Benjamin Franklin once said that “energy and persistence conquer all things.”
This is true in every aspect of life. Ever heard the saying that overnight success takes 10 years? It’s really bang on. We can learn the skills needed if we continue putting the energy into it. There are so many examples of people who are successful who were not especially talented, educated or extra smart. They found success through persistence and dogged determination.
I know this is going to hurt some people’s sensitivities but sometimes it needs to be said. This is so often the point where I see people struggling when they come to me and say that they can’t figure out why success eludes them.
What do I hear? Things like…
- it’s really hard
- I slipped off the wagon so now it’s over
- I don’t know how
- no one told me
- I made a plan and it didn’t work
- this wasn’t how it was supposed to be
It’s really hard to watch the disappointment and frustration on people’s faces when I feel the need to bluntly explain some life lessons. Please take what I’m about to say with the love and care that is intended.
Lesson: Success rarely hits you on your first foray out. You are foolish to think you can do everything in one shot simply because you made a plan.
Okay but here’s the good news. You did find success…just perhaps not the one you were looking for. Just because you planned for huge success in one area doesn’t mean it will work out. Still, you gained valuable insights, skills and learned more of that which you needed to know.
This is where persistence comes into play. You’ve got to keep going, adjusting the plan and perhaps even the goals.
This is true all over the place. It’s true for business, career, relationships, healthy living, wellness…heck learning to ride a bike! You name it, if you give up because the first try didn’t work you’d still be stuck crawling around on all fours.
Nothing is as powerful as persistence. If you have passion for something you will be determined to persist.
One of my favorite metaphors for persistence comes from the story of how a small stream can, over time wear away solid stone. Water would not seem at first to be able to change the way that the hard stone looks but through time, persistence and movement it most certainly can. In fact the water’s movement shapes entire landscapes…all through persistence.
Have you ever noticed a flower or bit of grass growing in a strange place? How about through rock? How do you suppose a fragile flower manages to fragment rock? You know…persistance.
Keep this in mind next time you are feeling frustrated that success did not show up for this round of effort.
In the confrontation between the stream and the rock,the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”
And may you find the pleasure that comes from the lessons learned by simply pushing forth and staying determined. Every flower, every person will bloom when they are ready, but not before they do the work to find a way to feel the warmth of the sun.