This post is written by John Maxwell, for more blog postings by him click on his link in the blogroll section of this site.
Back in December, I wrote about the importance of starting well. In the comments, many people agreed with me, but they also pointed out the critical nature of continuing after you start. They were right. Like I said at the time, starting and finishing are the two covers of the book. The main part – the pages – represents the day-to-day labor needed to achieve your goal.
Unfortunately, in many ways starting is the easy part. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings.”
What about you? Are you merely a starter? When the enthusiasm for a new idea fades, when the passion cools, when the odds against you increase and the results diminish, when it looks as if success is impossible, will you maintain your intensity and keep going? Are you tenacious?
Consider the fact that Admiral Robert Peary attempted to reach the North Pole seven times before he succeeded. Oscar Hammerstein produced five shows that were flops on Broadway before staging Oklahoma, which had a record-breaking run of 2,212 performances. Thomas Edison failed in his attempt to create a workable lightbulb 10,000 times before creating one that finally worked. To achieve your dream, you need to be able to keep going when others quit.
To develop tenacity, keep in mind that…
Quitting is more about who you are than where you are.
Everyone faces difficulty when working toward a dream. And if someone fails, he can make excuses for what went wrong, how the unexpected happened, how someone let him down, how circumstances worked against him.
But the reality is that the external things do not stop people. Those who achieve their dreams don’t have an easier path than those who do not. They just have a different internal attitude about the journey. The great artist Leonardo da Vinci once declared, “Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed on a star does not change his mind.”
The one who achieves the dream sees the journey differently.
Instead of thinking, “Not enough people believe in me. I’ll never make it,” he says,
“My belief in myself is enough; I can make it.”
Instead of, “It’s taking too long to realize my dream,” she reminds herself,
“Dreams are realized one day at a time.”
Rather than, “Enough is enough! I’ve taken enough hits!” she declares,
“I’ve come too far to give up now.”
Instead of, “I don’t have the strength to hold onto my dream,” he tells himself,
“Hold on a little longer. The darkest hour comes just before the dawn.”
Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
And I love how H.E. Jensen expressed an achiever’s way of thinking: “The man who wins may have been counted out several times, but he didn’t hear the referee.” The only real guarantee for failure is to stop trying.
So when things go wrong, when the obstacles seem too great, when the difficulties get to be too much, when your dream seems to be impossibly far away, your job is to simply keep going. If you stop, it won’t be because of what happens around you. It will be because of what happens in you. Choose to see things differently. Success is probably closer than you think. Just keep moving forward.