What trait has the power to change an ordinary person into an extraordinary one? Its perseverance, also known as persistence, steadfastness, patience, or tenacity. Its the ability to hold on to your dream like a pit bull, refusing to let go, regardless of the obstacles. Perseverance is one of the secrets of success. After all, if you keep moving toward your goal, never quitting, you will eventually reach it. Its a simple, but crucial, idea. Arthur Pine expressed it well when he said, Your biggest break can come from never quitting. Being at the right place at the right time can only happen when you keep moving toward the next opportunity. No one believed in this principle more than Sir Winston Churchill, who delivered this nine-word commencement address: Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!
Perseverance is necessary because anything worthwhile is difficult to do. So, we have to expect roadblocks. When you come to one, smash through it; go around it; burrow under it; jump over it; take a detour; do anything as long as you continue toward your goal. Pretend youre the Energizer Bunny and just keep going.
However, dont confuse perseverance with obstinacy. That is, dont keep banging your head against a brick wall until you smash your skull. You have to temper persistence with common sense. If you cant pass a roadblock after a reasonable number of tries, its time to find another route. Theres more than one way to reach your goal. The trouble with some people is that during trying times, they stop trying. But why should we ever stop? Isnt it true that stopping at third base adds no more to the score than striking out? Ask yourself, do we stop trying because we fail, or do we fail because we stop trying?
We have the power to persevere. Its just a matter of making up our minds to do so. It may be helpful to remember that people dont succeed because they are destined to; they succeed because they are determined to. When you come to bumps in the road and feel doubtful, say to yourself, Cowards despair, but I persevere!
Study the lives of others for inspiration. When the great, contemporary instrumentalist and composer, Yanni, chased his dream, he didnt let his inability to read music stop him. He still cant read, but by persevering, he put together concerts that remain unmatched in grandeur. It took two years of preparation for his 1993 live performance at the Acropolis, in Greece, which was viewed by over half a billion TV viewers, resulted in sales of seven million albums, and became the third best-selling music video of all time. The obstacles he had to overcome for his 1997 Taj Mahal and Shanghai concerts were even more daunting, but they brought this world-renowned artist even greater success.
Another musical artist that cant read music is Andrea Bocelli. But he cant read for a good reason hes blind. Born with impaired vision, he completely lost his sight at age twelve in a soccer accident. Blind or not, Andrea went to the university and persevered, receiving a doctorate of law degree, and practiced law for a short time. However, he decided to follow his dream and become an opera singer. While singing in piano bars, he studied under Franco Corelli, a legendary tenor. Today, some call Andrea the fourth tenor, but there is no doubt he will surpass Luciano Pavarotti in fame. Although he has sold over ten million CDs, he is still fairly unknown in North America, so he has enormous potential. He is determined to let nothing stop him from doing what he loves. Mounted on one of his Arabian stallions, he gallops along the beaches and countryside of his native Tuscany, Italy. He even goes skiing on the slopes of the Italian Alps with his Olympian friend, Alberto Tomba.
What did Yanni and Andrea Bocelli do to succeed? Persevere! And we can do the same by remembering the words of Edgar A. Guest's poem:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road youre trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must--but dont you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Dont give up, though the pace seems slow
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victors cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tints of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when youre hardest hit
Its when things seem worst that you mustnt quit.
© Chuck Gallozzi
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