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“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.”
– Calvin Coolidge persistence quote

I’ve been reading finance books lately. A lot of them. I’m getting ready to develop a financial product and the basis of it- along with personal experience- is a lot of research.

Those books keep referring to successful people. It makes sense, after all. Most of the books are related to building wealth. Which equals income. Which equals success.

That got me thinking about success. You read all these “sudden success stories” about how someone became famous overnight or a business exploded onto the scene. But when you dig a little deeper, you find out that isn’t true. There are years of work, dedication, sweat, tears, and failure behind these successes.

Why does one person achieve their dreams? And the next is overwhelmed by the circumstances around them? Even when those circumstances are identical?

What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful. #persistence #success #goals #reachgoals #persistent

In summary, what is the key to success? Why are some people successful and others aren’t?

The key to success if persistence. But I know, all to well, that in the face of defeat, agony, and tears, it can be difficult to stay persistent. It’s one thing to read “oh, the key to success is persistence.” It’s another to actually apply that on the days when you don’t think you can. When running one more lap, or spending another hour working at that project, or dealing with one more angry person seems impossible.

First, what is persistence? According to the dictionary:

  • continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
  • continuing to exist or endure over a prolonged period.

That sounds like a lot of pressure. Difficulty. Opposition. Prolonged period. The more important question- and one any person desiring success should ask- is can you LEARN to become persistent? In short, how do you become persistent?

How to Be Persistent

1. Believe

The first thing in being persistent is the important of belief. You have to believe. You have to feel it, taste it, know you can do it.

For some people, belief and confidence come easily. They seem to have that personality that anything seems possible. In most areas of my life, I’m one of them. I’ve never been handed a challenge and thought to myself “I can’t do this.” Instead, my mind automatically goes to “what do I need to learn to do this.” Maybe it’s because I was taught from a young age that I could do anything. Maybe it’s because I love learning. But either way, I consider it a blessing.

But in some areas, that all-encompassing belief is a little lacking. One thing that helps is getting out a piece of paper. Write down WHY you think you can’t. Chances are this paper is full of self-limiting beliefs.

If you are having trouble with belief, click to download a printable worksheet >>>Limiting Belief worksheet

It’s a pdf that should open in a new window. Work through the worksheet. Come back and attack the rest of persistence with a solid BELIEF that you CAN do it.

Limiting beliefs worksheet. What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful.
Limiting beliefs worksheet. What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful.
Limiting beliefs worksheet. What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful.

2. Desire

Persistent people want it bad. Really bad. They want it so much they never look for an excuse or a way out of doing it.

How to cultivate a burning desire? That’s tricky. Most people are looking for persistence to achieve something they already want. So cultivating a desire isn’t really an issue.

There are a couple of tricks to increase desire, though.

  • Visualize what things will be like once you’ve achieved your desire. Envision it in as much detail as you can. What will your average day be like? How will you look? What will you wear?
  • Visualize what happens if you completely fail. Envision what rock bottom would be like.

Between the drive/need of the first and the fear/avoidance of the latter, it should help cultivate desire.

What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful. #persistence #success #goals #reachgoals #persistent

3. Keep going

More and more research is coming out that while traditional goal-setting works, it misses a couple of things. Both Forbes and Medium have recently started talking about micro-goals. In a nutshell “it’s doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you keep going.” Don’t worry about turning your blog into a $100,000 a year business. Worry about the next quality post that you need to finish.

There is no secret. No secret track or method or formula. No conspiracy theory that sets up the poor by the rich and successful. The secret is something revealed in a children’s story: The Tortoise and the Hare.

4. Embrace living outside your comfort zone

While many of the details of Colonel Sanders life are in debate, the basic story of his business seems to be consistent. He was running a successful restaurant- which featured his now-famous fried chicken- which was forced out of business by the opening of an interstate seven miles away (meaning a loss of most of his customers). He sold the restaurant at an auction at a loss.

He was 65 and had a monthly social security check of $105. Instead of giving up, he started traveling across the country, stopping at likely restaurants, and offering to give them a try of his fried chicken method and recipe. If they adopted the recipe, he got a cut of 4 cents per chicken sold (he later raised it to a nickel). By 1964, he had franchised over 600 outlets and built a company worth millions of dollars.

If we can learn one thing from Colonel Sanders, it that you have to embrace life outside your comfort zone. He lived out of his car, supposedly occasionally begging meals from friends. I find this inspiring on a personal level. I am SO uncomfortable with doing video for my website. But it’s the future. So I’m slowly forcing myself to integrate video even though I’m highly uncomfortable. You don’t get ahead in your comfort zone.

I know, it’s easier to relax. To live on your comfort zone- after all, it’s comfortable! But you have to face the uncertainty of failure. You have to face hardship. You have to embrace living outside your comfort zone.

5. Have a vision larger than yourself

Why do you want to achieve this goal? Personal satisfaction? To make the world a better place? To please someone else? To make life better for your family?

Goals with a purpose and vision bigger than yourself are vital to success. For example, while I work on my website for my own personal pleasure, I have a bigger vision.

