In my last post, Success Doesn’t Wear a Watch, I talked about the WHY, and how your WHY HAS to be big and emotional. You have to dig down deep to pull out your WHY. Why do we want to do anything? Why did I want to start a new business doing something I’d never done before? At my age, why would I tackle something that I had no experience doing, or, I thought, that I had no skills to be good at it? I had to keep asking myself WHY, over and over again, until I found the answer. My answer came from deep down, it was emotional. I felt that millions of people could use my knowledge, experiences, and lessons that I have learned while traveling around the sun 59 times. That is my WHY. I will help millions of people to be happier, lead better lives, and pull out those gifts from God that everyone is born with. In turn, every person that I help will help millions of others. When I take my last trip around the sun, I will do it with a smile on my face knowing that I played this game of life and I have left it all out on the field. Persistence will get me there.

I have gotten to where I am and will get to where I’m going all because of one word, persistence. I just kept moving forward. You see, the journey to accomplishing your goals and being successful is not linear. It doesn’t happen in a straight line. You move up, then you stumble. You get back up, brush yourself off, and start off again. Some days I get out of bed and I feel so energetic that I don’t think my feet touched the ground all day and I take great leaps forward. On other days I move forward in smaller steps and there are a few days where my journey gets blocked and they make no progress. My journey to where I got to today has followed this path: set a goal; make a plan; work the plan; fail; learn; redirect my efforts; succeed. This path repeats the failures become less frequent, my learning increases, my plan becomes better, and I succeed. You will face a similar path on your journey to success. I believe the number one attribute that you need to have in order to succeed is persistence. You just have to continue to work on your plan persistently until you see small victories. If you are persistent and you will rejoice in your failures instead of using them as reasons to quit. You will start to look at failures as opportunities and you will learn from each failure. Take the lessons you learn, look at your plan, and rework it if necessary. Look deep inside yourself and make sure you are doing everything you need to be doing to succeed.

“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 alone will not. The world is filled with educated derelicts. PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE ARE OMNIPOTENT.”

-Calvin Coolidge

Everyone who has ever accomplished anything has been persistent. Thomas Edison went through thousands of failed experiments before he invented the light bulb. Sir James Dyson went through over 5000 prototypes before he perfected his best-selling vacuum cleaner. Famous author, Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times before it was published. King actually quit writing and threw the manuscript in the garbage. Luckily, his wife retrieved it and he persisted until he became a published author. We look at successful people as they are after they become successful. What we don’t see is what it took for them to succeed. If we could meet them before they are famous, then we would see they are no different than you and me. They were just persistent. They believed in their dream and they worked at it every day. They went through failures, just like us, they learned from them and kept going. If you’re WHY is big enough you will be persistent. You will do something, fail, learn, get up and keep moving forward. Be persistent in your daily activities until you succeed.

We went on an operation in the jungle to destroy a cocaine lab that was in a very remote place. The jungle was so thick that the helicopters couldn’t drop us off close to the alleged location of the lab. They hovered several feet above a cocoa field on the top of a ridge. We jumped out and headed down a very steep embankment. The ground was soft and it was hard to stay on our feet. When we got to the bottom of the ridge, we entered the thickest, darkest jungle I had seen. Everything you touched was wet and covered in insects. As we walked in a small stream, I placed my hand on a fallen tree to steady myself as I ducked under it. I immediately felt the burning sensation of thousands of ant bites. We searched for the lab for over an hour to no avail and realized that the informant had lied to us. We were all exhausted but still had to make the climb to the top of the ridge where the helicopters could pick us up. I had carried a lot of explosives in my bag that day and had planned on getting rid of them by blowing up the lab. Since there was no lab to use the explosives on,  I had to carry all that weight back up the ridge. As I climbed the ridge got steeper and at one point I was on my belly grabbing anything I could to pull myself a little higher. At one point I grabbed what I thought was a plant and begin pulling myself up. It wasn’t a plant, but a root that came out of the ground and jabbed me in the eye puncturing a hole in my eyelid. On top of being exhausted, I now had blood in one of my eyes and couldn’t see out of it. It was only through persistence that I made it to the top of the ridge and into the helicopter where I could get patched up.

Peru 1989

Be persistent every day in your journey. Don’t let anything distract you from obtaining your goals and work on your plan every day. Remember the path to success is not a straight line in, there will be road bumps along the way. If you fail, smile, remember your WHY, learn from your failure, and know you are close to your success. BE PERSISTENT.