Last month Bob Proctor challenged the participants in a training seminar that Angie and I were attending to read Chapter 8 in Think and Grow Rich for 30 days straight. This is the chapter on Persistence. Napoleon Hill calls Persistence the “sustained effort necessary to induce faith.” After completing the challenge to read this chapter every day for the past 30 days, I can attest to this description.
Angie and I started reading this chapter in the car on the way home from the training summit in Florida on October 16. During the past month, we have had to overcome many scheduling obstacles in order to fit the reading in. On one occasion a few weeks ago, Angie was so tired that she kept falling asleep for moments at a time while reading aloud. 2 weeks ago, we were reading during our recent trip to Phoenix late at night in our hotel room after a particularly long day and we were just exhausted. About halfway through, I suggested that we take a break and do something to wake ourselves up. What was the logical choice? Why practicing karate of course!! Angie ended up throwing me into a dresser and busting my forehead open. A frantic call to our host, a borrowed vehicle, a late night race to the grocery store for butterfly closures and Neosporin, and several bloody towels later, my head was patched back together and we FINISHED the chapter!!
One lesson I learned is that doing anything that is outside your normal routine for a sustained period of time IS, in itself, a test in PERSISTENCE!! I’ve spoken to many of my classmates from the training in Florida and only a very few of them made it through the entire 30 days without missing at least one day. I guess I am fortunate that Angie and I are ridiculously stubborn and once we make up our mind to do something, we just do it!
That chapter is also about 80% committed to memory! As I go about my day and encounter various situations, opportunities or obstacles, passages from the chapter will come to my mind and spur on my persistence to keep on keeping on until whatever the obstacle is gets tired of turning me away – just like Hill’s examples of Broadway in the chapter.
This, I think, is my favorite passage from the chapter: “Those who have cultivated the HABIT of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive toward the top of the ladder. Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden Guide whose duty is to test men through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying, arrive and the world cries, “Bravo! I knew you could do it!” The hidden Guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the PERSISTENCE TEST. Those who can’t take it, simply do not make the grade.
Those who can “take it” are bountifully rewarded for their PERSISTENCE. They receive, as their compensation, whatever goal they are pursuing. That is not all! They receive something infinitely more important than material compensation – the knowledge that “EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT ADVANTAGE.”
There are exceptions to this rule; a few people know from experience the soundness of persistence. They are the ones who have not accepted defeat as being anything more than temporary. They are the ones whose DESIRES are so PERSISTENTLY APPLIED that defeat is finally changed into victory. We who sit on the sidelines of Life see the overwhelmingly large number who go down in defeat, never to rise again. We see the few who take the punishment of defeat as an urge to greater effort. These, fortunately, never learn to accept Life’s reverse gear. But what we DO NOT SEE, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the silent but irresistible POWER which comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement. If we speak of this power at all we call it PERSISTENCE and let it go at that. One thing we all know, if one does not possess PERSISTENCE, one does not achieve noteworthy success in any calling.”
And so, I leave you with this challenge – as Bob challenged my classmates and me – read the Persistence chapter every day for 3o days! See if something truly magical doesn’t happen after several weeks that changes the very way in which you view the world!!
Have a wonderful day!!