Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dare To Do Your Best - Determined Persistence

By George M. Graham Jr.

Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people 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.”

It seems these days just about everyone is impacted by difficult challenges. We are constantly bombarded with negative news at every turn—the economy, health issues, politics, unemployment, and even natural disasters have affected many families. There are times when the pressure from these stressors can seem insurmountable and result in discouragement and frustration.

At times, these types of situations may become more than some people can or want to deal with. They feel defeated and think the obstacles are too difficult to overcome. They give up hope and succumb to the adversity by which they find themselves surrounded.

In his book, Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell writes “A study of three hundred highly successful people, people like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Mahatma Gandhi, and Albert Einstein, reveals that one-fourth had handicaps, such as blindness, deafness, or crippled limbs. Three-fourths had either been born in poverty, came from broken homes, or at least came from exceedingly tense and disturbed situations.”

He goes on to write, “Why did the achievers overcome problems while thousands are overwhelmed by theirs? They refused to hold on to the common excuses for failure. They turned their stumbling blocks into stepping stones. They realized they could not determine every circumstance in life, but they could determine their choice of attitude toward every circumstance.”

Thomas Alva Edison is a great example of determined persistence. Even though he had a hearing impairment and possible learning disability, he is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history with 1,093 patents to his credit. Not all of Thomas Edison’s inventions were successful; he had many failures as well. Although he had one failed attempt after another, he persisted until he could discover the answer. He once said, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation, when you are disappointed, discouraged, or doubtful, you can either choose to respond by giving up, or choose to use the situation as an opportunity to learn and grow through your determined persistence. Someone once said, “Greatness is born by perseverance in the face of adversity.”

This statement brings to mind a poem that someone shared with me some years ago. It is entitled “Don’t Quit.” The author is unknown.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, 

When the road you are trudging seems all uphill, 
When the funds are low, and the debts are high, 
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, 
When care is pressing you down a bit, 
Rest, if you must— but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns, 
As everyone of us sometimes learns, 
And many a failure turns about 
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow— 
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than 
It seems to a faint and faltering man, 
Often the struggler has given up 
When he might have captured the victor’s cup. 
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down, 
How close he was to the golden crown. 
Success is failure turned inside out— 
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt— 
And you never can tell how close you are, 
It may be near when it seems afar; 
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit— 
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Coach John Wooden, the legendary college basketball coach, and teacher developed The Pyramid of Success, which he described as “...a simple way to visualize the foundation and important building blocks of a successful life.”  In his book, Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, he describes in detail the meaning of each of the building blocks.

One of the building blocks is called, “Intentness.” He writes in his book that he could have called this building block determination, perseverance, persistence or even tenacity. He said, “An intent person will stay the course and go the distance. He or she will concentrate on objectives with determination, stamina, and resolve. Intentness is the quality that won’t permit us to quit….” He further states, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Determined persistence is a quality to incorporate when you Dare To Do Your Best.


  1. Thank you my dear George! I needed to read this today :)
    Lots of love and appreciation to you!!