By Lenny Konschewitz
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” (Winston Churchill)
Our society has become so fast-paced. Google provides us with instant access to endless information, fast food chains are everywhere, Amazon prime members receive their products within 24 hours and normal people become celebrities nearly overnight through shows like American Idol.
As leaders, we must be careful that we don’t import this mentality into our leadership lifestyle. History has proven time and again that, on the path to greatness, all leaders are in need of a critical attribute: perseverance. The wonderful thing about perseverance is that no-one is born with it – it is 100% developed by our decisions. But before we dive into some principles of perseverance, let’s be inspired by the following true stories:
After more than 9,000 failed attempts to develop a viable electric light bulb a reporter asked him if he felt like a failure. His reply: “Young man, why would I feel like a failure and why would I ever give up? I now know deﬁnitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” And shortly after that with over 10,000 attempts Edison invented the light bulb. (Thomas Edison, Inventor of the light bulb)
After being cut from his high school basketball team he went home, locked himself in his room and cried. (Michael Jordan, 6 time NBA Champion, 5 time NBA MVP, 4 time NBA All-Star)
He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old and his teachers said he would “never amount to much”. (Albert Einstein, Theoretical physicist & Nobel Prize Winner).
He was ﬁred from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas”. (Walt Disney, Creator of Mickey Mouse and winner of 22 Academy Awards).
His ﬁrst book was rejected by 27 publishers. (Dr. Seuss, Best-selling children’s author in history)
His ﬁancé died, he failed in business, had a nervous breakdown and was defeated in eight elections. (Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA)
She was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t ﬁt for television”. (Oprah Winfrey, Host of a multi-award winning talk show)
Rejected by his own people, betrayed and denied by his friends, falsely accused, physically abused, mocked and cruciﬁed. (Jesus Christ, The fullness of God in human form & Saviour of the world)
Perseverance was their key to success. Which principles can help us on our personal journey of developing perseverance?
Perseverance is all about ﬁnishing well
Your talent may get your started, but only perseverance makes your talent successful. The longer the process of perseverance, the better the potential quality of your success. Think about Jesus: He was prepared for 30 years before He ministered publicly for 3 years to prepare for His ultimate achievement which took 3 days!
Perseverance comes with patience and practice
Developing perseverance is like going to the gym to build up muscles. You must continually lift weights to gradually grow them. Challenges, resistance and trials are the “weights” that help us grow our perseverance muscles. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3).
Perseverance shapes solid character
“Let perseverance ﬁnish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4). The process of developing perseverance reveals Jesus in us and helps us overcome immature character issues like arrogance and pride.
Perseverance starts with having the right attitude
“A bad attitude is like a ﬂat tyre. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.” (unknown) One of the most important things we need to work on in developing perseverance is our attitude. Our attitude determines whether challenges become personal threats or wonderful opportunities to grow. We are 100% responsible for our attitude, in all circumstances. “Consider it pure joy…” (James 1:2) is the attitude we need to choose when embarking on the journey of champions.
Let’s apply these principles to our own lives by answering the following questions:
In which current challenge or general area of your life do you identify the need for an attitude adjustment? (If you’re not sure, ask the people around you!)
Is there something that you’ve quit recently out of lack of perseverance?
What practical steps can you take to grow in perseverance?
Tags: Perseverance, Resilience, Attitude, Pace, Change, Attitude, Challenges