Think & Grow Rich Lessons
Pamela Liberto Clearwater, FL, USA

Posted: 2017-03-05

Persistence is one of the most important keys to a new and beautiful life!

Stick to it! Persevering in task through to completion; remaining focused. Looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck. Not giving up!

We begin with the obvious: learning is voluntary. No one can make you learn. You enter willingly. Sometimes, however, we are confronted in life with challenges we cannot avoid. It reminds us of the often-used quote, “The only way out is through.” 

Persisting to find answers, solve problems, and gain new insights is invaluable to success in life. We don’t want to perseverate (repeat a response after the cessation of the original stimulus) by blindly and automatically repeating the same behaviors. We do want to stay with problems and challenges when the answers and the way forward are not readily apparent. We are reminded of a few lines of Wendell Berry’s poem, The Real Work:

It may be that when we no longer know what to do We have come to our real work,
And that when we no longer know which way to go We have come to our real journey.

The wonderful story and the questions following may offer insights into what it takes to develop persistence. 

Every person will experience times like not interested in finishing a book, either because the topic is boring, or they’re ready for another activity. (This is normal!) But persistence in this case means the ability to look for new ways to reach your goal when you’re stuck or face unexpected challenges. Even if you don’t show budding signs of persistence now, reading stories about characters that persist through difficult challenges will be a great jumping off point for fostering this behavior.

You can also start by talking and sharing stories about times in your life when you’ve persisted through challenges. If you can’t think of an example, there are lots of movies that show excellent examples of this as well. Once you start to recognize what persistence looks like, you might make up a story  about a character that faces adversity and shows persistence as part of your routine. Take that one step further and write the story down, so that you can read it  later.

And finally, you can model that behavior when you face challenges yourself. For example, if you’re driving home from school and face a road block or traffic jam, you might say, “We’re going to have to figure out another plan for getting home. Let’s move to option two, driving through the park!” But then the park is closed for a festival, you could continue, “Let’s stop for a short picnic, and then we can try to head home in an hour. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try running an errand, like going to the grocery store.”

“Teaching someone to be more effective at persisting doesn’t mean simply showing them the answer or solution. To learn to persist more effectively we need to show ourselves ….ways we might be able to approach and overcome the problem. Perhaps we break the problem into parts, back track, look at a similar problem, refocus on our goal or simply identify exactly what the problem is