Often success is the results of staying in the game and playing one more play, when everything in you feels like stopping. It’s natural to get discouraged when you’re working to reach the next level to create breakthrough, and progress seems glacial. Not everything you do will meet with success. In fact, much of what you do will likely have limited impact initially. The key word is initially.
Work and effort are required immediately when you are trying to reach a goal. Results however, are often lagging. All action produces results, just not always immediately. Consistently strong results require sustained action. Over time sustained action creates a cumulative effect. The nail doesn’t always go in with the first hit of the hammer. But hit it again and again and eventually it’s in. The log doesn’t always split with one blow from the axe. But if you’re willing to strike it again and again the log will certainly split.
John D. Rockefeller said: “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” Many of the most successful people in history met with severe setbacks at one time or another but succeeded because they persisted.
- Henry Ford went bankrupt twice in his first three years in the auto business
- Seuss’s first children’s book was rejected by twenty-three publishers
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
I love the story of the high school coach who was attempting to motivate his players to persevere through a difficult season. During one practice the coach stood before his team and said, “Did Michael Jordan ever quit?” The team responded, “No!” He barked, “What about the Wright brothers? Did they ever give up?” “No!” came the response. “Did Walter Payton ever quit?” Again the team yelled, “No!” “Did Sam Lowell ever quit?”
There was a long silence. Finally, one player asked, “Who’s Sam Lowell? We’ve never heard of him.” The coach snapped back, “Of course you’ve never heard of him – he quit!”
Greatness comes to those who refuse to give in to temporary defeat. The power to hold on in spite of obstacles; to endure the discomfort of change; to push on in the face of great difficulty – that’s what winners do.