Napoleon Hill cites the persistence as one of the 13 steps to achieving success in his classic best seller, Think and Grow Rich. While most people start at the beginning of the book, my mentor and president of the John Maxwell Team, Paul Martinelli, learned from HIS mentor to read Chapter 9 first “Persistence: The Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith.” Why? You can have all of the other components of Hill’s recipe for success, but if you give up on your dream or your goals, all of your hard work is for naught!
Few things have led to ultimate failure like the lack of persistence. I was reminded of this when I saw the band Fun receive their Grammy for Best New Artist back in 2013. They joked about the fact that, far from being new, they had been performing together since 2008! During my younger years, I would frequently hang out with budding musicians, many of whom had considerable talent. However, not one of them succeeded in attaining the goals they had set for themselves. I watched as band after band formed and broke up, for any number of reasons. The individual members of each band did not have the same levels of persistence. Consequently, their efforts failed.
We, as business owners, are somewhat like those bandmates, except that it is our own conflicting inner desires halt our persistence. Indeed, we DO want to succeed but that often requires us to do things we don’t want to do. We might need to make sacrifices, do things we don’t want to do or exchange comfortable habits for uncomfortable ones. For me, getting up early was my biggest challenge. Now I arise at 6:30 a.m. every day. Even a few months ago, that would have been out of my comfort zone. As a result of getting up earlier every day, I have become more productive, I have incorporated a 10 minute exercise routine into my day and I have added frequent meditations to my schedule. I have helped my body AND my business through this change of habit.
How did I get to this point?
To answer this question, I will turn to the “8 Definite Causes of Persistence” to see how many of them played a role in this small but significant change.
One thing I can tell you – how you are in one aspect of your life is how you are in other areas of your life. For example, if you are self-disciplined with food, you will find it easier to become more disciplined in other areas of your life. If you practice being calm with co-workers, you will find yourself being calmer at home. So, by learning to get up early, I found it easier to start doing other things in my life I have previously not liked to do (like writing blogs!)
Here are the “8 Definite Causes of Persistence” from Think and Grow Rich.
1. Definiteness of Purpose.
It is easier to stay on target if you can clearly see the target! Creating and believing in a specific goal by using the SMART system of setting goals (they need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) will help you get to where you want to go. The path to achieving your purpose almost certainly will change along the way. When that happens, it is time to adjust your course – not give up! A strong motive can help you recover from rough patches.
The intensity with which you desire your goal will determine how far you will go to achieve it. Your desire can, and almost certainly will, ebb and flow!
Believe in yourself! Although having a reliable support system is always helpful, keep in mind that you are the only one who can do what needs to be done to succeed.
4. Definiteness of Plans
It is easy to get lost and stray away from your goals if you don’t have a map to guide you along the path to success. Organized plans help you focus your time and set priorities.
5. Accurate knowledge
Testing your plan to make sure that it is based on solid information, rather than guesswork or wishing, will help you be persistent. When your plans are on well-founded, you are much less likely to slip and fall.
Having a support group around you to cheer you on when you are discouraged will help you when you might otherwise give up. A mastermind group is a great example of this.
7. Will Power
Being self-disciplined to stay the course is essential. The focus needed can only come from sustained willpower.
Persistence is the direct result of habit. We need to decide every day to do what we need to do for our plans to succeed. The secret of our success resides in our daily habits.
Let’s face it, being consistently persistent is challenging! I hope that you find some tips here that will help you stay on course. As always, I am here to support you.