Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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The Power of Persistence

Having willpower can be a great incentive to push harder and strive for more. It’s what gets you up after defeat or failure. That sense of resolution that helps you forge new paths on your road to success—that’s the power of persistence!

The 30th president of the US, Calvin Coolidge, described it best. In his 1932 speech, he said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not…Genius will not…Education will not…Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

When you persevere, you keep going even when the odds are stacked against you.

However, some people aren’t born with that fire, so, they either give up or don’t bother putting in the effort. Then, there’s the other group of people who work hard and assimilate everything they’ve learned.

It’s the first group we need to worry about – those who don’t even try or give up too soon are selling themselves and their communities short.

Can Persistence Be Learned?

Yes! Persistence is an acquired skill. It can be taught to help you manage interpersonal relationships with others. When you have the right amount of grit, you can succeed both in and out of the workplace.

Knowing that persistence can be learned is motivating. The hard part is practicing it every single day.

Thomas Edison is credited with thousands of inventions and discoveries. Yet, he’s the first to point out that he failed more times than he can remember. He’s proud of his failures and calls them his “just as valuable to me as the positive results”.

He went on to say, “Most of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success before they gave up”.

Bill Bradley says, “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in”. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and find yourself a means of transportation that’ll help you persevere and keep going!

Why It’s Important to Develop Persistence

We’ve all been there. You start something new and you’re really enjoying it. Then, out of the blue, something gets in your way and you fumble.

That’s when you have two clear choices: keep going or give up. What do you do?

Let’s be clear – there’s nothing easier than giving up. Many times, what we know is better than what we don’t. It’s safe, more familiar, despite causing us frequent disappointments in our lives.

Staying where it’s comfortable and safe is less stressful. Status quo means not shaking things up. 

Unfortunately, it can get pretty stifling if you stay confined to your comfort zone.

According to Dale Carnegie, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”.

We talked to many successful entrepreneurs. These are people who are usually described as tenacious, stubborn, resolute, and purposeful.

We wanted to know what they do to improve their perseverance and willpower in the business world. So, we gave them a short and sweet survey about their thoughts on developing persistence.

As we went through their answers, it was easy to make out why these people succeeded in their fields. They have a vision of what they want their future to be.

People who’ve overcome trying times have developed certain traits that allow them to go on even during the toughest times.

Using 15 Habits Of Persistent People to Help You Develop Persistence

As mentioned we did a survey to learn how we can develop persistence as a skill. We gathered valuable advice and made a list for you.

Go through the list and pick one habit that sticks out to you the most. Make a point to incorporate it into your daily life.

Once you’ve gotten good at that, pick another one. Repeat as necessary.

Here are the 15 most common habits of highly persistent people.

  1. Decide what you want your purpose in life to be. Develop a plan and work towards it.
  2. Divide it up into short-term goals that are either daily and/or weekly. Set target dates.
  3. Learn the fine art of persuasion and effective communication.
  4. Improve your critical thinking.
  5. Work hard and take actionable steps.
  6. Give yourself mini rewards for each goal you accomplish.
  7. Get ready for pushbacks and obstacles.
  8. Stay committed to your purpose.
  9. Open yourself up to constructive criticism.
  10. Fire up your tenacity and optimism.
  11. Assess and analyze. Then re-assess and re-analyze again.
  12. Maintain a sense of discipline by focusing on the big picture.
  13. Never pass up the opportunity to learn.
  14. Surround yourself with people who support and motivate you.
  15. Plan some downtime to renew your passion and enthusiasm. Then start again.

Positive Affirmations Can Help Generate Persistence

Over the years and in numerous fields, many others have accomplished their life goals. Why can’t you? All you need is a bit of courage, some brainpower, and a heap of resolve.

Also, never underestimate the importance of assertive self-talk. You can be your best motivator simply by always repeating a few simple uplifting phrases.

Here are a few positive affirmations to help boost your persistence and keep you motivated.

  • I’ll take action daily towards my goals.
  • I’m dedicated to anything I put my mind to.
  • I’m determined to follow through with every choice I make.
  • I’m capable of getting things done on time.
  • Nothing and no one will distract me from achieving my goal.
  • I pay close attention to details.
  • I’m proud of my work habits and ethics.

As you can see, the power of persistence can affect all aspects of our lives. It’s so powerful, it can prevent even the most difficult of obstacles from becoming permanent.

All you have to do is practice the techniques.



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