Napoleon Hill‘s recent lessons in persistence show that persistence certainly does pay for those who cultivate the trait and put it into regular practice.
A Long and Varied History
The long and varied history of Broadway is full of stories of success and persistence; another among them is the famed singer Kate Smith, whose career in entertainment spanned five decades and included the stage, radio, and TV. For years she sang, without money, and without price, before any microphone she could reach. Broadway said to her, “Come and get it, if you can take it.” She did take it until one happy day Broadway got tired and said, “Aw, what’s the use? You don’t know when you’re whipped, so name your price, and go to work in earnest.” Miss Smith named her price! It was plenty. A price so high that in one week Smith made more than most people in her time made in a whole year.
It Pays To Be Persistent
To be sure, it pays to be persistent!
And here is an encouraging statement which carries a suggestion of great significance—thousands of singers with more natural talent than Kate Smith still walk the streets of Broadway today looking for a “break”—without success. Countless others have come and gone; many of them sang well enough, but they failed to make the grade because they lacked the courage to keep on keeping on, until Broadway became tired of turning them away.
State of Mind
Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of mind, persistence is based upon definite causes, among them:
• Definiteness of purpose. Knowing what one wants is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to surmount many difficulties.
• Desire. It is comparatively easy to acquire and to maintain persistence in pursuing an object of intense desire.
• Self-reliance. Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence. (Self-reliance can be developed through the principle described in the chapter on auto-suggestion).
• Definiteness of plans. Organized plans, even though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage persistence.
• Accurate knowledge. Knowing that one’s plans are sound, based on experience or observation, encourages persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.
• Cooperation. Sympathy, understanding, and harmonious cooperation with others tends to develop persistence.
• Will-power. The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts on the building of plans for the attainment of a definite purpose, leads to persistence.
• Habit. Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences it feeds upon. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of courage. Everyone who has seen active service in war knows this.
Before leaving the subject of persistence, take inventory of yourself, and determine which of these elements of this essential quality, if any, you are lacking. Measure yourself courageously, point by point, and see how many of the eight factors of persistence you lack. The analysis may lead to discoveries that will give you a new grip on yourself.
Time To Reflect
Once again, Napoleon Hill brings us to a point where a little time spent in self-reflection will pay dividends (literally, if you are persistent enough to follow through). Take the time now to analyse how many of these qualities you possess. Come back next time and we will talk more about how to recognize the symptoms of a lack of persistence.
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