What traits do successful people have? They are ambitious, hard-working, optimistic and enthusiastic. But above all they are persistent. They never give up, never waver or swerve from their purpose; they stay with it despite the setbacks and problems; they are strong-willed and determined to succeed. In particular, they get up after each failure and try again. And there’s no doubt that persistence pays off. All successful people were determined and persistent as they made their way to the top of their field.
But it takes the proper mindset to be persistent. You have to have faith in yourself. You have to know exactly what you want and set out to get it with determination, regardless of the odds. You can achieve what you want if you have enough persistence, but you have to pay the price. Experience has shown that most people give up just as they are about to succeed. According to Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
If you look closely at the lives of successful people you see that all of them had determination. They didn’t give up; they persisted until they got what they wanted.
A Few People Who Learned to Persevere and Went on to Tremendous Success
Henry Ford: Ford’s early career was filled with failures. He failed and went broke five times before he finally achieved success. But he never gave up. He pushed on despite his failures, learning from each of them, and he is now considered to be one of the most successful men that ever lived.
Bill Gates: Gates is one of the richest persons in the world, but he appeared to be an unlikely candidate for success when he was in school. He had little success early on but found his true calling when he was introduced to computers in high school. He went to Harvard but was in a rush to get out into the business world and dropped out to start a business. The business failed and many of his early ideas didn’t work, but he persevered and pushed on.
Robert Goddard: Goddard developed much of the technology used in present day rockets. While he was developing it, however, he was mocked and laughed at by many. The scientific community rejected his ideas and told him that space travel was impossible. And his early problems seem to indicated that they might be right: his rockets exploded on the launch pad, he frequently had little control of them when they lifted off, and they rarely went where he wanted them to. But he persisted and developed so many new techniques he is now regarded as the “father” of rocketry.
Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln has to be considered the champion of persistence. He had so many setbacks and defeats it’s hard to believe that he didn’t give up. In 1831 he failed in business, in 1832 he was defeated when he ran for the legislature; in 1833 he failed in business again. His failures caused him to have a nervous breakdown in 1836. Despite this he persisted and went through seven more defeats in running for congress and the senate. Then finally things began to turn around, and you know the rest.
Oprah Winfrey: Oprah underwent hardships in her youth. She was brought up by her mother and grandmother, and lived in poverty for many years. She ran away at 14, hoping for a better life but ended up in a juvenile detention home. She was fired from her first job as a TV reporter because she was “unfit for TV.” She persisted, however, and went on to become a major TV host and one of the richest women in the U.S.
Stephen King: King’s first book “Carrie,” was rejected by 30 publishers. He finally got so dejected he threw the manuscript in the waste basket. His wife convinced him to try one more time, and he did. And, of course, eventually became one of the most-read authors of all time.
J. K. Rowling: Rowling was penniless, depressed and raising a child on welfare when she began writing the children’s book “Harry Potter.” To save on heat she did most of her writing in a local cafe. The first 12 publishers rejected her manuscript, and when it was finally accepted the publisher told her that she had little chance of making much money on the book, and she should get a “day” job to support herself. But she was determined and continued writing.
Learn From Your Failure and Disappointment
One of the first things successful people learn is that failures and disappointments are not the end. Everyone has them, and the important thing is to learn from them. Ask yourself, “How could I have done it better? What did I do wrong? What can I learn from this?” Too many people see failure as the end of their dream. “Why do it again? I’m just going to fail again,” they say to themselves. The people who succeed, however, are the ones that get up and go at it again, and again, for as long as it takes. It’s important, though, to analyzing what you have done. Don’t just push on blindly and stubbornly. Think about what you have done. Determine where you went wrong, then go at it again.
Think of your failure as a challenge. Be prepared to fail, and accept it. But keep saying to yourself, “I will succeed,” and believe it. Put your heart into it, and try again. Remember: Persistence is the key to success. This has been shown again and again. Through persistence you can achieve anything. It can make your dreams come true.
Persistence in Sales
One place where persistence is particularly important is in sales. A study has shown that 80% of sales are made after the fifth call, but the same study showed that 48% of salesmen quite after the first call. Only 10 % stuck to it until the fifth call.
People rarely buy something they see for the first time. This is why TV and other ads keep hammering the same thing at you. Most people don’t seriously considering buying something until they have seen it in an ad or elsewhere at least five times. Think about that.
A Guide For Developing Persistence
- Begin with a definite goal. Make sure it is something you really want — something you’re passionate about — and are willing to work extremely hard for.
- Write up a plan on how to achieve it. Plan it step by step. Think carefully about each step. Ask yourself how much time each step will take.
- Take action.
- Do not be deterred by any negativity or discouraging suggestions. Believe in yourself. Don’t let anyone convince you that your goal is unachievable. Don’t let it even enter your mind. Think “success.”
- Create an arsenal of feedback mechanisms. You need some feedback if you are to improve. You can’t improve if you don’t know how you are doing.
- Adapt and adjust. If you’re having setbacks or problems, analyze them and look for a way around them. Is a slightly different approach needed? Try one; if it doesn’t work, try another, and another, until you succeed.
- Develop a strong will and a strong desire. Tell yourself you will not fail. You will not give up! Let your determination show. Keep the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow in mind.
Is There Ever Any reason For Stopping?
It’s best not to ever let the idea of stopping enter your head. It’s a negative thought, and you don’t want negative thoughts. If you don’t think about it, you won’t have to deal with it. Your only thought when you encounter a failure is: Should I change my approach? And if so, how?
Sales may be one place where persistence may not pay off in the end. If it’s obvious after numerous attempts with a given customer that there is no chance of a sale, you may have to give up. But again, don’t give up easily.
Does Luck Have Anything to Do With it?
When they are told how successful a person has been, many people complain, “He was just lucky. If I had his luck I would be rich too.” Luck does enter the picture, and indeed, some people appear to be quite lucky. But the truth is: to a large degree you make your own luck. As the saying goes, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Remember that.