Principles For Tenacity

May 24, 2009

Albert Einstein could not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven. Beethoven’s music teacher said, “As a composer he’s hopeless.” The great inventor Thomas Edison did not do well in school either. His teachers thought he was stupid. F. W. Woolworth couldn’t get a job. Merchants said he didn’t have enough sense to wait on customers. A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because the editor said Disney didn’t have any good ideas. “You can’t sing. You have no voice at all,” said the voice coach to Enrico Caruso. An editor told Louisa May Alcott she was not capable of writing anything that would appeal to a popular audience. And some well meaning relatives of my wife told her years ago that she has chosen a loser for a husband. I would like to think that they were all wrong. Rather than carrying a grudge against them I took upon me to nurture the drive to prove them wrong. And this takes a lot of tenacity.

In yesterday’s column I talked about how success is never handed to the successful and so today I would like to talk about tenacity.

What is tenacity? My portable built in thesaurus that comes with my favorite word processor Microsoft Word 2007 (is there any other anyway?) version says: tenacity is stubbornness, obstinacy, resolve, firmness, persistence, insistence, doggedness, drive, determination and steadfastness. (Try it yourself, this is the order in which it comes.)

So how do you have this? Let me suggest a few ideas:


How are you going along with your New Year’s Resolution anyway? Most people are worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year but what they fail to realize is they need to be concerned with what they eat between the New Year till the next Christmas. Success requires discipline. You start with a good idea and you stick to it. And you need to outlast others in doing so. William Feather says: “”Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”


Listen to the stories of successful people. They had their ups and downs and their downs usually outnumber their ups. The thing is they never quit. There are many people who start on their dreams but they never finish. Then those who stop resent those who make it. And if you get disheartened, tell yourself, “just a little bit more….just a little bit more……” You need to hold on at the end and as Franklin Roosevelt says: “”When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

Be careful with the details. If you are faithful with the little things then you will earn the right to handle the big things. And if you are unfaithful in the small things, even the little things that you have will be taken away from you. It’s just the way it is. What causes obesity? One piece of fries at a time. What causes failure? A few wrong decisions and erroneous judgment accumulated over time. What causes poor health? A refusal to put on those gym shoes and hit the treadmill. What causes poverty? A little folding of the hands, a little slumber and poverty overtakes the poor fellow. You need to hold on to holding on. You need to work on tenacious!

Motivational speaker Chris Widener says this and I fully agree: “Instead of looking at pressure and trials as the reason to quit, get tenacious and see them as the very thing that will make your life the beautiful thing that you desire it to be. See it as your opportunity to learn, to grow, and to be transformed. See these trials as the very things that will enable you to have the life that dream of! Trials will surely come. Life will get hard. You will want to quit. Then you will have a choice: Will you give up? Or will you take your turn at tenacious. The choice you make will determine much of the rest of your life. My advice? Take your turn at tenacious. You will become stronger, and you will end up living the life you dream of!”

Want a bit of inspiration? Just think of the snail who finally made it to the ark!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Erick Rodas

    Mr. Kong, I really enjoy reading your articles it becomes my daily habit and it gives me more inspiration. Thank you very much have more success.

  2. Lea Presnedi

    I am posting this to Facebook po to share to my friends. Thank you and God bless the works of your hands.

  3. jimie

    Thanks for the inspiring messages. I am truly greatful that God gave you the knowledge to inspire others.

  4. Ef

    I would like to thank you for your motivational ideas and the drive by which you affect thousands of people. Having you as our speaker at BPI where I was working at the time in 2002, I have seen how different you are from other motivational speakers in that you make God the center of all motivation and not your own intelligence. Kudos!

  5. Maricar Lo

    yes indeed… hindi pwede ang balat sibuyas, walang tenacity yan ;o) nice article…
    hope to see you in Bacolod when you visit.

  6. JohnJohn R. Castillo

    Sir Francis,

    The wisdom and motivation you always share keeps me going. Whenever thing going get’s tough, your columns and advises is there to inspire people.

    Maraming Salamat po.


  7. Louis

    your writings has always been inspirational. Just like the ones that I hear on the radio back then in my college years. To keep on holding on and to keep on pushing through may in the end bear fruit….I hope these days the Filipino people will always be tough to face the challenges that is yet to come…

  8. Sweety Jane G. Bello

    Hello Sir Francis,

    Your articles gave me a sense of high value as a person it inspires me to move on,, You’re right successful people have their ups and downs and even their ups were outnumbered by their failures but good thing is they never quit! More power and thank you….
    In my life it is Christ Jesus who gives me great value and worth as a person that’s why i never give up cause I know He never gives me up….. Christ Jesus is still working in progress in me..

    God bless you and your Family!!!!

  9. Phines

    Hi! Mr. Francis, May i just ask…do you have a book – of all the articles written in this site (esp the 2009)…i really want them to read time and again because when i read them every day there has another meaning my life and things got better everyday. Thank you and im really grateful for this..

    1. Francis Kong

      Thank you for the inquiry.
      We are now in the final phase of preparing a book that would compile many of the materials that appeared in my column at The Philippine Star. The launching date of the book will be publicly announced.
      Thanks again for your interest.

  10. bravhart_19

    “failure is a step closer to success”

    hi sir francis,

    thank you for wonderful inspirational writings,,
    you are always tenacious to motivate and inspire others like us..

  11. Ferlyne Nisnisan

    Encouraging. . . love it!!! God Bless you more. . .

  12. Ryan Magalang

    Hi sr. Francis!

    Your words inspire me to do things that I never thought I could do. Your perspective towards things allow me to look at the events that happen in my life under a positive light.

    Thank you. 🙂

  13. Sixto Casano

    hi sir francis,
    i attended your seminar at chiong hua school in zamboanga. i am grateful for the wisdom i’ve learned from you in that short span. this article on tenacity has been very timely as i am at a crossroad in my business career.
    do you have any other seminars on business managemnet in the next few months. i’d like to join in even if its in manila.
    more power to you.

  14. Irvin Apostol

    ” TENACITY” a powerful word tool for entrepreneur and business newbies…

  15. zandra

    hello Mr. Kong,
    well, im not from the world of business,in fact i just graduated from college. i heard many times about your name and your writings but i havent read any of those until one night i was so worried of some things about my life like making decisions and reaching my goals. then i dont know by what means that i grabbed the book entitled Early Bird Catches the Worm but the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese, by yours. upon reading every chapter in that book my worries went away esp. the chapter entitled “Testing your Aim” i was really relieved and somehow i had good sleep during that night.
    thank you for writing such an inspiring book.
    may your greatness continue througout the years..
    Godbless you and your family.



    I really felt so fortunate for having the chance to personally listen one of your speeches few years ago in the City of Koonadal, Sout Cotabato. Since then, I always try to have copys of your articles and books and have it shared every time I had a chance. I am now in Iloilo City and working as aradio comentator. I would be happy if you give me a nod when I will ask permission to qoute your articles or their portions in my radio programs.

    God Bless and more people to inspire.

  17. richel mae distrito

    sana po someday pag naka graduate ako ma meet ko kayo and marinig personally yung mga insipirationall story nyo….
    thanks po sa mga inspirational word …..

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