Persist and you will succeed.

October 5, 2021

Miguel de Cervantes(1547-1616) is widely regarded as the greatest writer of the Spanish language, best known for his epic story “Don Quixote.” Cervantes said – “Diligence is the mother of good fortune”

Success may be seen by some as good fortune; however good fortune or luck seldom has much to do with success.  But, if diligence is the mother of success, the father of success is surely persistence.

Calvin Coolidge put it well – “Nothing in this 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 alone are omnipotent.”

It is fitting to equate the determination that Coolidge referenced to the diligence that Cervantes mentioned.

Thomas Edison is perhaps the penultimate role model for persistence. Two of his many quotes about his own success ring true here –

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

If you did not succeed yesterday, don’t give up . Learn from whatever failure these was yesterday or celebrate whatever small, incremental progress you made towards your goal.

Persist and you will succeed.

But, it’s not an automatic door…

December 17, 2020

Pastor Freed used this quote today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Every wall has a door.”  (Emerson) 

That quote gets used a lot in inspirational posts or signs and is meant to encourage people to not quit, but to look for the way out of the situation that they find themselves in – to look for that door. Pastor Freed went on to relate how Michael Jordan used it to explain that he never quit when he had early rejections or failures in life – he found a way through, or over, or around the walls that life threw up in his life.

I suspect that many of us approach those doors like we would the door of a major retail store, like Kohl’s or Target. We expect them to be automatic, to open as we approach them. Most are not that way. The doors to opportunity in life require not only that you look for them; but, also that you actually work to get them open and go through them.

Some doors may even be locked when we get there and we have the further challenge of finding the key to unlock them, so that we may open them and go through. Some doors are even hidden. I saw a post on Linked In recently were a man approached a wall that had an obvious door in it, but he pushed on the seemingly solid stone wall next to the door and a passageway opened for his to go through. Maybe the message there is that one must also look for hidden solutions to life’s problems and challenges.

What do you do when you walk up to the storefront door and it doesn’t automatically open? Do you give up, turn around and go back to your car? No. You reach out, grab the door handle and open it yourself.

The doors the we may face in life are not automatic and we must work to find and open them, so that we might go forward in life. The important take-away is to not allow yourself to be satisfied with being shut out of what’s behind each door that is preventing your progress.

This morning, in your prayers, ask God, not that He make the doors that you encounter in life open automatically; but, rather for His help in finding the key needed to open them and allow you to move on with your life. Ask Him to strengthen your faith and give you the patience and perseverance to work at opening those doors.  We read in the Bible –

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

If you think about it, God has already given us the ultimate key to life’s last door – Jesus. For, with faith in Jesus, we can open the door in the wall of death and enter into eternal life.

Keep working at it through prayer. It is not an automatic door.

Felled by a lack of patience and resolve…

June 28, 2020

Americans have a well known history of impatience and a lack of resolve when faced with a patient and persistent enemy. Ho Chi Minh knew that if he kept the war in Viet Nam going long enough that America would eventually loose its resolve and abandon the fight and the country. The Taliban leaders are probably counting on the same thing in Afghanistan. Now, we are seeing the consequences of that lack of patience and resolve in the fight against the Corona Virus, especially among the young for whom patience was never a virtue.

The resurgences of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations we are witnessing in the South and West are a direct consequence of people, many of them young people, becoming inpatient and ignoring the advice to socially distance themselves and wear masks. A recent hot spot outbreak in southeastern Michigan has been traced to a big college campus party at a bar that had just reopened. Event though he bar owners and staff took all of the precautions that they could, the crowd that gathered did not heed the warnings and advice and many did not wear masks. A couple of weeks after r the party, a large number of people reported being COVID positive and had spread the disease to others who weren’t even there when they went back home.

The Corona Virus isn’t aware of the lack of patience. It is just a very opportunistic organism with a single focus upon replicating itself. The fact that it sometimes kills its host just means that it must continue to jump from host to host as quickly as possible. It is convenient for it that many of the potential hosts choose not to protect themselves from infection.

