Why Everyone Needs To Develop Persistence

As I prepare for my Tedx Talk at Belfort called My Little Secrets For Your Big Success on of the secrets I am including is the Power of Persistence.

I think persistence is something that is often overlooked. Or undervalued. But in reality, it’s one of the greatest skills that we can develop. Because persistence really is a talent multiplier.

What do I mean by that?

Big successes are often just an accumulation of small successes. And it’s persistence that allows us to accumulate those small successes into something incredible.

We don’t always have to do a bigger or better job, sometimes we just need to keep doing the same job. 

Here’s an example of what I mean.

In just over 4 years I have written over 1200 leadership articles, and when people hear that they ask me, how was that possible.

My answer is this, I just spent 30 minutes a day writing an article.

But I did that persistently for 1,200 days that and is how I amassed that achievement.  I didn’t need to write bigger articles, or better articles, I just needed to keep going.

Persistence can also help us increase our performance. 

When I decided to run my first marathon, on the first day of training I could only run for 15 minutes. But after doing that for a week I could then run for 20 minutes. After a week of running for 20 minutes, I could then run for 25 minutes. 

Continuing this approach over 26 weeks, my persistence resulted in me being able to run for over 4 and a half hours which allowed me to complete my first marathon. 

Persistence can also improve our performance.

One of my favourite stories on this comes from Derek Sivers, who did a great youtube video on this. 

A pottery class was split into two groups.

The first group their group was graded based on the production of just one pot. They had to make the best pot they could and the better the pot, the higher the grade they would receive.

The second group was graded based solely on the number of pots they made. The higher the number of pots made, the better their grade.

So the first group were judged on quality the the second on quantity.

At the end of the semester there was a very interesting result. The best posts weren’t made by the first group who were focused on quality, but were made by the second group,

This was because as they produced pot after pot their technique improved and they started to make better pots. The repetition of the task allowed them to improve their skills over time.

Persistence is a talent multiplier

This is why I say persistence is a talent multiplier. It can take the small amount of skill that we have and allow us to accumulate large results. It can help us improve and increase our talents through repetition, such that we can achieve more and even better results. Even if you start with little to no talent, and I am a great example of that. 

I was never a great writer, and if you don’t believe just ask my school English teacher. She told me she was surprised I got a C on my end of year paper.  Yet now, I have now written over 1200 articles. 3 books and have had articles in Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc, and many other publications.

The act of writing every day helped it become easier for me to write, and also to improve my skills. Learning the best size of articles, and also which tools to use to improve my grammar.

Today, five years after I could only run for 15 minutes, persistence has helped me run 11 marathons, 3 half marathons and over 5000km in training.

This is the power of persistence. It can take what little talent we have and can help it grow into something special. And I know this for a fact from my own experiences.