What does perseverance mean?
The dictionary states that perseverance is “the act of persevering, continued, patient effort.” I think it means getting worn down…getting beat up…being told no over and over again..not getting that promotion you wanted…not getting the position you expected…getting shut down by people who think you’re not talented enough, getting rejected, falling over and over…
But—and this is a BIG BUT—it’s getting up with an attitude of never ever quitting…not caring what other people think or say or do if you know deep inside you’re doing the right thing…using losing to come back with more intelligent action the next time you get to bat.
“No” can make you go if you use it wisely. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Attitude determines your altitude. Fall down eight times, get up the ninth. The harder you work, the luckier you get. There are more clichés like this…too many of them to count.
In fact, I wrote a book about the top 12 clichés. Why? Because for some reason a cliché becomes a cliché from being said over and over because of all the truth in them.
Perseverance is and does a lot more than “continued, patient effort”. It builds character, will power, determination, tenacity and a quiet confidence that gives one a rooted foundation because we have earned the right.
I know there is a lot of weight that money has in determining success, but I’ve never had the excitement or burst of enthusiasm from a check that I’ve received vs. an achievement with 20, 50 or 100 plus “no’s” included in the effort. In fact, the greatest achievements of all time have come from the bitterness of massive failure. Look up the light bulb, Post-It notes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Walt Disney or any huge success and you will usually see a pattern of past failures.
It’s the fall that fascinates me because of the advantages gained when one gets back up:
“In each age, men of genius undertake the ascent. From below, the world follows them with their eyes. These men go up the mountain, enter the clouds, disappear, reappear. People watch them, mark them. They walk by the sides of precipices. They daringly pursue their road. See them aloft, see them in the distance; they are but black specks. On they go. The road is uneven, its difficulties constant. At each step a wall, at each step a trap. As they rise the cold increases. They must make their ladder, cut the ice and walk on it, hewing the steps in haste. A storm is raging. Nevertheless, they go forward in their madness. The air becomes difficult to breathe. The abyss yawns below them. Some fall. Others stop and retrace their steps; there is a sad weariness.
THE BOLD ONES CONTINUE. THEY ARE EYED BY THE EAGLES; THE LIGHTNING PLAYS ABOUT THEM; THE HURRICANE IS FURIOUS. NO MATTER, THEY PERSEVERE.”—Victor Hugo