Here are some quick facts about persistence.
P It took approximately 10,000 experiments before Thomas Edison successfully invented the light bulb. What does he have to say about persistence? “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
P Long before becoming the lead singer of REO Speedwagon, Kevin Cronin, was determined to make it big. At a young age, he went to go see an influential music producer, only to get turned away. Kevin was so confident in his talent that he didn’t let that producer’s rejection get to him for one second. In fact, he was convinced that the producer’s tape player must not have been working properly, because if it had, the producer would have recognized Kevin’s talents immediately. He kept pursuing his passion and eventually landed with REO Speedwagon, bringing the band into the mainstream music scene. Over the years, they’ve sold more than 40 million records and charted 13 Top 40 hits.
P When 19-year-old Rick Little wanted to start a program in high schools that would teach kids how to deal with their feelings, handle conflict, clarify life goals, and communicate effectively, he was turned down by more than 155 organizations. Finally, the Kellogg Foundation gave him $130,000, but that wasn’t enough. He was persistent and eventually received $65,000,000 in funding – the second largest funding in U.S. History – to create the International Youth Foundation. How’s that for persistence?
P In 1998, Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page approached Yahoo! and suggested a merger. Yahoo! executives politely declined and suggested they continue working on their “little school project” and come back when they were all grown up. Ten years later, Google is worth an estimated $140 billion! That surpasses Intel, Coke, McDonald’s, as well as other corporate moguls, including Yahoo!. Just for moment, think about how their persistence impacted the world of search engines as we know it.
What’s the lesson here? You should never, never give up. However, there are times when it may be appropriate to refocus your persistence in a new direction. How do you know when it’s the right time to change course?
If you absolutely cannot live without what passionately consumes you, then do not give it up. The problem is never your passion, it only the manner in which you are trying to make it happen. Try a different approach – think of a creative solution. However, if you can live without it, then passion is not is what is driving you. When passion is not driving you – it’s not something you really want. Perhaps you have trained yourself to want what someone else wants for you. Go back to your list of goals and reconnect with the goals and values that really drive you.