Persistence – The Magic Key to Success!

    March 8, 2000

How often have you seen, or read stories about, people who have given up just one step short of achieving their goal? I bet it is many. Just one more attempt and they would have “been there”. Instead, someone else came along and took up where they left off and claimed the glory.

Persistence can be defined as continued effort or tenacity. It is not accepting defeat and continuing on against the odds to success. But how many of us persist correctly?

Recently, I attended a seminar series on Global Best Practices. The information presented was based on the principles of Total Quality Management which seems to be the latest management fad. Through each session I thought that most of the material was really common sense.

One phrase that came through was continuous never ending improvement. This set me thinking about my own life and business. And this lead me to think of persistence.

I can recall situations where I have set myself a goal and figured out the steps I should take to achieve it. I have put these steps into practice but failed to achieve the result I was expecting. So I have tried again, and again, and again still getting the same lower than expected result. Each time I have said to myself – persist and you will succeed. So I kept on trying but without success.

On the verge of quitting I have recalled that many people stop one step short of their goal. So I have tried again without success. The cycle continues on and on with greater frustration and doubts begin to enter my thinking. So what had I been doing wrong? I had been repeating the same activity over and over again. Of course I would get the same result each time because nothing had changed!

True persistence is reviewing the steps taken, looking for ways to improve the process and then carrying out the revised steps. And then you repeat the process until you achieve your goal. Edison, that great inventor, often tried an experiment 1,000 times before he discovered what he was trying to achieve. But were each of those 1,000 experiments exactly the same? No. Each was slightly different as he tried new ideas and methods of achieving his desired result. Through continued improvements in his methods, he achieved his success.

So how can you apply continuous never ending improvement into your life or business so that you are using the “right” form of persistence? First, you need to review what you have been doing in your efforts to achieve your goal. Ask yourself how each step you take can be improved. Ask what would happen if you changed the order of the steps. What would happen if you left a step out? If you replaced a step with a new step?

When reviewing, don’t just concentrate on the physical activities you undertake. Consider your own thought processes also. For example, what are you thinking as you do each step? Are your thoughts full of positive expectancy or do they reflect a fear you will fail? Changing your thoughts can have a major influence on the results you get from the same set of physical activities.

Also, be prepared to think outside of the box. What I mean by this is that sometimes we constrain our thoughts by our experiences and we don’t see solutions or improvements that are possible. For example, my wife and I were trying to come up with a workable plan for our home renovations/improvements. Our thinking was constrained by the fact we wanted to preserve the ornamental ceilings in a number of rooms. Therefore, none of our ideas involved changing the use of those rooms or knocking walls down. Consequently, we were having much trouble arriving at a suitable plan to achieve our goal: a more livable home.

It wasn’t until we started to change the name of different rooms (ie., lounge room to spare bedroom, etc.), and then considered relocating doorways, that we achieved a workable plan. Once we stepped outside the box and stopped thinking some aspects were unchangeable that we began to form better plans for our “new, improved” home. (A driving force to this project was my desire to have a larger office! However, we have not yet commenced this project due to budget constraints!)

When we apply continuous never ending improvement to our persistence, we may even achieve our goals that much quicker. Start today to make improvements in all that you do – the results will astonish you!

Kevin Sinclair, CPA, of Be Successful! Business & Personal Success Resources. He is the author of 2 free ebooks: “Success Secrets” & “How To Choose A Home Based Business”. Kevin is also the publisher of “Be Successful News” – a free ezine dedicated to your online business success – to subscribe, send a blank email to