In interview after interview that we see on the nightly news there are people (mostly young white people) who profess to be unconcerned about the pandemic. Many seem to be repeating the words of our MAGA-maniac that this is all somehow a big hoax or no worse that the regular flu.  Of course, they usually aren’t wearing masks because their fearless leader doesn’t wear one. To them, it is all fake news.

We could dismiss that lunatic fringe were it not for the fact that they are joined by a large number of people who have just grown wearing of this battle and are ready to walk away from doing the things that are required to win. There will be no dramatic pictures of helicopters loading those who seek to escape from this battle, like there were from the  the roof of the American Embassy in Viet Nam. There have already been claims of victory over this pandemic from the fearless leader that ring as hollow as the claims of victory over the Taliban. Like the Taliban, the Corona virus may hide in the shadows for a while, but it is not vanquished. It is just waiting for our patience and resolve to wane. The recent resurgence or second wave (call it what you will) has proven that strategy to be valid, as has the acceptance of the Taliban in so-called “peace talks” in Afghanistan.

The science of the situation has not changed; however, the economic damage and political pressures have increased to the point of overruling the best advice of our health professionals. The T-shirts worn by those protesting the restrictions that were imposed which used to say “Live Free or Die” would now be more correct in stating “Live Free and Die”. If it were simply that only the person unwilling to take precautions would be impacted, it might be OK to let that pass. Bu t it is not that simple.

So, now, five months into this pandemic, it is gut-check time for our resolve as a nation. Do we declare victory and walk away from the fight, knowing that thousands more will die; or, do we renew our resolve to take on this enemy and defeat it with the only real weapons that we have – avoiding crowds, practicing social distancing, washing our hands frequently and wearing a face mask?  Eventually, our scientists will develop and give us a better weapon – a vaccine. Until then we must fight with what we have.

The Corona virus is incapable of smiling or snickering at us, but it has to be happy to see the waning resolve and lack of patience that its target hosts are displaying. Perhaps it will take a change in leadership at the national level (or one might say just leadership at all) to rally Americans against this enemy. We can win this battle. We cannot yet defeat the virus, but we can work to make sure that it does not defeat us.

Stay safe. Wear a mask in public. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands often. Be patient and persistent. Let’s defeat this enemy!

You must persist..

June 1, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “Press on.  Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”  (Ray Kroc)

I was recently asked, during the introduction to a talk that I was to give, what the secret to my success is. My answer was “patience and perseverance”. I suppose that this answer equates to persistence. It is all too easy in life just to give up on things; to get discouragednever give up and admit defeat. Having been in sales and marketing positions most of my adult life, I know a thing or two about rejection or someone saying “no”. There are tons of books on sales and how to deal with objections, and the one constant in all of them is the need to be persistent.

Those who let the first rejection or failure stop them will never be successful. It is important to stop and analyze what just happened to lead to that rejection and to learn from it and make changes for the next attempt. Nothing is more of a waste of time than doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. That is not persistence; that is the definition of insanity.

As a Realtor, I have had many opportunities to demonstrate persistence. I had one listing for three years before it sold. I had to be persistent in both my efforts to sell it and my efforts to get the owner to reduce the price to a reasonable level. I’ve also had buyer clients for multiple years. Often I would get buyers who had expectations about what they wanted that did not match their ability to pay. In those cases being persistent in both the search and in my efforts to educate them on what they could and should expect to buy eventually paid off in a sale. I’ve also had many cases where the clients were not as persistent or as patient as I and they usually ended up leaving and going with some other Realtor. Many of those impatient clients later told me that they ended up doing what I was advising them to do while they were with me.

We must all persist and press on in life. The alternative is a one-way trip down a dead-end street. Persistence is not about continuing to try to solve the unsolvable problem; it comfort-zoneis about rethinking the problem and moving around it or putting it behind you. Go under, over or around it; but, don’t let that seemingly unsolvable problem stop you. Most of the time the problem exists mainly in our heads, due to our inability to accept something that has happened (a failure , a death the end to a relationship) and move on. Dwelling on something is not persistence, it is resistance. That resistance results in stress; stress born out of anger and futility. Allowing that stress in your life results in many health issues, both physical and mental.

