You just can’t beat the person who never gives up. Babe Ruth
I have been studying the classic book by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. The chapter on Persistence highlights just how important persistence is in every area of life where you want to accomplish something.
Hill says, “One thing we all know, if one does not possess persistence, one does not achieve noteworthy success in any calling.” Persistence is defined as: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. That sounds like something every leader needs to have.
I don’t usually think of being obstinate as a good thing but in the case of persistence, it fits. This definition led me to wonder how obstinate I have been in following through with a few new daily routines I have started.
I believe I need to have the same persistence in continuing a daily routine as in executing a big plan at work or following a life goal. When was the last time you evaluated how obstinate you were in pursuing a coarse of action at work or home or in doing a daily routine?
Hill also says that persistence is a state of mind and therefore can be cultivated. So that means there is hope for me in getting better at doing those daily routines. How can you cultivate persistence? Hill lists four steps:
- A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
- A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
- A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
- A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.
Summed up that means know what you want to accomplish and really, really want to do it. Have a written plan that keeps you always moving forward. Tune out all the negative influences that say you can’t do it, especially from those who are close to you. And have someone to encourage you and help keep you accountable to your plan.
Sounds easy right? It may not be so easy in the beginning but the more we do it, the more persistent we become. Hill adds that those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive up toward the top of the ladder.
Babe Ruth said it like this, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” There are many times leaders may feel like giving up but those that persist, learn from failures or setbacks and keep going end up achieving success.
Do you have the answer yet to my opening question? What does persistence have to do with leadership – everything. Take a look at areas of your leadership where you are not getting the results you want. It may be that you need to cultivate a little more persistence to get you through.