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Every cultural flowering finds root and nourishment in an expansion of commerce and industry.
-- Will Durant


The MONTHLY Motivator - August 2005


Long term, consistent success in any endeavor requires persistence. With enough persistence, anything is possible. It is a quality that, when all is said and done, counts more than skill or knowledge or intelligence or the right connections. The ability to persist is the ability to win. It is an ability that is available to anyone, regardless of circumstance. No one can give it to you. No one can take it away from you. Your ability to persist is not diminished by what has happened in your past. It is yours any time you choose to utilize it, in any circumstance, for however long you need it.

And yet, though the power of persistence is available to anyone, far too few people make use of it. Those who do, distinguish themselves in impressive ways. Far too many people, though, never fully utilize the persistence of which they are capable.

Persistence is powerful and available, yet it does not come for free. Persistence takes effort, as does anything of true value. Persistence requires intention, focus and commitment. It is just plain hard work. Though it can come naturally for anyone, it certainly does not come easily for everyone.

Understand the value

A critical first step in becoming more persistent is to develop a deep-seated understanding of the value of persistence. This kind of understanding comes not from mere intellectual knowledge but rather from real life experience. In other words, to fully appreciate the value of persistence you need to have experience with it.

But isn’t that like trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? Not exactly. The best strategy is to start small and build on your experience. Persist in the little things and the results will deepen your appreciation for the power of your own persistence. It is one thing to understand the need for persistence on an intellectual level, and quite another to really know the value of persistence through positive experience.

So start with the little things. Read all the way to the end of a challenging, yet enlightening book. Show up for meetings and appointments that you could have easily canceled. Make an effort to grow your appreciation for the value of persistence. With each positive experience your real-life understanding of the power of persistence will increase.

Finding the reasons

Why would you want to persist at anything? That’s a very good question. Indeed, why WOULD you want to persist? Answer that question in a way that is personally meaningful to you, and you significantly empower your persistence.

Persistence demands effort and sacrifice. In order to pay the substantial price you must have a compelling reason. No one can persist for very long in the pursuit of something they do not truly desire. In such a scenario, attempts at persistence only lead to frustration and disillusionment.

It is critical to make a distinction between the object of your persistence and the challenges imposed by that persistence. For example, you may be able to persist indefinitely and even prosper in a job you dislike because it is the only way for you to make the money necessary to provide your children with a quality education. In this case, the object of your persistence is not your job. It is your children’s education. The job is what you persist through, not what you persist for.

Whatever you persist for must be meaningful enough and desirable enough to supply the energy for your persistence. Make sure you know what it is, clearly and specifically. Make sure it is something that is personally meaningful and compelling for you.

The power of setting and following clear goals has been proven over and over again. Much of that power comes from the effect of your goals upon your level of persistence. Anyone can endure almost anything if the reason is meaningful enough. Find a good reason to persist, and you will.

Getting past your own excuses

You are the most formidable enemy to your own persistence. At any given time you’ll usually have plenty of skills, energy, and resources to persist, and yet you come up with all sorts of excuses that shoot you down.

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--Ralph Marston

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