So, resolve today to persist in life without wasting your time resisting against that, which let-go-1has already happened. Learn from yesterday and then let it go. Press on! Take a goo look at the picture and that eh advice that is embedded therein.

Take the first step today

May 6, 2019

Let’s start the week with a quote from my favorite source for inspiration, the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass anyway.”  (Earl Nightingale)

Whether you call it a dream or a goal, sometimes when we think it up and then think about it, our dreams seem too big to get done or we think that it will take too long to bootsaccomplish. Sometimes we defeat ourselves before we even start with those kinds of thoughts. I’ve posted here many time about breaking seemingly impossibly large problems or tasks into smaller pieces and accomplishing them one at a time. Making steady progress, even in small steps is important, as is rewarding yourself along the way for having accomplished whatever small step you were focusing upon.

There was a story this weekend in the local paper about a man who walked out of the rehabilitation facility that he has been in for the last three years while he fought his way back from a horrific automobile accident. The accident initially left him paralyzed and there were probably those who thought that he might never walk again. Apparently, he was not one of the naysayers. It took him three years of hard work to learn how to walk again.

What dreams do you have that seem too daunting, too far out in the future? Have you thought about the steps, no matter how small, that you need to take to get to your dream? Which ones can you accomplish today, this week, this month? Remember the advice of Lau Tzo – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”walking man

Take your first step today.

Do you have SISU?

September 7, 2016

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog come the inspiration for today’s post –

“I have perceived that man with courage and will-power can overcome anything.” (Scharnhorst)

Jack went on to write – Determination?  Persistence?  Tenacity?  Guts?  The Finns have a word for it: SISU!  Sisu is even in the Bible.  “I can do all things…through Christ who strengthens me.”  Paul wrote this while facing difficult situations in his life.

I often advise my real estate clients that selling their house will take patience and patiencepersistence. They must get into the habit of keeping the house in a condition such that a showing could take place at any time. That means allotting some extra time in the mornings to make sure it is show ready before heading off to work. It helps if you can exercise that patience with a good attitude.
In life in general, those with SISU as part of their personal makeup most often succeed. They have the courage to try new things and the will-power to stick with it until they succeed. They have SISU.

sisuSometimes we need the extra little boost to our SISU in our daily lives that a little reflection in prayer can add. Perhaps you could find strength and resolve by just repeating that little phrase that Jack mentioned in his post – “I can do all things…through Christ who strengthens me.” For some the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm is a pick-me-up – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” For others the fear of the unknown or of failure is stripped away be this passage, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The common theme that runs through all of the supportive scriptures that I might mention is that you are not in this alone, if you accept and believe in Jesus Christ. He is always with you and with Him in your corner you cannot fail. You may suffer setbacks from time to time, but your willpower, courage and tenacity (your SISU), strengthened with God’s help, will pull you through.

Video game players know that in many video games there are secret treasures to be found that have restorative powers. The character that you are playing may be beat up, injured or otherwise in bad shape due to setbacks in the game; however, if you find those hidden man prayingtreasures they can restore the character to full strength immediately, ready to go with the game. Life is a little like that; although the restorative treasures aren’t really hidden; they are most often just forgotten about. Those restorative treasures are the words of God as found in the Bible. A few have been mentioned here, but there are too many to list.

Here’s a link to one site that points you to several uplifting passages that might help make you day better. Find a few for yourself and see if they don’t restore your SISU.

I may not be perfect, but I’m making progress.

August 27, 2016

“Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.”  (Julia Cameron) – as seen on a recent post at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Many people get down on themselves when they make a mistake; beating themselves up about it, rather than focusing upon learning from the mistake and trying to make progress in their lives. We have to accept the fact that none of us is perfect and that we will makebored2 mistakes or have failures in our lives. What we shouldn’t accept is that those failures or mistakes define us. What defines us is what we do with and about those mistakes and failures. Do we learn from them and turn that knowledge into the wisdom to not make the same mistakes again; or, do let those mistakes take us into dark holes of self-loathing or depression?