It may be small compared to Gandhi, but it’s my vision for making the world a better place. And getting those e-mails and comments from readers that I made their life better, easier, or more fulfilled keeps me going on the days when doing one more thing seems impossible. In fact, I keep a notebook written down of things other people have said. Multiple times, I go and scan it looking for inspiration. In short, for persistence to keep going.

Some examples:

  • If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t just think of a number on the scale. Embrace how confident you’ll be when you’re healthier. Envision how your happiness will affect your loved ones. Will you be less self-centered and more loving when you’re able to embrace and love yourself?
  • If you’re trying to make it to the next level at work, how will it affect others around you? Will you be able to provide a higher standard of living for your loved ones? Will you be able to provide- even more important- future security for your spouse in the form of a comfortable retirement?

6. Find goals that are meaningful

Unless you have a goal that you will overcome all obstacles to reach, you’re not going to find persistence inside yourself.

  • Sometimes that means defining the goal. Defining it in detail. Some vague idea of “I’d like to be rich” isn’t defining the goal.
  • Sometimes that means finding the reason- the true reason, deep down inside where you hide things- for this goal. Without a reason- a driving, passionate reason- you’ll putter out when things get tough.
  • Sometimes it means accepting that you’re not willing to do what it takes to reach that goal. I can say I want to be skinny all I want. But if I’m not willing to get up and go walk on the exercise machine for 5 minutes, then I’m not willing to what it takes. {Writer literally takes a break and goes and does elliptical cross-training for 5 minutes. Comes back out of breath (high intensity) but feeling better.}
What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful. #persistence #success #goals #reachgoals #persistent

7. Set goals. And set them correctly

I actually have an entire post on “How to Set Goals” that you should check out. I’ve included the printable from that post below so you can apply it. The big takeaways when it comes to the persistence aspect, though, are below.

  • Know potential problems and solutions. In studying whether persistence was hard-wired human condition or if it could be developed, Peter M. Gollwitzer (psychologist), discovered that it could be developed. In particular, those who implemented an “if-then” set of circumstances were more likely to persist. Give examples.
  • Action items- don’t just set the goal, you need actions
  • Make your action items habits. For example, every single week of life, I work on learning something more about blogging. I’m determined to be a successful blogger which means more knowledge. One of my habits is continually taking training, reading books, etc.
  • Have to be able to adjust action items. While the big goal might not change, the specific actions you are taking might not be getting you there.
Goal-setting worksheet. What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful.

Click here>>> Limiting Belief_Goal Setting  for pdf of goal-setting worksheet.

8. Recognize that failure is part of success

I haven’t read a single story in which someone achieved their dreams without failing at it first.

One particularly inspiring story is of James Dyson. Yes, as in Dyson vacuum cleaners. He developed what is now standard- bagless vacuum cleaners. And now has a billion dollar business. And the gratitude of housewives everywhere, including me. I hated those stupid bags growing up. How did it start? With a bunch of failures. In his own words: “There are countless times an inventor can give up on an idea. By the time I made my 15th prototype, my third child was born. By 2,627, my wife and I were really counting our pennies. By 3,727, my wife was giving art lessons for some extra cash. These were tough times, but each failure brought me closer to solving the problem.”

Your story is going to be the same. Failures are how we learn. It’s a matter of getting back up. Deciding if your actions need to be changed or if it was just bad luck. Adjust your actions if necessary. But always keep going.

9. Have a support system

If your support system isn’t supportive, try to find like-minded individuals. For example, while my support system loves me, they don’t understand blogging. But I’m part of a mastermind group of bloggers in about the same place as me. When the going gets tough, we’re there to inspire each other.

Success story after success story talks about the importance of a mastermind group. A group of people dedicated to learning together and achieving their goals.

What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful. #persistence #success #goals #reachgoals #persistent

10. Develop a growth mindset

Before we get to developing a growth mindset, let’s make sure we’re on the same page with definitions.

  • In a fixed mindset, individuals believe they are either born with talent or they’re not. They’re either naturally good at something, or they’re not. They view intelligence as a fixed trait. They believe inborn talent determines success.
  • Individuals with a growth mindset believe talent comes through effort. They believe anyone can be good at anything; that their abilities can be developed through dedication, perseverance, and the right strategy.

Definitions from: Scott Jeffrey at “Change Your Fixed Mindset“. I high suggest checking out the article…it’s long, but amazing. And more than I can summarize here.

The good news? You can develop a growth mindset.

  • Learn more about growth mindset. As I said, read the article above. In some cases, just learning about the differences causes awareness. Which leads to a more growth mindset.
  • Embrace learning. Read new books. Study the area in which you want to grow. For example, every single week of life, I have three items on my to-do list. Learn more about: 1) blogging, 2) photography, 3) design. It’s not optional. It must be done. I’ve embraced the growth mindset.
  • Listen to your inner voice. If it’s negative, make an active effort to rephrase it to a positive growth mindset. The exercise above (in the section about self-limiting beliefs) is basically this step, but with more details.

Conclusion

I know, this was a long post. A very long post. But there was so much research and fascinating methods that I had to share. Plus it was so helpful to me on a personal level.

Now, I have a question for you: what is one mental process or actual action step you take to be more persistent? Please comment below!

What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful. #persistence #success #goals #reachgoals #persistent
What Everyone Ought to Know About Success. 10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful. #persistence #success #goals #reachgoals #persistent