The Importance of Persistence

Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying. Persistence is having the same goal over and over. ~ Seth Godin

It can sometimes be difficult to maintain our motivation, especially when we are under stress or not receiving much support from the important people in our lives. So how can we develop the persistence we need to push through obstacles and continue towards our goals, even when no one else believes in us?

Persistence is essential to achieving our goals. Just having a meaningful goal isn’t enough, we also need to take consistent daily action that will take us step-by-step towards our goal.This can be difficult at times – there will be days when we feel like giving up and days when we feel that we are not making any progress. Sheer determination and persistence are required to push through difficult days and continue working towards goals.

Our core beliefs can be important in determining how persistent we are, for example, research suggests that people who have a ‘fixed’ mindset, which means they believe that when they see someone else achieving a difficult goal it is due to their innate talent or luck, are much more likely to give up on their goals than someone who has a ‘growth’ mindset, where they believe that the person must have worked hard to achieve the goal. In order to believe we can grow and change, we need to believe that failure holds important lessons and that if we keep at something, we can improve. We also need to believe that if we continue to take action we will achieve the necessary momentum and reach our goals.

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.

Calvin Coolidge

As Seth Godin notes, however, persistence does not mean doing the same thing over and over again, even when it is clearly not working. A key element of persistence is the ability to recognise
when something isn’t working and the willingness to try a different approach instead.

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance.

H. Jackson