Persistence and Perseverance for Winners — Losers Just Quit

For instrumental music while reading, choose: hi-fi (broadband) or low-fi.

Giving up is easy. Most people make a habit of giving up. In fact, they make a life of it.

Achievers approach problems and setbacks with an entirely different attitude. When adversity strikes, they look for work-arounds and adapt their procedures. As a result, they may find better ways of proceeding toward their dreams that they may have never discovered otherwise.

Instead of reasons to quit, winners see apparent road-blocks as opportunities to fine-tune their methods in order to continue re-inventing their approach to make it the best it can be in any given moment. Quitting is for losers. Persistence through a solution-oriented attitude is for visionaries, dreamers and other winners who refuse to take “no” for a final answer.

“‘No’ is a word on your path to ‘Yes.’ Don’t give up too soon. Not even if well-meaning parents, friends, and colleagues tell you to get ‘a real job.’ Your dreams are your real job.” — Joyce Spizer

“I’m spreadin’ my wings, and I’m learnin’ how to fly,
Let me do it my way . . . no need to justify.
Don’t tell me no, no don’t tell me no,
You might as well hand me an engraved invitation,
Don’t tell me no.”
- from the song, “Don’t Tell Me No” by Janey Kenyon, Jeannie Robertson, JoAnn Molloy

Quitting is Not a Reasonable Option

When a problem come up, the average person sees it as yet another reason to quit. Giving up rarely occurs to someone who is engaged in activities in sync with their passions. When your daily activities feel in alignment with your sense of purpose, persistence is not a difficult inconvenience — it’s a way of life. (See previous articles: “Your Passion as Your Compass” and “Work — Just a Job or Visible Love.”)

Thomas Edison is a good example of someone passionate about his work with a clear sense of purpose. There’s a good story that illustrates his perseverance: A reporter once asked him if he ever got discouraged after working so long and hard with no results while trying to invent the light bulb. He said:

“Results? Young man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward.” — Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

The rest of the story is that he kept at it, and never gave up. As a result, at this very moment, you and I are likely both benefiting from Edison’s solution-oriented attitude. How many light bulbs light your life every single day? It’s a good reminder how much we all benefit from this “never give up” attitude, even when practiced by someone who died before we were born.

“Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

“It matters if you just don’t give up.” – Stephen Hawking (b. 1942)

“Genius is perseverance in disguise.” – Mike Newlin

Commitment Equals Quality of Life

To me, the idea of persistence, determination and perseverance are all about the quality of life. In our own personal experience, Janey and I see the positive results of this solution-oriented attitude on a daily basis. We have lived our entire lives in the arts. She was a dance major in college. I studied math, then music. We were always the stubborn ones, following our muses, dedicated to living the life of our dreams, no matter what.

Janey is a writer and a stained-glass artist, as well as (like me) a singer, musician, entertainer and recording artist. We have both made our living (and our lives) playing music for over 30 years.

Has it been easy? Well, no — all those jokes about starving artists are grounded in typical experience. We chose the independent route and realize it was the best decision for us. We don’t care about fame — it looks like a serious inconvenience. What we do care about is independence and personal freedom. These things are the cornerstones upon which we have built our life together. And, we are willing to work long and hard in order to continue experiencing the joy and satisfaction we feel from this kind of lifestyle. I’ve heard people say how “lucky” we are to live such a wonderful life. I always smile and think to myself: “Yeah, and the harder we work, the luckier we get.”

“When you are self employed, you only have to work half-days. (And you can choose which twelve hours that is.) — Jim Guhlke

Just Because Someone Else Has a Problem, Don’t Adopt It as Your Own

Every job or business has its own unique problems that seem to come with the territory. In our music career, whenever some concert promoter is a jerk and showers us with his bad attitude, we remind ourselves it’s his problem. It may inconvenience us in the short term, but it has little impact on the overall quality of our lives. Unlike us, his personal life choices were likely not based on passion and purpose, and he likely doesn’t benefit from the freedom and independence we enjoy daily.

Is that our fault? No. Are we going to allow ourselves to be an effect of his negativity? Momentarily, maybe — until we catch on and remind ourselves that our chosen life of happiness and satisfaction goes on, in spite of him. Are we going to give up on our dreams and quit our rewarding lifestyle because of some faulty-wired, loose-lipped jerk? Nope.

“Take control of your destiny. Believe in yourself. Ignore those who try to discourage you. Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits. Don’t give up and don’t give in.” – Wanda Carter

We All Have Problems — So What? What’s Next?

From the outside, looking in, a life built on music and art looks idyllic and romantic. It is, but the roadblocks, complications and set-backs are significant — likely as intense as in any other form of human endeavor. Still, we have always looked over, around and through whatever obstacle reared its ugly head and kept our focus on the solution.

