Persistence

Thanks to JLM and Charlie Crystle for sharing this quote of Calvin Coolidge:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men 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.”

Following the trend set recently by Mark Suster and Fred Wilson on Tenacity, I’m inclined to pipe in on the most important trait for building anything of long term value. Persistence reaches well beyond the role of entrepreneur.

Here’s just a few of the wonderful things that persistence has helped me discover so far in 35 solar orbits:

  • Satisfaction and Joy: You can’t beat the satisfied feeling of enduring through difficult challenges. Winning becomes inevitable when you outlast the competition.
  • Wealth: While I’m not rich, I do have a warm place to live, a full belly, and the ability to communicate with and change the world.
  • Love: It took a long time before I met my soulmate Michelle. Keeping an open mind on lifelong relationships after years of being alone allowed me recognize the spark
  • Knowledge: Sometimes I actually remember something after reading, working, or doing anything for a long enough time. See Gladwell’s 10,000 hours.
  • Meaning: It’s illusive, and slippery on purpose. Keep wrestling with Meaning long enough and you’ll find what drives you. I covered Purpose pretty well while writing Dreamsnare.com
  • When to Change Direction: There’s no navigator’s guide to life, and if there was I would have chucked it out of my window years ago. But by consistently pursuing a BIG goal I’ve learned how to recognize local optimals, and am still learning how to reroute around them or avoid them all together.

That last lesson persistence pointed me to is important. You never give up on a dream worth pursuing, but it’s vital we not get stuck on the wrong tactics to realize that dream.

I think Calvin may have been on to something with that quote.

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  • http://www.thehackensack.blogspot.com/ DaveinHackensack

    There is less to Gladwell than meets the eye: his 10,000 hours for example. He doesn't consider the null hypothesis, that there are those who put in the 10k hours who didn't become successful. He gets paid a lot of money for producing happy talk, but there's not much substance to it when you kick the tires.

    I like the new look of your blog though, Mark.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    I'm guilty of referring to Gladwell without reading him, but I'm aware of the tipping point and am guilty of the happy talk from time to time. Hey Dave I'd like to add you to my friends and influencers page, can you email a one liner (messel at gmail dot com).

    I found the Mango Orange (i3theme) and fell head over heels for the versatility it gives the browser. Don't like a box, shrink it! Wanna move things around, that's ok too.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    I'm guilty of referring to Gladwell without reading him, but I'm aware of the tipping point and am guilty of the happy talk from time to time. Hey Dave I'd like to add you to my friends and influencers page, can you email a one liner (messel at gmail dot com).

    I found the Mango Orange (i3theme) and fell head over heels for the versatility it gives the browser. Don't like a box, shrink it! Wanna move things around, that's ok too.

  • http://www.thehackensack.blogspot.com/ DaveinHackensack

    Mark,

    I don't read Gladwell either. I would be honored to be considered one of your “friends and influencers”. I just need to think up a one-liner for my entry. I see you already have an imagination guru. Maybe I can be your cynicism guru?

  • http://jnana.appspot.com/editor/MyJnana fparnon

    I like the quotation from Calvin Coolidge, and I like your point about local optimals. However, I would connect the dots a bit differently. It's not so much that one needs to reroute around local optimals or avoid them altogether. Achieving local optimals is almost always a necessary part of the journey. Rather, it's that one needs to distinguish local optimals vs. global optimals, and to “press on” if one has achieved only the former. That, of course, is not as easy as it sounds, which is why most people stop pushing after reaching one local optimal or another…..

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    That's a great qualification, of course there are times when the path to our “larger goal” takes us through local optimals. I was thinking about just this issue the other day while rereading the post.

    But it does cost us time and energy to locally optimize, so expending too much to reach a local pinnacle can sap of us the necesary vital force to push past the local gravity well entirely.

    The balance is part of our style, and is correlated but not the only defining aspect of how far we can go.

    Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

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