If there’s a relevant word for surviving this recession, it’s persistence. This economic downturn has lasted longer than anyone imagined it would, and many jobseekers are becoming discouraged. In Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937, Napoleon Hill speaks of persistence as an essential quality. He writes, “Without persistence, you will be defeated before you start. With persistence, you will win.”
Hill outlines the steps in developing a persistence state of mind. Here is my amended version of his list.
- Know what you want. A definite and defined goal is essential for success.
- Know what you plan to do. You can be very specific here, or simply state a big plan that you won’t give up on. It’s up to you; choose between saying, “I’m going to get three quality interviews this month” and “I won’t stop until I’ve gotten an interview at my company of choice.”
- Make sure you’re armed with knowledge. Hill states the importance of “knowing” versus “guessing.” Base your plan on real world information for better results. Use every resource you can to increase your knowledge and probability of success.
- Develop persistence through habits. Hill writes, “Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage.”
History is full of stories about people who succeeded after failing many times. We never hear about the people who gave up after one try.
Here are some of the ideas that Hill identifies as the opposite of persistence:
- Willing to compromise with poverty instead of aiming for high achievement
- Searching for shortcuts to success – not being willing to give full value for what you receive
- The fear of criticism – worrying about what people will think, do or say.
A great example comes from the updated edition of Think and Grow Rich. Fred Smith first proposed his idea of overnight shipping in an economics class project (at Yale University) that he said in interviews “probably received one of my usual C’s.” The story goes that the professor wrote on the paper “In order to get a better grade, the business idea has to be feasible.”
The paper went on to become the idea for FedEx. According to Wikipedia, for years, the sample package displayed in the company’s print advertisements featured a return address at Yale.
“Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.”