“Follow your bliss.” — Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

There’s a rare satisfaction from doing what you love, and if you dedicate your life to that, it becomes second nature to find solutions rather than to collect excuses to quit. The solutions are there to be found, but they will only show up if you are receptive and deliberately looking for them. (See previous article, “10 Steps to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose.”)

“And no one but you can find the answer to your quest,
Your answer’s for you and not all the rest.
(You know your answer’s the best, it’s not a contest.)
The question is easy enough, and any honest answer is good enough,
You really gotta know . . . . . what do you love?

What do you love, do what you love,
Do what you love, Oh, do what you love.”
- from the song, “Do What You Love” by Tupelo Kenyon

Don’t Allow Persistence to Morph into Stubbornness

If you are truly passionate about your dreams and feel like your chosen activities are “on-purpose,” you’ll probably never have to be concerned about the difference between persistence and stubbornness. If you’ve taken the time to ask the big questions and listen patiently until your feelings convince you that you are getting a clear answer, your resolve is based on passion and purpose rather than a selfish, ego-based stubbornness. Still, it’s a good idea to check in with your emotional guidance system regularly to make sure you’re still on the right track and not deluding yourself. (See previous article: “How Do You Feel – About Inner Guidance.”)

“Perseverance alone does not assure success. No amount of stalking will lead to game in a field that has none.” – I Ching (BC 1150)

Persistence Reveals Personal Depth

Even when you are committed to your dreams, living your life on purpose and doing what you love, you will still have trials and tribulations. Things come up you never could have foreseen. You can’t prepare for everything — that’s why a positive attitude is so important. The choices are endless. The potential is staggering.

“Now it’s happening every moment, far too big to see,
It’s all too much to do it all, so passion is the key.
It’s a question of perspective, alive to pick and choose,
It’s where we aim our focus that brings it all into view.

It’s just the way of the world . . . It’s just the way of the world,
It’s really nothing personal . . . It’s just the way of the world.
- from the song, “Way of the World” by Tupelo Kenyon

Deliberately Shift Your Attention to Solutions

Recognize the problem, understand the implications to the best of your ability, and then immediately change your focus. Take your attention off the problem itself and deliberately aim your mental power in the opposite direction. Shift your attention 180 degrees toward possible solutions.

Most people don’t do this. Instead, they get stuck staring in the direction of the problem, as if staring it down will somehow make it disappear. Of course, just the opposite is true — whatever you give your attention to grows in your experience. Even if you are shouting “NO” to something you do not want, the Law of Attraction brings even more of it into your experience. (See previous article: “The Law of Attraction.”)

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” – Walter Elliott

Opportunities for Personal Growth

The interesting thing is, by shifting the focus of your attention away from the problem and toward solutions, dormant skills and talents are activated that you may not even know you had. The problem gives you a reason to reach into that infinite well of resources usually dormant deep inside. As a result, you may learn new skills, and develop new mental disciplines that you may have otherwise overlooked.

“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” – Richard Bach (b. 1936)

Mine the Depths

There’s a story of two brothers caught up in the gold fever of the California gold rush. They were among the few who arrived early enough to be able to secure a productive claim. Almost immediately, they struck gold. Not a lot of gold, but enough to get them serious about mining. They got tooled up, hired some help and went to work.

Then, as quickly as their discovery appeared, it disappeared. The gold vein simply fizzled out. They were disappointed and decided to just give up. They quit gold mining, sold their claim cheap and went back east.

The new owner of the claim looked at the problem and immediately started looking for solutions. He decided to hire an engineer and a geologist to evaluate the situation. They recommended to keep digging at exactly the same spot — just a little deeper. After just three feet, they struck the mother lode and became multi-millionaires.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96)

Rejection? No thanks, I’ll Pass. Next.

My wife, Janey, spent the last three years writing a novel — a really good novel. Like most new novelists, she soon had collected a stack of rejection notices from literary agents. Every time she received another rejection, her attitude was, “Okay, you’re not the one. I’m looking for the perfect agent, the one who ‘gets’ it. That’s obviously not you, so get out of my way!” She simply rejected rejection and kept scouring the “Writer’s Market” book and the internet, looking for the perfect agent. She knew all along that such a person existed and it was up to her to find the agent who was also looking for her.

Janey continued submitting query letters and continued ignoring the rejection letters — refusing to take it personally. Today (yes TODAY!) she had a nice, long talk with her new New York agent, who definitely “gets it” and is as excited as we are about the future potential of Janey’s excellent novel. (So, one of these days when you walk into Barnes and Noble’s bookstore and see a mountain of Janey’s books or see the major motion picture based on Janey’s book, you will know that it’s there because Janey kept her eye on the prize and never gave up.)

