In some of my psychology classes we discussed how certain personality traits directly affected people’s lives. Of the “Big Five Personality traits,” Openness to experience often led to more risk taking, conscientiousness usually led to longer lasting relationships, and agreeableness led to more empathetic and optimistic lives. But what interested me most was how someone’s personality could correlate to their overall success in life. Now, I understand that success is a rather loosely defined word, but I think for the sake of the point I would like to make here, I’ll leave it open to your own interpretation.
When I was in high school, my basketball coach, none other than the great Craig Ellegood (aka “The Goods”) used to tell me “Persistence is key! Persistence is key!” Being the less-than-level-headed kid I was, I usually tuned him out, not even really giving him a chance to explain. But, seeing as I am a bit more level-headed now, I see how valuable it was. Lately, I have been struggling to start a small company and began to tell myself the very same thing. I finally saw the connection between my psychology classes, my business, and the words of “The Goods.”
So today, I would like to explain exactly why that is, and how you can integrate this concept into your lives; hopefully to achieve your own self-defined success. Persistence is the steadfast continuance of a particular attitude, purpose, or course of action. In other words, it is a result of the internal refusal to give up on that which you are trying to do. When I hear the word persistence I think of the used car salesmen who won’t leave me alone. Although annoying, it is necessary for him to be successful because if he did not persist, he would never make a sale, never be able to pay his rent, and essentially cease to exist. In this instance, his persistence is his survival. Giving up is NOT an option.
Now what about success on a larger scale? Not to undermine the used car salesmen occupation, but for the sake of this blog lets look at it on a more grand scale. How could persistence contribute to one’s success in becoming the President of the United States? Well, think of all the work one would have to do to get to that point. Think of all the meetings, discussions, fundraisers, debates, campaigning, editorials, interviews, and sheer number of hours that would need to be put in to get there. How could ANYONE do it without persistence?
THE TAKEAWAY: Persistence is key. It is the single most important contributor to success because in order to accomplish anything, you must REFUSE to fail. The dichotomy of failure and success then makes it obvious; if you don’t fail, then you must have succeeded. So I challenge you to do this: figure out what it is you REFUSE to fail at… write it down… stick it to your bathroom mirror… and watch yourself succeed. Turn the ignition.
I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, and a segway to my next blog post:
“The reasonable man spends all his time adapting to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”