No Substitute for Persistence

The word persistence gets used in professional conversation frequently. What does it mean to be persistent? Merriam-Webster defines it as “existing for a long or longer than usual time.” From the recent college graduate to the top executive, this trait proves itself to be valuable beyond measure. I was thinking about its importance as I have reflected on my own journey. I am definitely not alone.

CEO and founder of tech giant, Amazon, had to be persistent in his goal of launching the company. In its early stages, he was running the whole operation from his garage.

Thomas Edison had to go back to the drawing board a multitude of times before he finally got his breakthrough lightbulb invention working correctly.

The Wright Brothers had several flops on their path to launching the first flying craft that could be controlled while in the air.

These are just a few of hundreds of historical examples of those who achieved the highest levels of success due to their persistence in fulfilling a vision they had. While my own story is far less impressive, I can attest to the power of “hanging around.”

I started earning money around the age of 16, doing whatever odd jobs were around. I raked leaves, helped people move, etc… I had no car, so I got turned down a lot for jobs in my community.  I continued to work odd jobs until my first real job came in my sophomore year of college, when I was a work study in the bio/chem lab. I graduated with my Associates and had to take a hiatus from my studies to work. I was blessed to get a job in a grocery store working as a stocker and custodian. I stayed with this company for the better part of two years. This job kept me afloat as I worked my way through my remaining two years of college and some time afterward.

Upon completing my Bachelors, I found myself in that post grad rut (which I blogged about a few months back). I was at the grocery store for six months when I finally got the call saying I got the job with the newspaper I work at now. That was after scores of applications and “sorry, you’re not selected’s” later. The characteristic and terrible waves of discouragement, doubt, anxiety and anger came over me more times than I care to remember. However, I refused to go away and let my life become something I did not want it to be. My constant prayer was and still is, “God, make something good from my life.” After nearly a year, over a hundred stories, and three additional freelance jobs later, I am thriving and doing better than I thought possible. I am still nowhere close to being where I want to, but I am pressing ahead each day.

There is no class, chant, or exercise that will substitute for persistence. You must keep hanging around and chasing after what you want for your life until it is in your grasp. It is possible. History proves it and God affirms it. Accept that challenge today and set realistic goals. Take the necessary and practical steps to reach them, and do not let what life may try to throw at you stop you.


“Paralyze resistance with persistence.”

~ Woody Hayes

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