One of the most influential voices on the power of persistence has been that of Napoleon Hill. The author of classics like Think and Grow Rich delivered quotable quote after quote on what he saw as the root cause of all success:
Willpower and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair.
Failure cannot cope with persistence.
Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.
Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.
Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.
Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
But Hill didn’t expect that everyone was born with or naturally developed equal measures of persistence. Instead, he framed persistence is a state of mind that could be cultivated. The first step involves understanding the essential elements of persistence:
1. 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.
It is comparatively easy to acquire and to maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.
Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence.
4. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS
Organized plans, even though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage persistence.
5. ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE
Knowing that one’s plans are sound, based upon experience or observation, encourages persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.
Sympathy, understanding, and harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence.
The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definite purpose, leads to persistence.
Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage.
How can these eight elements of persistence be applied to the worthy effort of earning higher grades or test scores?
1. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE – What grade or score do you want?
2. DESIRE – Do you want it badly enough to work hard for it?
3. SELF-RELIANCE – Can you commit to doing the necessary work?
4. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS – How will you study and prepare?
5. ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE – What proven program or curriculum will you use?
6. CO-OPERATION – Who will help you reach your desired goals?
7. WILLPOWER – How will you cope with obstacles, adversity, or lack of motivation?
8. HABIT – Will you work towards your desired goals every single day?
Obviously, persistence doesn’t come easy. However, a student that seeks to truly excel and earn their best possible grades and test scores will not find a surer path to success: nothing else unlocks the door to your greatest ambitions!