More often than not, it is not the initial effort that delivers the desired result. However, without the building up of momentum, we might never live to see that desired result. The temptation to quit when it seems like nothing is yielding to your constant effort is huge indeed. Nobody enjoys doing something repeatedly, especially when it doesn’t seem to be amounting to much. In this article, I want to encourage every reader to embrace an attitude of persistence.
The story is told in Luke 18 of a widow who needed a judge’s intervention in a matter that concerned her. The account shows us that the judge was not particularly keen on attending to this widow’s need. However, this judge had no idea who he was dealing with. This was a woman who was not about to take no for an answer. She pestered him at every opportunity she could get. She made it her sole aim to get what she had set out to get. No amount of discouragement and disappointment was going to sway her resolve. On seeing that he was fighting a losing battle, the judge threw in the towel and granted the widow her request. Jesus shared this parable to encourage his disciples to pray without ceasing and with an assurance that God would come through for them as they did. Prayer is one of those things that require dogged persistence. Anything worthwhile in this life requires an unrelenting spirit. The best stuff seldom comes easily. There is always a price to pay, and a large part of that is a persistent mindset.
One of the distinguishing factors of successful salespeople is their degree of persistence. I am involved in sales in many different capacities, and one thing I can tell you for sure is that we experience very many no’s in our line of work. In some industries, the ratio of no’s is as high as 8:1. If you are to look at those kinds of statistics, it would be very easy to quit your pursuits. Salespeople have learnt to eat disappointments for breakfast. They quickly push them to the back of their minds and move on to the next one. There is a mantra common among us that describes NO as ‘Next Opportunity.’ Without such a mindset, life would be tough for us. Sometimes persistence means approaching the same prospect severally until you strike a chord that resonates with them. Some prospects take time to know, like and trust you, and this means if you give up on them too soon, you will miss out on a sale. It is persistence that gives us the audacity to ask for referrals from the next prospect we meet despite being dismissed by the last one when we made a similar request.
Sometimes we throw in the towel just when we are on the verge of a breakthrough. Think about that common meme, which shows a man who’s been digging for treasure and quits when he is only a few inches away from the said treasure. The Swahili have a saying ‘chungu huvunjikia mlangoni.’ Loosely translated as the water pot breaks a few feet from the door. This is said in relation to those who have no running water in their homes, and they have to go to the river/spring/borehole to get water. When you quit before time, you are like one of those who allowed the pot to break at your doorstep.
The line between victory and defeat is very thin in some instances. When there are two opposing forces, the force that quits is bound to lose. Persistence tells you not to be on the losing side of things. You need to stand your ground and refuse to quit on your goals, dreams and vision. Nobody, absolutely nobody promised you that the road would be easy. Though you feel weak and wasted at this moment, you must continue to push until you receive what you set out for. When the going gets tough, don’t change your goals. Change your tactics but remain focused on what you chose to pursue. In the story we started with, there were two parties-the judge and the widow. The judge quit and gave in to the demands of the widow. The same thing could happen between you and whatever you are pursuing. The distinguishing force is persistence.
Persistence will make people change their minds. In Matthew 15:24-29, another woman was not part of the Commonwealth of Israel. She came to Jesus with the expectation of a miracle from him. The response of Jesus was sure to discourage any ordinary person. It was very clear and categorical that she did not qualify to be a partaker of Israel’s blessings. Instead of being discouraged and heartbroken, the lady still found a way to counter what Jesus had said. Her response was so passionate that Jesus granted her request and went further to commend her for her faith.
Building blocks for persistence
Deliberate forgetfulness: In the pursuit of what you have set out to receive, you must learn to forget some things deliberately. Some things you must brush to the side are the discouragement of yesterday, the last hour and anything that is already past. Yes, some people tried what you are trying and failed. Do not approach that challenge with a defeatist mindset, which tells you that others before you have failed. The only thing you need to remember from the past is what they did wrong so that you don’t repeat. You can only learn from the past. Do not allow their experience to break your resolve. You must forget your past failures because they have a way of creeping back into your mind at the opportune time to pull you down. Don’t fall for that trick.
The singularity of purpose/mind-You need to be decisive about what you want. When you watch those interesting wildlife documentaries, you realize that when a pack of lions is hunting, they choose one antelope and train their sights on it. When the chase begins, it doesn’t matter who else crosses their path. They will focus on the one that was chosen until they get it. As a persistent fellow, you must steer clear of double-mindedness. The double-minded end up missing out on everything because they can’t decide on one thing to pursue.
Unwavering faith-People are willing to believe in their dreams before they face any setbacks. Those who conquer have learnt the art of staying on track irrespective of what setbacks they face. They believe wholeheartedly in the beauty of their dreams and will not listen to any other persuasion. Your faith must be unshakeable to stand a chance in the game of life.
A stubborn attitude. When you think about the persistent widow and the Canaanite woman referred to in this article, you see certain stubbornness about them. That refusal to be convinced otherwise is what led them to their victory. Though they knew that the odds were stacked against them, they still went ahead to attempt what they believed God for and came out victorious. When you know that this is what matters, you do not quit but keep on expecting, praying and acting until you see results.
I believe in massive action, as encouraged by Grant Cardone in his book The 10X Rule. It is about believing that for as long as you keep stoking the fire, it’s going to burn all the resistance to the ground.
In what ways can you add fuel to your fire today? What stands in the way that you need to find a way around or through? In you is the capacity to break through all manner of barriers. Draw from that inner strength and reach for your dreams.
Article by Samuel Mwinamo Asena,
Author, Blessed to be a Blessing,
Founder, Optimize Institute
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