Success Qualities: Persistence
There are no shortcuts to achieving your goals. Those who succeed are those who practice patience and persistence. Psychologist Michael Howe of Exeter University in the UK has spent years studying the lives of great men and women. He rejects the theory that geniuses are somehow different from the rest of us but believes that so-called geniuses become high achievers because they stick at their art more than others. For example, although Mozart began to compose at the age of 5 and wrote the score of Allegri's Miserere at 14, he had by the age of 6 spent 3500 hours of studying and practising music. Howe also found that 73 of the 76 leading composers in the world were all well advanced in their careers before their major works were written. The top contemporary musicians are simply those who practise the most.
Persistence: The Two Frogs and the Milk Churn
The following story illustrates how practice, persistence and patience lead to success.
Two frogs happened one day to come upon a milk churn standing in the farmyard. Feeling thirsty, they both jumped in and drank their fill. When they sought a way out however, there was none; the sides of the churn were too smooth and slippery.
After battling for some time, they were both exhausted.
"Come on," encouraged the younger frog; "there must be a way out."
"No," replied the older frog. "It's no good. We've had it." And with that he sank to the bottom of the churn and drowned.
The younger frog refused to give up. He kicked and kicked for what seemed hours until suddenly with one leap he was free. When he looked back to discover what had enabled him to get out, he saw that, with all his kicking, the milk had turned to butter.
Nothing Can Take the Place of Persistence
Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States from 1923 to 1929. He passionately believed that the most common commodity in his country was unrealized potential. Here is what he said about the power of persistence:
"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 will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."