A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. – Elbert Hubbard
What does that mean?
A slightly longer version of the quote is as follows:
“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.” Follow the link at the bottom of the post for an even longer version of this passage.
This quote is about the willingness to persist. It is about doing it again, trying a different method or approach, to try to get a different result.
This quote is about never, ever, giving up. It is about getting up one more time. It is about picking up the pieces again, and starting over, again.
This quote is dedicated to all the people who tried and tried and almost quit, but tried one more time, and got it right.
Why is persistence important?
Thomas Edison may be one of the most famous of all the persistent people, but he is hardly the only one. In fact, nearly every successful person out there has managed to crash and burn at some point along their path to greatness. It is a rare thing to do well on the first try, right?
Persistence is what keeps us busy making the effort, even when things are falling apart all around us. Without it, we would never have gotten that first date. Without it, we would never have gotten the first job. Without it, we would never have learned to talk, walk, read, or much of anything else.
What separates the successful from those who are hopeless is often just one more try. Or two. Or perhaps a few more. But they didn’t give up, they persisted. No matter how often things turn out less wonderful than you had hoped, it isn’t going to get any better if you give up, right?
And that is what this quote is all about. Learn from what you did last time, and put forth a little more effort, with a slightly different approach, and you may just make it, or at least make it a little farther. And if not, you can add to your list of the ways which don’t work.
Where can I apply this in my life?
This quote could easily be applied to any part of your life where you are likely to give up or give in. Yes, I admit that there are times when you have to reassess what you are doing, and come to a decision regarding what your next step will be. Sometimes that next step is to hang it up. So be it. At least you thought it through.
What you want to avoid doing is quitting in a fit of pique, in frustration, or in anger. Allow the emotions to calm down. Look at what you tried, and how things turned out. Consider what you could do differently next time, and make sure you still believe there is value in pursuing that specific goal.
Also consider an adjustment to your goal. If you want to be famous, but acting isn’t working for you, perhaps singing or dancing might be the path. Or perhaps you do something else very well. Your overall goal is the same, but the exact destination changed, as did the approach. Food for thought.
Persistence can really try your patience, especially if you have as little as I do. Each time the job market cycles, there is a chance for me to be laid off. It’s just the nature of the market. Sometimes the down cycle lasts a year or even more. Not a lot of fun to keep applying for jobs.
But you have to keep trying. If you stop, you are done for good, right? So day after day, week after boring week, you go online or out on the streets and try to find something. Eventually, you get a lead or two. Most don’t work out. But then it happens. The persistence will eventually pay off, and you have a job!
What parts of your life gives you the most trouble? Where do you feel the temptation to give up or give in? Where do you feel helpless or hopeless? Grab some paper and write a few of these down. Try to find places outside your personal life to consider, work and social environments, as examples.
Now consider what you can use for motivation. I have found that having some kind of motivation is the key to persistence. If you have a big enough reason to continue, you will get back up. You will try again. You will persist until you overcome every obstacle and achieve success.
Write down a couple reasons why each item on your list is not optional, and is not eventual, but important, and even urgent. Come up with ideas which move you, and make you want to complete the tasks at hand, no matter what, and to try again and again and again. Until you win. No other option.
If you can do that, and then stick with it, your persistence, coupled with effort and intelligent modifications to your approach, will pay off.