How to develop persistence habit in pursuit of success

How to develop persistence habit in pursuit of success

“When you chase a dream, you learn about yourself, you learn your capabilities and limitations, the value of hard work and persistence.” ~ Nicholas Sparks

A slice of Kenyan sporting history was made on Sunday night as our Rugby team captured the first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title. In a stunning upset, they beat reigning Sevens Series champions Fiji 30-7.

This is only the third time Kenya had advanced to the cup final of a leg of the Sevens Series. They lost to England in 2013 and South Africa in 2009 Sevens finals.

Needless to say, this did not come easy. I had the good fortune of being part of a learning event where the Kenya Rugby 7s coach was a speaker. He made it clear that day, that he and the team had a goal to achieve within a set period.

Starting something new or making a big change requires effort, motivation and persistence. There are three things that are between success and failure — doubt, fear and worry.

They have the unique power to either slow you down or put you off the chosen path or make you quit. The difference between a quitter and the winner is a tiny moment.

That single moment when the quitter says, “That’s it, it will never come, I can’t finish this, I’m not good enough,” but the winner thinks differently: “Not yet, I’m going to try just a little bit longer, I think I might be able to figure this out.”

It may take thousands of such tiny moments for the persistent person to finish, but that is really the difference, according to Sean David Jenkins.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people 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 always solved the problems of the human race. If it is anything, its just we who have to adapt this. Talent can only take you that far.

Sometimes, no matter who you are and what you do, there are times when things don’t go as per your plan and everything seems to work against you. And you keep wondering why you are drawn two steps backward for every step you move forward.

You keep doubting your own capability and are left wondering which move of yours went wrong. In situations like this, its easy for people to just throw up their hands in the air, give up and drown themselves in a self-pity mode. But remember, a river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.

Willing to endure

Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable. Sometimes just a little more persistence at the right time, along with a little more effort may turn what seemed to be hopeless failure into glorious success.

After all, It’s not about what you are capable of, its about what you are willing to endure.

Steve Jobs, my personal favourite was an epitome of persistence. He was an American information technology entrepreneur and inventor, co-Founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.

From the very unsuccessful development of Apple Lisa to the very successful development of Macintosh. From being forced out of Apple, all in a span of three years to the ascent of Jobs as the CEO of Apple again 12 years later, there is a lot to grasp from his story of persistence.

Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about. So is persistence all that you need to win or succeed? The secret formula lies in patience, persistence and perspiration. This makes an unbeatable combination for success. So here are a few tips on how to develop persistence as a habit.

1. Set a goal:

Set yourselves with a goal, a definite purpose backed by a burning desire for success or fulfilment. The goal could be achieving getting something done by a certain timeline. Setting a timeline is as important if not more, than setting a goal.

2. Express and engage in continuous action:

Perseverance is not a long race, it is many short races one after the other. If a certain plan does not work, change the plan but never the goal. After all life is not about how fast you run or how fast you climb, but how well you bounce back.

3. Keep your mind open and positive:

When you are frustrated, exhausted and are ready to say “Enough”, just turn back and say “Not yet, I am almost there.” And when that extra effort still does not bring you success, keep your mind open and positive, tell yourself, “I have come this far, I can’t quit now”

4. Be in good company:

Your path to success or your journey need not be all by yourself. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will motivate or encourage you to follow through both on the plan and purpose works wonders. Remember, “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” We are made to persist, that’s how we find out who we are. So hang in there.

Bharatam is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Ltd, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners across Africa. He chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. He can be reached @Sbharatam or

“Ambition is the path to success, but persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” When things don’t work your way, and you are almost ready to give up, just take a moment to reflect, “Is this something I can live without? what does this success mean to me? can I just let this go?”

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