Last week, I wrote to you about persistence. I noted that I believed that it was the most important quality needed to achieve your dreams.
I can always tell when I have “struck a nerve,” both positively and negatively because the cherished Emails begin pouring in. Nothing makes me smile more than responses to my writing. I truly enjoy the interaction, and I always respond to every email, so thank you.
Last week, almost all the responses were positive, supportive and gave examples in their lives of how persistence or lack of it had been impactful.
There was a central question that seemed to flow in unison from most and it was the question of talent and/or ability verses persistence.
Mary from New Berlin IL asked, “How is persistence useful without talent? The answer is persistently working to improve your skill creates higher level of ability. Not only do I believe persistence is more important than talent, I also believe acquired ability is also more important to your success and happiness than talent.
I received a response from John, a lawyer who said, “I’ve been hiring attorney’s for nearly sixty years and have said many times that if I only had one quality in a future lawyer, that one quality would be “tenacity.” Lawyers who will not quit are almost impossible to defeat.” Next time I need a lawyer, I want one that John hired!”
Julie who only said she was from the east coast, asked, “I love most of your columns, but you occasionally make me uncomfortable. Were you trying to make me feel inadequate with your column about persistence? Not everyone can be as you describe!”
I responded that I never try to make anyone feel bad, while I do often attempt to hold a mirror in front of our collective faces and see the truth about our success and failures. I also included, “I usually write about subjects I struggle with and assume if I do, others do, too.”
If you are not sure my proclamation about persistence, or tenacity is incorrect, let me ask you a few questions …
If you or a loved one is on a hospital operating table and things are not going well, would you like knowing the surgeon refuses to give up, no matter what the odds?
If you and your family are in a passenger Jet traveling at 36,000 feet and the plane begins a series of technical malfunctions that were never anticipated in pilot training, would you rather have a pilot that says, “this wasn’t covered in training so I don’t know what to do? Or would you prefer the pilot that will fight with all his/her ability to save the plane and your family?
George Herman Ruth, also known as the Sultan of Swat … Babe Ruth often said, “It’s hard to beat a man who won’t quit.”
I can go on with examples, but I am certain you understand my point.
I believe the most important leader of the twentieth century was Winston Churchill. Before the US entered the war, Sir Winston Churchill and the British Army stood alone against the Nazis as Hitler pushed for the total domination of Europe and beyond. Churchill was a prolific speaker and writer, but he is best remembered for the simple words, “Never, Never, Never Quit.”
Persistence, stubbornness, tenacity … call it what you will. It is the quality that allowed an army of volunteer farmers, shopkeepers, lawyers, blacksmiths and cobblers to defeat the worlds most lethal military force, the British Army, to gain our independence and create the United States of America.
If you want it, go after it. If the odds are against you, do not waiver in your tenacity. If it’s worth fighting for, fight with all your might. Don’t quit because it is hard. Do not be discouraged by the size of the challenge. Keep pushing. Keep fighting. Seize your dreams from the circumstances that may deny you.
Why not you?
Why not here?
Why not now?
— Gary W. Moore is a freelance columnist, speaker and author of three books including the award-winning “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at garywmoore.com.