Practice Persistence

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Principle #22 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is “Practice Persistence.” A quote by Norman Vincent Peale sums it up:

“It’s always too soon to quit.”

A common story is how someone is often so close to reaching the treasure of their life.

Inches From the Treasure

However, they get frustrated because they haven’t reached the goal. Within inches of success, they abandon the goal.

Giving up on the treasure

From a deeper perspective, I like the way John C. Maxwell talks about persistence in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

“Most people never realize how close they are to achieving significant things because they give up too soon. Everything worthwhile in life takes dedication and time. The people who grow and achieve the most are the ones who harness the power of patience and persistence.”

Blame, Complain, or Practice Persistence

This week, a couple dozen people sent me emails telling me they passed the Security+ exam using the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide and/or study resources on this site.

One person let me know he failed saying things like “Stupid exam that is way too hard.” “The questions … are filled with junk.” and “Seems like to me Comptia likes making money.”

I wasn’t sure if he was just blaming and complaining, or asking for help. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he sent his email in a moment of frustration, but he actually wanted some feedback on what he could do differently to pass the exam. (Apparently, I was mistaken.)

After looking at his online account, I noticed a few things:

In my reply, I pointed these things out and gave some feedback on some things he could do to pass the exam. It requires persistence, but it is the same formula for success that has helped many people pass this exam.

  • Use all of the available materials.
  • Keep practicing until he consistently gets passing scores.
  • Ensure he understands not only why the correct answers are correct, but also why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

His reply indicated the feedback was not desired. No worries though. It is a still a good example related to the principle of Practice Persistence.

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Persistence and Success

Another user sent me this email, which is a great example of how persistence results in success.

“Took the sec plus test today and passed with an 871.
I historically did very well on your practices tests
(and by my arithmetic scored about the same percentage on the actual test.)”

His account showed that he used all the materials and his scores steadily improved. Before taking the test he had recorded a steady stream of passing scores on all the quizzes including the Test Your Readiness quiz.

Persistence and the Three P’s of Success

David Copperfield describes the three P’s of success as passion, preparation, and persistence.

Find your passions. Find the things that energize you and make you excited about getting up in the morning. Find the things that make you feel alive, and pursue them.

You won’t be an expert right out of the gate. However, if you take the time to prepare, learn, and grow, you’ll get better and better. You’ll discover previously unknown talents. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them. You’ll learn what works. You’ll learn what doesn’t work.

Success in meaningful goals rarely comes with a single action. Instead, success comes by repeating small actions over and over until you reach the goal. Success comes through persistent action.

Here’s How Persistence Has Paid Off

Jack lists several examples of how persistence has paid off for some famous people. Here are a few from his book, along with some others.

  • Bill Gates first company (Traf-O-Data) failed. However, it did give Gates and Paul Allen some valuable knowledge and experience they later applied to the startup called Microsoft.
  • Admiral Robert Peary attempted to reach the North Pole seven times before he succeeded.
  • Henry Ford’s early businesses failed leaving him broke before he ultimately founded the Ford Motor Company.
  • Oscar Hammerstein had five flop shows that lasted less than a combined total of 6 weeks before Oklahoma!, which ultimately ran for 269 weeks and grossed $7 million.
  • Thomas Edison tried more than 1,000 different filaments before he ultimately found one that would work in a light bulb.
  • Tawni O’Dell wrote six unpublished novels over 13 years, collecting over 300 rejection slips from publishers. Finally, her first novel “Back Roads” was published and it rose to number two on the New York Times bestsellers list where it stayed for eight weeks.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success.
They quit on the one-yard line.
They give up at the last minute of the game,
one foot from a winning touchdown.”

– H. Ross Perot, American Billionaire


About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.


Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.


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