The power of persistence

Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Benjamin Franklin
1706 – 1790

There was a young man I was coaching with the aim of helping him achieve his goals. Unfortunately, we reached a point where we were both a bit frustrated: looking back over the previous two years, we each realized that he hadn’t achieved the amount of progress he wanted.

In an effort to get him back on track and moving consistently toward his goals, I gave him an assignment to complete before our next session. I asked him to study the Grand Canyon and Warren Buffet and give me a report on each.

Here’s a brief summary of his report:

The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is located in the State of Arizona and attracts thousands of visitors each year to admire its size and beauty. The Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado River. While there is some debate, geologists estimate that the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon some 17 million years ago.

Warren Buffet is one of the wealthiest men in the world. In 2012, Time magazine ranked him as one of the most influential men in the world. He is considered one of the most successful investors of the 20th century. He got his start in the early 1950s and has consistently been known as a value investor. He started the investment entity that eventually generated the majority of his wealth with a mere $110,000 investment capital.

I was impressed that this young man had provided such an informative and concise report on the two topics. I then asked him what connection he saw between them. Here we had one of The Seven Natural Wonders of the World and one of the richest men in the world; what did they have in common?

He thought about that question for a couple of minutes and then slowly answered. “Both are very remarkable. Each achieved their place in history over a relatively long period of time. The Grand Canyon achieved is beauty because of a river eroding away the canyon over millions of years. Mr. Buffett achieved his success by adhering to a very well defined investment formula over his lifetime.”

Over the past two years, this young man had been shifting his goals, constantly looking for an easier, quicker way to achieve what he wanted in life. It wasn’t necessary for me to point that out — nor would it have been helpful. He clearly understood the lesson.

I don’t believe there is any quicker way to achieve your goals than taking consistent, persistent action each and every day. Don’t let yourself become complacent or distracted. Make it a habit to stay focused and act on your goals.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Calvin Coolidge
1872 – 1933

Copyright © 2013 John Chancellor


The power of persistence — 2 Comments

  1. Dianna,

    I suspect that from time to time we all need to be reminded of the awesome power of persistence – that success comes from staying focused and consistently doing the small but important things.