Persistence is defined as, “to continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.” It is derived from, “steadfastly; to stand.”
Next in importance to the virtue of Gratitude discussed last week is persistence in whatever course of life or goal we firmly believe in. Gratitude is unique because it is connected with the divine, almost unexplainable, with vast potency. Showing gratitude either to the Supreme or to the source of the good we receive almost always translates to more or bigger good. That has been thoroughly explained last week.
In my earlier days in marketing and business, I read a book, The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason. It greatly inspired me to achieve tremendous success, even in other spheres of life. What I discovered was that a persistent mind never fails to achieve whatever he or she seeks to achieve.
The law or virtue of persistence is awesome. It’s been discovered that the more you persist on getting to your goal, the nearer you are to it even if unknown to you, which happens in most cases. In life, what we perceive as failure is actually a lesson taught on how not to do it.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of electric bulb tried and failed 10,000 times before getting it right. An average person would have given up after few trials and failures, but he kept on trying until he perfected his invention to success. He summed up his travails and eventual triumph thus: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. That, really, is a positive mind-set. He “found” 10,000 ways that won’t work, instead of the negative phrase: “10,000 failed procedures”. Mindsets and words are powerful. How do you describe your daily activities? Is it in the negative or positive? Most of us go about life with very negative mindset, using words and having mindsets that impede our march towards success. We see failure instead of success; our mindset should always project the positive. That’s one lesson from Thomas Edison.
In not persisting enough, we often do not know that many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Many have even committed suicide, and gone to the beyond at the threshold of their big-bang success.
I’ve come to the realization that if only we can continue in whatever we believe in, with faith, patience, constantly learning new things, experimenting with new ideas, with flexibility and adaptability, it’s just a matter of time, we are surely going to realize our life goals.
Sometimes, life plays certain games with us without us knowing. Life wants us to learn some bitter lesson before actually giving us that thing we so much desire instead of letting us have it on the platter of gold, if only we realize it. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Good marketers realize this and are never tired of trying more. As marketers, one of the most important trainings you receive is on persistence in the face of severe rejection by prospects. And experience has taught me that the most severe rejections almost always bring the most astounding successes and achievements.
Politicians are said to be the most noticed optimists in our society. They are never to give up on their ambitions in the face of repeated defeats. When the Ogbeni was denied of his victory as well as his initial seemingly loss at the tribunal, he didn’t just sit down and wag his tail in regret. He tried more, and more, and more, even when the mandate period was fast expiring. Despite all obstacles put in his way, he eventually got it, more than three years into the four year mandate period, through persistence. President Mohammadu Buhari actually got fed up after several failed shot at the presidency. But the persistence in him told him to try just one time more in 2015, which he did and it changed the narrative. We might say that Chief Obafemi Awolowo and MKO Abiola did not get to power despite repeated persistence amid travails. But, really, their popularity and influence in life and even posthumous, testify to the power of Persistence. Even after death, people rode on their influence to get to the corridors of power. What this means is that even if circumstances do not allow us get exactly what we want, there is certainty that we will get something better, or near in value. So, it is a win-win situation.