"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
Following the trend set recently by Mark Suster and Fred Wilson on Tenacity, I'm inclined to pipe in on the most important trait for building anything of long term value. Persistence reaches well beyond the role of entrepreneur.
Here's just a few of the wonderful things that persistence has helped me discover so far in 35 solar orbits:
- Satisfaction and Joy: You can't beat the satisfied feeling of enduring through difficult challenges. Winning becomes inevitable when you outlast the competition.
- Wealth: While I'm not rich, I do have a warm place to live, a full belly, and the ability to communicate with and change the world.
- Love: It took a long time before I met my soulmate Michelle. Keeping an open mind on lifelong relationships after years of being alone allowed me recognize the spark
- Knowledge: Sometimes I actually remember something after reading, working, or doing anything for a long enough time. See Gladwell's 10,000 hours.
- Meaning: It's illusive, and slippery on purpose. Keep wrestling with Meaning long enough and you'll find what drives you. I covered Purpose pretty well while writing Dreamsnare.com
- When to Change Direction: There's no navigator's guide to life, and if there was I would have chucked it out of my window years ago. But by consistently pursuing a BIG goal I've learned how to recognize local optimals, and am still learning how to reroute around them or avoid them all together.
That last lesson persistence pointed me to is important. You never give up on a dream worth pursuing, but it's vital we not get stuck on the wrong tactics to realize that dream.
I think Calvin may have been on to something with that quote.