Is persistence an uncommon word? How many people can you think of that are truly persistent?
I was reading a study about how 31% of employees are actively disengaged in their jobs. The only thing they seem to be persistent at is the ability to do the minimum until it’s time to retire.
Have you looked at someone who is successful and asked yourself how did they get there? I think Calvin Coolidge made life an even playing field when he said,
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people 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.”
So, through persistence, can a person become successful? Personally I believe there are many levels, besides persistence, to one’s success. But without it, is any of that possible?
So what really causes someone to be persistent? Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich has a chapter on persistence and lists definite causes for a person to have persistence and how it can be cultivated;
- Definiteness of Purpose – What do you really want in life? It seems like some people really struggle with this question. It’s almost like they’re afraid to unleash the thought. Once you realize your purpose you’ll either have to change or become disappointed because you struggle to live it.
- Desire – What do you really desire? Do you dream about something but think you’ll never get it? Well, stop thinking like that! The only person stopping you from your desire is YOU.
- Self-Reliance – Here’s one of the problems that folks have, they don’t believe in themselves. If you’re not self-reliant, if you need people to get you started, you won’t go far.
- Definiteness of Plans – How do you get there? How do you achieve your purpose? You need to develop a plan. Just thinking through the steps to get you there is a start, and then get it on paper so you can read it daily and adjust it as needed.
- Accurate Knowledge – If you know that your plans will work, great. If you’re unsure, than you’ll struggle to follow through with them. Learn more about how to achieve your purpose, find others who are doing it and ask questions.
- Cooperation – Seek support from others. They’ll either support your purpose or dispute it. If they dispute it, find a new friend.
- Willpower – You will never get anywhere, even out of bed, unless you have willpower. You need willpower to do what you haven’t done before.
- Habit – Persistence is the direct result of habit. Good habits help us move forward, bad habits keep us where we are or more than likely, set us back.
When it comes down to it, people with persistence just get it done. They take what some say is impossible and end up beating the odds, through persistence and will-power. They don’t become defeated.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou
If you struggle being persistent, then think about how to increase your will power muscle. Just like other muscles that need to be flexed and used, so does your will power. This is essential if you don’t like doing the tasks on your “To Do” list.
You find people at work who are successful because they get things done by being persistent. They may not even really enjoy what they’re doing, but they do it because they’ve developed positive habits. Here’s some of the habits I think attribute to being persistent.
- Be timely. This doesn’t include showing up to work on time, which should be expected in order to keep your job. Being timely is showing up to meetings on time and ready, having reports completed on time, and meeting assigned milestones. I know that things happen and deadlines are missed, but then you need to be timely in explaining why it’ll be late, not after it is.
- Be organized. This is a real struggle for some people because their work area is a cluttered mess. If you spend too much time looking for something in your “organized mess” and it’s impacting your productivity, than it may be time to straighten up, unless you like being persistently disorganized.
- Be respectful. I know you’re asking how this relates to being persistent. I think it’s important to be persistently respectful, even when people get you upset. It’s a sign of self-control, and you’ll struggle being persistent in other areas if you struggle being persistently respectful. Do you think that when someone is disrespectful it’s a way they’re covering up their own insecurities?
One way is to set a time to focus on the tasks and stay at it till it’s completed or set a finish time. Maybe you only want to work on the dreadful task for an hour, schedule the time on your calendar, just like the meeting that you dread, but feel obligated to attend.
If you’re like me I tend to procrastinate and end up rushing at the end to get it done. For me it’s this newsletter, I wasn’t persistent this last year and missed a couple of months. I made the excuse that I was too busy helping my wife start the Mandan Diner and Soda Fountain, but if it writing this newsletter was a priority, I would’ve made it a priority.
What do you need to be more persistent at in 2014?