For some time now I’ve been intrigued by the fact that some people go through life and become wildly successful in whatever they set their mind on doing, while at the same time other people – just as brilliant – never achieve the same level of success.
The question is one that can be answered from many different angles, but what I’m looking for is the ‘root’ of this success. What is it that makes some people successful and not others? Is it their heritage, circumstances, parents, education, or something even more?
Could the root of this success be something that is innate and intangible – something that can’t be measured?
As I ponder this idea, I believe that their are many life circumstances that influence the outcome of successful and unsuccessful people. But none of these circumstances actually are the “root” of one’s success. I personally believe this root is actually an innate characteristic of the person that exists outside of their circumstances.
This characteristic I’m referring to is perseverance. I firmly believe that perseverance is the ‘root’ of success because it is a requirement of success that exists even outside of ones parents, schooling, and earthly circumstances. To help support my point, lets look at two examples from history.
Two examples from history:
Henry Ford – We all know the name. Probably the most famous name in car manufacturing in the world. Henry Ford was not only a brilliant designer, but he had perseverance. Henry Ford failed twice (including bankruptcy in one instance) before getting it right with Ford Motor Company. Although a brilliant designer, I believe a strong foundation of his success was perseverance.
Walt Disney – Did you know that Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job as a young man due to being uncreative. (wow, imagine that!) Walt Disney may not have been a newspaper man, but one thing he did have was perseverance. During his goal of creating Disney he went bankrupt once and was rejected numerous times before becoming successful. Besides amazing talent, Walt Disney was a man of perseverance, which I believe was a key foundation for his success.
What exactly is perseverance and how do I get it?
“Never, Never, Never give up” ~ Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill said these words in 1941, when Great Britain was on the verge of annihilation by the Nazis. When I think about perseverance and what it means, this statement by Churchill always comes to the front of my mind.
In its essence, perseverance is exactly this – “never, never, never give up”. Its the best definition I can think of in regards to the meaning of ‘to persevere’. Never giving up means pushing through all obstacles, rejection, and discouragement to reach your goals. The end goal is all that matters and no setback will stop you from giving up. This is what it means to have perseverance.
Unfortunately, perseverance is not something you can go out and buy or in many cases even teach. Although I think the concept can be taught and modeled for others to embrace as a part of their character. In the end, everyone knows what it is, but some choose to have it and others choose not to.
With this statement, I am making a conclusion that perseverance is a “choice”. It is an action that we take in order to be successful. We either choose to make it a part of our character or we choose to not persevere and give up. In other words… we either quit or continue on in our pursuit.
Does this mean that unsuccessful people fail because they don’t persevere?
This question is a hard one to answer because it is not a hard fast rule. Just because you fail, doesn’t mean you didn’t persevere. But those that succeed, do so because they many times persevere longer than those that don’t.
Lets look at an example to see what I mean… Two people start a business selling ice cream. Both individuals persevere through the first year living off very little as the business starts to grow. Both individuals expand their offerings of different ice cream flavors and other goodies, as well as make adjustments to their ice cream to make it taste better. Both business owners also are good with their money and run a tight budget at the business. Regardless of this, both business owners run only a small profit to live on and have to continue living poor to keep the business open and running.
After 3 years the first business owner decides to sell and move on. He sells his ice cream business for a small amount and becomes a store manager at a local retail store which provides him with a better income. The second business owner continues to persevere in his ice cream business attempting new ways to make money. After 2 more years he expands into new locations and eventually creates a franchise out of his ice cream business. This franchise explodes into hundreds of stores across the United States and Canada. In this, the second business owner becomes amazingly successful financially.
Now, did both business owners persevere? My answer to this is yes, they both persevered to make their business successful. Spending years in a business making only a little amount of money is a description of perseverance.
This difference is the level of perseverance. I believe that those who are incredibly successful are of the character type portrayed by the second business owner. No matter what, they’re never going to give up on their pursuit. Even when they have reached a level of success, they aren’t happy and continue to persevere to greater and greater success. Bankruptcy, discouragement, failures, and more failures will never stop this individual because like Winston Churchill, they will never, never, never give up.
So, what’s the takeaway from this article?
It is very hard to know when to persevere and when to “cut your loses” and move on. This article doesn’t attempt to answer this question, but making this decision many times will “make or break” you in business as well as life. This is also why it’s important to have advisers with wisdom that are apart of your life and business.
That being said, I think that most people are unsuccessful in what they set out to achieve not because they lack the skills and knowledge to accomplish it, but because they give up too early. They choose to move on instead of persevering. Now, its not as if this is wrong or makes you a bad person. But, it may very well determine the level of success you will achieve in your own life.
Readers, what do you think? Is perseverance the “root” cause of success in life? How did I miss the mark?