The Power of Persistence Beats Everything Else
Power of Persistence
Time seems to erode our patience and power of persistence. If we could only harness the energy and willingness of our youth and hold onto it through life, we would all live much more full lives.
I remember being twelve or thirteen years old and coming to the decision that I wanted to be a radio broadcaster. All my birthday and Christmas money got thrown at building my bedroom radio station. I would spend hour after hour doing fake radio shows to nobody.
At one point, tired of having no audience I wired a speaker into my younger brothers bedroom so he could listen, whether he wanted to or not. I would make a new demo tape every week and send it to every radio station in the country. I was convinced that I was about to be discovered at any moment. Afterall my Grandad had confirmed that I was bloody good at being a DJ. He would tell all his drinking friends in the pub that his grandson was on the radio, so it must be true I thought.
Every wave of demo tapes going out would result in an equal swell of rejection letters coming back in. By the time I was seventeen years old and had received over 500 or so rejection letters from radio stations around the country. I had them all filed and could proudly show you the seven times I was rejected by Metro Radio in Newcastle or the three times BRMB in Birmingham had told me that I was not good enough. The theme to the replies was always similar; not enough experience, not quite ready, you have potential – come back in a few years.
Rejection Never Upset Me
The rejection letters never upset me or even indeed registered in my consciousness. I had this deep certainty that eventually I would get a chance. There was not even 1% of my DNA that considered I would fail. I didn’t care if it took a thousand rejections or ten thousand rejections I would do whatever it took.
This is the power of persistence
Then one day my mum called me downstairs to take a telephone call. I asked her who it was and she said ‘some posh sounding woman called Stephanie.’ The woman on the phone explained that she was calling from Radio Wyvern in Worcester. She said that ‘The Boss’ wanted to meet me and would I be willing to come down for a chat? I said yes immediately, and then I looked at a map and discovered that Worcester was a four-hour drive from my hometown of Darlington.
I had only passed my driving test a few months earlier, and the furthest I had ever driven before was to my friend’s house, 5 miles down the road.
The big day came, and I got dressed into the only suit I owned, the suit my parents had bought me for my Gran’s funeral. I jumped in my little Mini and set off on the journey. This was before the days of mobile phones and sat navs. I got lost a couple of times and ended up being fifteen minutes late for my meeting with ‘The Boss.’ This was not a good start, as I was about to find out. The Boss was a balding Geordie by the name of Norman Bilton; he eyed me suspiciously as Stephanie ushered me into his office. I sat down in the chair facing his desk, and his first words to me were ‘who said you could sit down’?
So I stood up again and apologized profusely. He stared at me for what seemed like a fortnight before he said ‘you are late and you look a mess, your suit is crumpled.’ I tried to explain it had been a long journey but he interrupted almost straight away and asked ‘where is the free car you promised me’? I thought he was mental. “I am not sure what you mean,” I said Norman put his glasses on a picked up my letter from his desk “It says here, items enclosed 2, CV. So I presumed you were bringing me a free Citroen 2CV”.
This was apparently a joke of some sort, but the problem is he had a face as serious as an undertaker. I didn’t really know how to take him, and I never did work that out. He put the letter down and looked over his glasses at me and asked ‘do you know why you are here?’ I said I presumed he had liked my demo tape and might have an opportunity for me. He smiled and said ‘no, your demo was terrible. You are here because you wrote to me on bright yellow paper – nobody has ever done that before. It made me think you might be a little different from all the other wanna be’s’.
I explained I had only done that because I run out of white and he looked decidedly disappointed. It was the weirdest most stressful conversation I had ever had with anyone before or since. However, it ended with a job offer of sorts; The Boss said ‘I am not sure you have what it takes but you can come for a month, and we will see. I will pay you £100 a week, start on Monday and we will find something for you to do.
Power of Persistence Is Everything
It was the least flattering job offer I have ever had, but I was over the moon with it. Over the next eighteen months at Radio Wyvern I would present every show around the clock, service the cars (despite not having the first clue what I was doing) and look after the vending machine – all these things fell under my remit for the first year. When the morning show guy Jason Harold left the station, my big opportunity came. The Boss said he was going to give me a chance on the Breakfast show, but he didn’t trust me not to upset his friend in the pub so he would come in with Stephanie each morning and produce the show.