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” — U.S. President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

They Never Gave Up

Walt Disney had a dream of creating “The Happiest Place on Earth.” One of his major obstacles of such a grand idea was funding. He was turned down 302 times before he got a “yes.” As a result of his vision, his commitment to his dream, and his dedication to his feeling of purpose, Disneyland was born. Just imagine all the happiness it has created for all those kids (and adults) for so many decades!

“Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t sell out.” – Christopher Reeve (American actor/performer/advocate for the disabled and spinal research. Star of “Super Man”)

In his seventies, Harland Sanders spent two years driving all over the U.S., trying to find resturaunts to buy his recipes. He was turned down 1009 times. But, he never gave up. Today, everyone has heard of Colonel Sanders, and his finger-licking-good Kentucky fried chicken is a household word worldwide.

“Failure is only postponed success as long as courage coaches ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.” – Herbert Kaufman

In 1998, Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered a merger to Yahoo for minimal stock options. Yahoo didn’t take these two college kids seriously and promptly declined. Sergey and Larry persevered. They overcame the obstacles, they dug a little deeper, they developed new skills, new ideas, and new technologies that eventually revolutionized many aspects of the internet that we benefit from every single day. They could have become discouraged at Yahoo’s unflattering reaction to their proposal, and simply quit. Instead, within five years, their persistence grew Google into a world-class corporation.

Google’s shares have now topped the $500 each mark. This makes the company valuation somewhere in the region of around $154 billion. To put this into perspective, Yahoo is valued around the $34 billion mark. This puts Google just behind Microsoft and Cisco in terms of high-tech companies.

“Few things are impossible to diligence and skill – Great works are performed, not by strength, but perseverance.” – Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-84)

Have you heard of Oliver Twiddledee? Have you heard of the incredible life he created, the millions of lives he touched, and all the money he made? Of course you haven’t because, sadly, Oliver got discouraged by focusing on his problems. He gave up and quit. Pity.

Oliver Twiddledee is not an inspiration — not a role model. Nobody cares about him. He helped nobody and went on to live out his life in quiet desperation and regret — a life of broken dreams with a shattered self-image.

“I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul.” – Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

Instead of focusing any more attention on pitiful Mr. Twiddledee, let’s celebrate the lives and inspiration we get from Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and those two “stubborn” college kids who dreamed up Google. Let’s celebrate and then emulate the lives of the winners who chose to do what they love, dedicated their lives to their passions and never gave up on their dreams.

“Oh, you weak, beautiful people who give up with such grace. What you need is someone to take hold of you — gently, with love, and hand your life back to you.” – Tennessee Williams (1911-83)

While reading, did you choose to hear the relaxing instrumental music linked at the beginning of this article? To learn more about it, click here.

Listen FREE to the songs below . . . chosen to enhance the ideas in this article.

Related Songs
Do What You Love
Discovering what we have a true passion for, and then figuring out a way to build a life around that passion is one of life’s greatest feelings of accomplishment.

Way of the World
Life is so huge . . . so diverse . . . the possibilities are literally infinite. What’s the best way to sort it all out and carve out a little niche of our own?

Don’t Tell Me No
Just don’t do it. It’s better that way . . . for both of us!

Time of Our Lives
Time is so fleeting, so elusive, it’s good to remember the importance and power of living right now.

Songs by Tupelo

Related Links

Related Articles

Your Passion as Your Compass
Allow your passions to stretch their wings and the direction of your life could surprise you – in a good way. Celebrate life with passion!

Work – Just a Job or Visible Love
Do you love what you do and do what you love? Here’s a step-by-step method on how to put your passions to work and start living the life you were born to live.

10 Steps to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
Of all the self-help ideas I’ve come across through the years, this one has been the most helpful. For me, it’s been the Rosetta Stone of personal development techniques. After getting a handle on the idea of “purpose”, other areas of my life fell into place more easily.

How Do You Feel About Inner Guidance?
Is it a hunch? Is it a voice in your head? Is it something you feel? Don’t confuse what you feel with who you are. Once you are able to access this awareness of pure being and identify yourself with it, you won’t get carried away by whatever emotional cloud happens to be passing by. Celebrate life through one of the more subtle forms of communication available to us – inner guidance.

The Law of Attraction
With anything as important as the law of attraction, it’s a good idea to hear it described many times from many different angles. This article looks at it from several viewpoints as well as revealing how to get the understanding of the law of attraction from the prime source. Many links are provided including links to streaming mp3 songs that incorporate the principles of attraction in the lyrics. Celebrate life with an ever-clearer grasp of how the law of attraction determines your life experience.

Articles by Tupelo

This is the end of the article entitled Persistence and Perseverance for Winners — Losers Just Quit published by Tupelo Kenyon on November 2, 2007 at 5:00 am | In Awareness, Courage, Manifestation, Passion, Productivity, Purpose - Copyright 2007 - All rights reserved worldwide.

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