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The Strength of Persistence

Develop Patience, Discipline and Endurance

By Sharon S. Esonis, Ph.D.
Date: 02/24/2013

"Big shots are the little shots who kept shooting."
Christopher Morley

Persistence plays a critical role in the quest for wisdom, achievement, success, fulfillment and self-confidence. Most of the eventualities we long for require our focused, vigilant attention, not to mention ingenuity, patience, flexibility and stick-to-it-ness.

Persistence involves setting a goal, committing to a course of action, making the necessary sacrifices, overcoming obstacles, setbacks and criticism – all the while maintaining your motivation, energy and faith in yourself.

It requires adaptability in a variety of situations as well as reviewing and altering expectations. Persistence keeps you on a trail of possibilities that sustains you when you hit a wall with one course of action. It enables you to reenergize yourself so that you can continue to explore creative options.

The words of President Calvin Coolidge tell us of the unique importance of this strength: "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 alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

What is so elusive about persistence? What makes it so difficult to learn and convert into habit? This is a haunting question for anyone who, in good faith, made a New Year’s resolution and blew past it by January 3rd. How does procrastination become a way of life, often resulting in self-loathing?

If persistence eludes you and you have labeled yourself lazy, a procrastinator, one of life losers, you may want to rethink your conclusions so you can effectively develop the goals and habits that bring them to fruition. You can resign from the “I couldn’t change a habit if my life depended on it” club. Since this club has many, many members, you certainly won’t be missed if you choose another path!

Procrastination is the enemy of persistence and the thief of your precious time. Too many people spend too much time trying to understand why they’re in this trap when it would be so much more productive to determine what needs to be modified and what factors play a continuing role in supporting this ineffectual pattern of thinking and behavior.

What might currently be maintaining this pattern of avoidance? To build the strength of Persistence, it’s important to identify the factors that are maintaining procrastination. You might procrastinate because a particular task is distasteful, boring or, at the moment, seems rather inane. Something else might be so much more appealing, competing with the less attractive alternative.

Another reason for this bad habit may be fear; you might feel inadequate and may not want to have the inadequacy confirmed for all to see. Or you may be fearful of an unsure outcome, once you commit your time and energy to the goal. Fear of success can be a powerful variable, as well. If you succeed, you or someone else might expect you to maintain that level of functioning. If you have perfectionistic tendencies, you may fear taking on an endeavor that could manifest in a flawed result. Heaven forbid!

Feeling pressure from others to perform can produce resentment and resistance. Or you might feel entitled to have your dream today without all the wear and tear – the desire for and expectation of quick, easy results. Another action stopper is learned helplessness. This is a mindset in which you may feel that no matter what you do, your actions will not make much of a difference in the final result, so why bother?

Once you have ascertained the underlying factors, you can design a Persistence approach that will set you in forward motion. This will require having a vision, turning trouble into opportunity, and taking control of the journey to your dreams by developing proactive beliefs and behaviors.

If you’d like more in-depth information on ways to build and maintain Persistence in your life, Click Here.

If you’d like to discover your own Positive Path, one that can lead to a life of fulfillment and ultimate personal power, contact Sharon Esonis at (760) 221-8032, or send an email to