Every day is a good day if you have the right attitude. Even if it is a day filled with mistakes or failures, it was also a day of learning; it was a day when you discovered things not to do in the future and paths not to take again. Sure there might have been some pain; but as dinosaurlong as there is learning from that pain it was a day well spent. Perhaps it was even more valuable than the day might have been had you made no mistakes, had no set-backs or suffered no failures; but , from which you learned nothing new.

So, at the end of the day or the week, you should reflect on the things than may not have gone as you thought they would, the mistakes that you realize now that you made or the failures that you had and se what you can learn from those misadventures. You might even find that you can laugh about them now. It’s OK to say out loud to yourself, “That was pretty dumb”; so long as you are also seeing the things to learn from in those events.

The automaker Lexus used to use the tag line – “The relentless pursuit of perfection” – which they replaced with the new tag line – “Engineering the impossible”. I liked their old tag line and it is perhaps a great mantra to repeat to yourself as you reflect on and learn Perfectionfrom your own mistakes; that your life is a relentless pursuit of perfection. Think of it this way; if you’ve never relented from that pursuit; then you’ve not yet failed. You may have hit some bumps in the road, but the road is still ahead and you are still traveling it. The good news is that you have a great guide along that road to help you, if you let Him. Just keep this little verse in mind from Philippians 3:12 –

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

It doesn’t get any more perfect than that.

Keep striving and learning my friends.

Did your resolutions turn into good habits?

March 6, 2015

“Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as bad habits.”  (Robert Fuller)

I saw a story on the local news last night that today is the watershed day for New Years Resolutions. Apparently there is evidence that if one can keep doing something for 66 days straight it will have established itself as a habit and today (Mar 6) is day 66 for happy winner2015. So, if you’ve managed to do every day whatever it is that you promised yourself that you would do for 2015; congratulations you’ve formed a new habit (hopefully a good one).

The most often reported New Year’s Resolutions seem to be about losing weight, quitting a bad habit (like smoking) or getting more exercise. Those resolutions are all tough to stick with for most people, so if you did it and stuck with any of them; good for you.  For me I was resolved to be a regular at the gym this year. I just can’t go every day, but I was on the list of the top 15 gym attendees at the Milford Anytime Fitness for the first month and just barely out off the list in February, when I took a week off for vacation. I think I have this down to a habit, but I’ll keep tracking it to make sure.

There was a story in today’s Detroit papers about a new young catcher who is expected
baseball catcherto become the backup catcher on the team this year – James McCann. James was in a pre-season game this week and let a ball that was outside and in the dirt get by him. In a real game during the season a miscue like that can cost a game and James knows it. He was upset with himself for that miss, so the next day he came to practice early and had the pitching coach line up the pitching machine so that it would fire balls at him outside and in the dirt. He had 100 balls loaded up and fired away so that he would get all of that practice to make sure that he stops balls that might get by him. In the process he was forming the good habits that catchers need of getting down and staying in front of the ball. He is hard on himself, but he doesn’t just beat himself up or get moody about it. He uses his mistakes (misses) as motivation to double-down and work harder.

How about you? Did you keep your resolutions? Have they become good habits for you? The alternatives to holding yourself accountable for your resolutions are to lower your standards or give up completely, neither is a good choice. Once you start allowing at the gymyourself to slip and finding ways to rationalize why that’s OK, you’ve stepped way out onto the slippery slope of backsliding and failure. Don’t go there. It’s not a pleasant place to live. Rather, double your resolve, but don’t beat yourself up. The first step in not giving up is to realize that it’s not too late…you can still do this (whatever “this” is). So, don’t bury your resolutions; dust them off; learn from your mistakes or failures so far; and double-down on your resolve to accomplish those goals (and that’s what they really should have been all along – goals).

Create good new habits along the way to reaching your goals. Have a great weekend catching up on those promises to yourself. As for me, I’ll be at the gym working out.

