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:
1. FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED
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.”
2. DO NOT BE DISHEARTENED
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.”
3. BE FAITHFUL WITH THE LITTLE THINGS.
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!