re going and what we intend to achieve. A well thought out vision and clear, measurable goals help us focus on those things that really matter. Without vision and a serious commitment to achieving the goals we set, we’ll be like 95 percent of the population who reach the end of their working life wishing they had taken more risks and challenged the status quo.
Look, good enough seldom is. The organizations and individuals who really stand out in the world have always been, and will always be, those who strive for continuous improvement and never give up on their dreams. They don’t see change as a threat. They see change as simply a rock in the stream that has to be faced – and then they set about doing just that.
So, what’s your persistence quotient? It’s a question worth pondering. Do you hang in there and face life’s obstacles or do you all too quickly throw in the towel? I remember reading that most people who fail were just one step away from succeeding – they just quit too soon.
The power to persist comes from within. It can’t be passed on to us by well-meaning parents and it’s not something we can go out and buy. The power to persist comes from an inner belief in ourselves and in our vision for what we want to accomplish.
Develop the power of persistence in 2018. Don’t give up on your plans for the year. Be like that persistent but gently flowing stream that faces its obstacles and finds a way around them.