For many years I’ve been studying about what makes winners – in all fields or endeavors. Sports, politics, acting, performing (magic, comedy etc.), music, teaching, religion, authoring, whatever strikes my fancy.
Of course, natural talent is important, but not always. Depending on the fields, the determining factors could change. However, my final decision is based on my experience and especially my knowledge of psychological influences.
Therefore, my view is that PERSISTANCE or PERSERVERANCE is an absolute condition for success in any venture.
It is an attitude and also a behavior. I will support my decision by providing examples from religion, sporting activities, literature, science and business.
Religion. Jesus only told one man (Nicodemus) that he had to be born again. But my Bible Concordance indicates that Jesus told or implied to ten people that they would be rewarded for their persistence, continuing a behavior or obeying. It wasn’t just faith. Here are three of the ten.
In Matthew 15 there is a Canaanite woman who persisted to have her daughter healed. Jesus, in a test, said no, but she persisted until He healed the daughter.
Luke 19 tells about a man that wanted to see Jesus. But he was too short to see over the heads of the taller people. He persisted by climbing into a tree. Jesus complied by going to his house.
Matthew 18 is about Jesus’ answer to the question about forgiveness. His answer involves persistence—many, many times. Seventy times seven. The implication is simply, there is no end.
Nelson Mandela is one of the great men of this century. A statesman for sure; the President of South Africa; and imprisoned for 28 years. His persistence has motivated the world.
The most remarkable tribute he gives beside his pre-service was his willingness to forgive those who, unwarranted, imprisoned him.
Talk about perseverance. Take a look at Thomas Edison. Many social historians say he was the greatest inventor in the history of the U.S.A. He was responsible for over 6000 significant inventions. Among his best-known inventions include: the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the long lasting electric lightbulb.
A CLASSIC illustration. When his lab was destroyed by fire, a friend chided him by saying, “Since you’ve lost over 1,000 of your experiments, you’ve lost the benefit of them.” “No”, he said, “I’ve lost only 1,000 ways that won’t work. I’ll carry on.” Perseverance.
Consider the persons with great physical problems, but who persisted. Helen Keller. Born blind, deaf and a speech problem that prohibited her from talking. She became a worldwide traveler with an inspirational message. One of the most well-known ambassadors for peace. Perseverance.
Michael J. Fox. A great actor, family man and victim of Parkinson’s disease. His acting skills are admired and his honors are well earned.
His comedic skills make him a favorite among all ages. His handicaps became foils for his humor. He is persistent for sure.
Two great musicians exhibited great perseverance. Ludwig Beethoven was totally deaf. He never heard one note of his 650-plus compositions. Fanny Crosby was probably the greatest religious composer. She composed over 8,000 songs. She was extremely persistent.
Tony Bennett is one of a kind. He’s been down and up scores of times. A great popular singer from the Crosby and Sinatra era, he still woos the audience at age 90-plus. He sings duets with young women 70 years younger than himself.
Then, his skills of artistry are legendary. Many of his paintings are in the Smithsonian Institute.
Bankruptcy has plagued him. But as his perseverance during the Battle of the Bulge and coming out of it victorious, he is perseverance personified.
Louie Zamperini. He was born on January 26, 1917 and died on July 2, 2014. But between those years he lived an exciting and meaningful life. A volatile Italian, his teen years were delinquent. Then he was introduced to running and broke many high school records. He ran in the 1936 Olympics but Jesse Owens beat him.
Hitler invited him for lunch and Louie stole his (Hitler’s) flag which was there.
In 1941, he joined the Air Force and was a bomber for scores of missions. He was shot down and he and the pilot barely survived on water for 28 days. He was captured by the Japanese.
Until the victory in 1945 he was in prison and horribly beaten-daily. After the war he became an alcoholic, married and became a Christian in the Billy Graham meeting in L.A. He spent the rest of his life running Summer Camps for delinquent intercity boys and speaking in churches.
He was honored in 2014 to be the Grand Marshall of the New Year’s Day Rose Parade, but died on June 14, 2014. Persistent, persevering? You bet!
Rose Kennedy. July 22, 1890—January 2, 1995. She had nine children: Joseph, Jr., John, Robert, Ted, Eunice, Rosemary, Jean, Kathleen, Patricia. Her years were stressful. Joseph Sr. was never faithful. Joseph, Jr. was killed during a plane crash. John and Bob were murdered, a daughter was mentally ill and Ted was accused of letting a girl drown.
Through it all she persevered. She attributed it to her Catholic faith.
In 1972, I was watching TV and she was being interviewed.
The interviewer recanted her difficulties and asked her how she dealt with them. She rose to her feet, and with eyes blazing; she said, “I would not be vanquished.”
Perseverance, and Persistence personified.
Amen. Selah. So be it.