HOW PERSEVERANCE SUSTAINS YOUR AMBITION
By Bayo Ogunmupe
Perseverance isn’t about talent or time. It is about finishing whatever is started. Talent gives hope for the accomplishment of your ambition. But perseverance guarantees your success. Thousands of people have talent, but do you have the staying power for the accomplishment of your goals?
No matter how talented you are, there cannot be great success without perseverance and courage. World War I flying bomber Edward Rickenbacker said, “I can give you a six-word formula for success, think through then follow through.” Many people think things through but few follow through. If you desire to succeed, then understand these about perseverance.
One, perseverance means you are determined to succeed not destined to succeed. The difference between great people and others isn’t lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge but rather a lack of determination. You can find this determination in great people everywhere and in every age. Hannibal, the black Carthaginian general who fought the Romans in the Second Punic War, asserted, “We will either find a way or make one”. He went on to lead a campaign that took him over the Alps to defeat the Roman Empire.
Two, perseverance recognizes that life isn’t a long race, but a series of little daily victories. Three, perseverance gains you your life’s rewards. Walt Disney’s request for loan was rejected by 301 banks before he finally got a yes. The loan he received enabled him build Disneyland, the first and most famous theme park in History. Many life’s failures are those who did not realize how close they were to success, when they gave up.
Four, perseverance draws a sweetness from adversity. Confronted by adversity, many gave up while others rose up. The winners succeeded through perseverance. Winning over adversity makes you wiser than ever. Five, perseverance compounds your gains. Going beyond your limits is the secret of lasting success. Doing this takes relentless perseverance, with success rebounding over time. Six, perseverance means never stopping until the task is done. Success is like wrestling, you don’t quit when you are tired, you quit when the task is done. Fatigue and discouragement are no signals to quit; they’re signs to draw on your reserves. Seven, perseverance demands all you have. It doesn’t demand more than you can give. But perseverance means more than trying, it is an investment in the future. Besides perseverance is an attitude of tenacity of purpose. All you need to win is to be persistent and consistent. Then you can win the trust of your fellow travelers.
Eight, failure is caused by the wrong belief that success is a destination. Complacency takes root when you feel good about your present success. It is ironic that past success can be the enemy to future success.
Nine, make resiliency your way of life. Harvard Professor of Psychiatry George Valiant, in his book, Aging Well, he identifies resiliency as a characteristic of successful people who live to old age. He writes: ‘resilience reflects individuals who resemble a twig with a fresh, green living core, when twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break. Instead it springs back and continues growing.” This is good description of how you must be if you desire to conquer adversity and make the most of your talent. You cannot be a champion if you only work on the days when you feel good.
Ten, lack of vision is an enemy of success. Everything created is actually created twice. First, it is created mentally, then is is created physically. The first vista of creation comes from Vision.
Champions always keep a larger vision in mind as they toil away at their profession. They see in their minds eye what they want to be and they keep working at it.
Besides, you need courage to persevere, your never leaving the familiar may mean that you are comfortable. But your willingness to let go of the familiar means you are courageous. American historian James Robinson asserted, “Greatness is largely due to bravery, courage in escaping from old ideas, old standards and respectable ways of doing things.”
Our situations are not made by circumstances. We can define our circumstances by actions. You must be willing to give up all you have in order to become all you can be. Italian actress Sophia Loren once observed, “getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why people with mediocre talent, but with inner drive, go much farther than people with vastly superior talent.” The opposite of courage isn’t cowardice, it is conformity. It is not enough to believe in something, you must live for something. A belief is something you argue about but a conviction is something you die for. You cannot really live unless you have something you are willing to die for. General Omar Bradley remarked, “Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death. “And the famed World War II commander General George Patton said, “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” The difference between hero and coward is one step ahead.
When it comes to relationships, there are three ways of dealing with others. The low road, where we treat others worse than they treat us.
The middle road, where we treat others the same way they treat us and the high road – where we treat others better than they treat us. The low road damages relationships and alienates others from us. The middle road may not drive people away, but it doesn’t attract them to us. However, the high road creates positive relationships with others and attracts people to us even in the midst of conflict.
Taking the high road requires two things – courage and forgiveness. Courage allows us to turn the other cheek and treat people well while they treat us badly. But you can only muster courage by relying on forgiveness. When we keep score of wrongs committed against us, we reveal a lack of maturity. You cannot succeed in isolation. Becoming your best requires the help of others. When you take the high road with others, you attract helpers to yourself and you put yourself in a position to help others as well.
To become a leader in the modern world, you have to be an innovator. That keeps you ahead of the crowd which makes you an easy target. Adversity will always be the partner of progress, so fight on in spite of opposition.
Our champion today is Chester Arthur, the 21st president of the United States. Dignified and handsome, Chester Arthur looked like a president. The son of a pastor who had emigrated from Northern Ireland. He was born in Fairfield, Vermont in 1829. He graduated from Union College in 1848, became a teacher, called to the bar as an utter barrister. He practiced law in New York City, served as Quartermaster General of the state of New York during the civil war.
In 1871, President Ullyses Grant appointed him Collector of the port of New York. Arthur effectively marshaled his thousand Customs employees on behalf of Roscoe Carklings’s Stalwart Republicans.
Honourable in his personal life, Arthur however was a firm believer in the spoils system. He staffed his Customs House with party workers rather than civil servants. In 1878, President Rutherford Hayes, intent on reforming the Customs House, ousted Arthur. Conkling and his followers then fought for redress by fighting for the renomination of President Grant. For party unity Arthur was chosen as vice President to James Garfield.
During his brief tenure as vice president, Arthur stood firmly beside Conkling in his patronage struggle against President Garfield but when Arthur succeeded to the presidency after the assassination of Garfield, he proved himself above machine politics. Avoiding old political friends, he became a man of fashion.
Acting independently of party dogma, Arthur lowered Tariff rates by signing the Tariff Act of 1883. Then Americans looked to the opposition Democratic Party for redress. Thus, Arthur as president demonstrated he was above factions within his party.
Perhaps his reason was the well kept secret he had known that he was suffering from a fatal kidney disease. He kept himself in the running for renomination in 1884 in order not to appear that he feared defeat. He was not renominated and died in 1886. I want President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to imitate Arthur by not seeking re-election in 2015. That singular sacrifice may save this nation from disintegration.