This meant I would sit in the North studio while The Boss and Steph would sit in the South studio shouting at me every three minutes over the intercom. The ‘behind the scenes’ conversation over the intercom would go like this:
BOSS: Talk about it being the first day of spring and do a phone in asking if anyone has heard a cuckoo yet.
ME: Do I have to?
BOSS: Yes, you bloody have to.
I would do what the boss told me, using the exact words and phrases. To my ears, it sounded like I was on acid.
BOSS: What the hell was that? That was the worst radio I ever heard in my life. Do it again
ME: What do you mean ‘do it again’
BOSS: Are you stupid? Do the link again but this time do it correctly.
I think I managed a week on the breakfast show before the Boss declared it a disaster and I was dumped back repairing cars and vending machines.
I eventually left Radio Wyvern, and it became the start of a two-decade-long career in the UK broadcast media. I have never worked a job because I needed the money, I have always found a way to do what I wanted, and the money just seemed to follow my passion. What I worry about the most is that my children, who are now both grown up will look at my life and oversimplify it and miss the fuel for this sort of life.
It is all very well setting lofty goals, but without an unrelenting persistence, most people will quit long before they hit the target. Forget about positive thinking, education and good old-fashioned hard work. The secret to an exceptional life is persistence. Once you have determined precisely what it is you want to accomplish, you must take massive action on a consistent, persistent basis to succeed. Think of it like building a muscle. If you have never weight trained before, the first time you walk into a gym, chances are you will not be able to bench press 250 lbs.
However, if you are persistent, and you consistently go back to the gym, you will find yourself getting stronger and closer to your goal with every visit. One of the things you’ll notice on your journey towards your goal is roadblocks. That is, you will encounter obstacles that seem to jump out of nowhere in an attempt to halt your progress. Count on these obstacles.
They are a part of life.
If you find little or no obstacles along the way, chances are you are not challenging yourself. And when you do reach your goal, you won’t experience the feeling of ‘sweet success.’
Make your goal a challenging one! If you take the time to study any successful person, you will learn that the vast majority of them have had more ‘failures’ than they have had ‘successes.’ This is because successful people are persistent; the more they stumble and fall, the more they get right back up and get going again. On the other hand, people that don’t get back up and try again, never reach success.
For example, Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Today, due to his persistence, millions of people have shared ‘the joy of Disney.’ Colonel Sanders spent two years driving across the United States looking for restaurants to buy his chicken recipe. He was turned down 1,009 times!
How successful is Kentucky Fried Chicken today?
Having said this, keep in mind that you must constantly reevaluate your circumstances and the approach you are using to reach your goal. There is no sense in being persistent at something that you are doing incorrectly! Sometimes you have to modify your approach along the way. Every time you do something you learn from it, and therefore find a better way to do it the next time. Today is the day to begin your journey, using consistency and persistence, towards tomorrow’s successes!
One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another. An uncle of R.U. Darby was caught by the “gold fever” in the gold-rush days and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had never heard that more gold had been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite. After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface.
Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped.
The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine. The first car of ore was mined and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the most productive mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits. Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened! The vein of gold ore disappeared!
Then something happened! The vein of gold ore disappeared!
They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again – all to no avail. Finally, they decided to QUIT. They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars and took the train back home. Some “junk” men are dumb, but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating.
The engineer advised that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found JUST THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING! That is exactly where it was found! The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up. Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R.U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.
Desire & The Power of Persistence
Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over, when he discovered that DESIRE can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance. Remembering that he lost a vast fortune because he STOPPED three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work. he did this by saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.” Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. He owes his “stickability” to the lesson he learned from his “quitability” in the gold mining business.
Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the most natural and most logical thing to do is to QUIT.
That is precisely what the majority of men do. This is what the passengers on the train nearly always do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country had ever known, told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Believe in the power of persistence, it will change your life.
Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.