The five “P’s” of success in life…

September 22, 2014

There are, is seems to me, five things that are important to achieving success in life. Two of them I saw recently as I visited one of the blogs of a follower of my blog –

“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.” – as seen on the KSFINBLOG

I would add to those two essential ingredients Persistence, Perseverance and Patience, which are what ultimately lead to success.

woman carrying torchPurpose is what turns life from just wandering through into a journey. Purpose defines the goal or destination that you want to achieve. Passion supplies the drive to get to that destination or goal. If you have that passion lighting the way, then Persistence means getting up every day and taking a few more steps towards the goal. Perseverance means being able to bounce back from set-backs or disappointments and refocusing upon the goal; and Patience means understand that most journeys take a while and are not accomplished all in a day.

We have become a society used to instant gratification; to getting things right now; and, quite honestly, many times used to not having to work too hard to achieve our goals. Purpose-driven lives tend to take a longer view; maybe because they focus upon bigger goals or maybe because they start further away from the final destination. Purpose-gymnastdriven athletes tend to have train for years before they even get to the level where they have a shot at achieving their goal. Some, like Olympians have four years of training between attempts. It takes a lot of passion, persistence, perseverance, and patience to train for four years in order to get one shot at the gold. Imagine setting your sights on a goal that is four years out. Maybe you have evenlonger term goals.

So, as you set your goals and define the journey that your passion is leading you upon, make sure that you are ready for the long run. Make sure that you have the persistence, perseverance and patience for the journey. Otherwise you will just experience many short trips into failure and frustration. We’ve all met someone like that who keep making half-hearted efforts into “the next big thing” in their life, whether it be a relationship or a new job or some new hobby or sport that they dabble in for a while. They mistake an interest for purpose and an attraction for passion; but they really have none of the other things that they need to make things work. Many of us do take false starts at things that we reaching goalinitially believe to be worthwhile goals, only to discover that we really don’t have the passion to persist and overcome obstacles or maybe the patience to stay the course.

What purposes (goals) do you have in your life? What passions? Are you persistent in pursuing them with patience and perseverance? Where are you on those journeys? Have you taken time to feel rewarded by the progress that you’ve made? Have you made your goals know to others? If not, why not? If so, are they cheering you on? Think about these things in the week ahead. Just thinking about what the important goals are in your life will help reinforce your passin for achieving them. Have a great and purposeful week.

Three little words that can change your life… Don’t give up.

April 8, 2014

It’s back to basics and three little words. I just needed yesterday’s break. Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world. I decided to stop numbering these posts, because who care how many there are.

dispairToday’s three little word – Don’t give up – has a corollary from the opposite perspective – “I won’t quit”. When one encourages someone else with the phrase, “ Don’t give up”, the hope is that their retort will be, I won’t quit. Most of us have family or friend to help with this; maybe a wife or BFF. It is important for us to have a support system of some sort, someone to cheer us on and push us with applause and cheers and to yell – Don’t give up.

In the health and fitness world that is a role often filled by a personal trainer, a person to be there during workouts to hold you accountable, to encourage and cajole you to do that next sit-up or lift that barbell one more time and whatever. The basis for success in personal training is personal accountability, having that tainer there to tell you – Don’t give up.

In many of life’s day-to-day trails or challenges we don’t necessarily have personal trainers, but we
eventsmay have life partners or even best friends to who we can turn for support and encouragement. Maybe it’s a bad situation at work or even a personal conflict. Our support team seldom recommends that you quit and wallow in self-pity; instead they buck you up, cheer for you and  tell you that they still love you and say or whisper to you – Don’t give up.

Sometimes the unthinkable happens and you lose that loved one that you had depended upon for encouragement in your life. Things can be overwhelming and confusing. In times like that you may be helped by a clergyman who will encourage you to find comfort and hope in your faith. If you turn to that faith you will find the peace of knowing that you will be reunited in eternal life and that will give you the strength that you need to endure even this tragedy. Don’t give up.

pushing uphillSo the message today is one of perseverance and persistence. You can withstand much more than you give yourself credit for and you can be successful in the face of any adversity by continuing the struggle. Do not turn away. Do not fear failure. Do not allow yourself to be swayed by what others may do or say. Don’t give up.

At the end of the day or at the end of life, there is no comfort to be found in a life filled with coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. Remember this –

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”― John Greenleaf Whittier

Don’t put yourself in that position – Don’t give up.