Persistence

What Comes Next

Giving up is easy. Anyone can do that. People do it all the time. I do it. All of us do. We surrender. We throw out the next possible opportunity sometimes, simply because we fell down in some way or another, or because someone else finally wore us down with their repeated message that we couldn’t succeed. Surrender is practically a national sport, it seems.

Persistence, however, is a trick worth nurturing. If you can keep at something, if you can find and rekindle that little spark of faith that you’ll figure it out, then you can rebuild again and again. Persistence is the act of building continuity. It’s the deliberate action of doing something, doing it again, doing it again, until you get it right, and maybe doing it over and over after that, too.

At the Grammys, there was a medley of performances from Rihanna, Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Skylar Grey. Three of the four (sorry, I don’t know anything about Skylar) had something in their stories about persistence. Rihanna kept her career going, after having to deal with an abusive boyfriend. Eminem came back from a serious drug habit. Dre had to battle his own inner demons after having spent 10 years away from recording studio albums. In each case, they persisted, even though things went wrong, and even when life didn’t throw a perfect hand.

Persistence is a powerful state to consider. If you can find the discipline to persist, then you’ve got a power that many seem unable to master. That said, here are three (or maybe four) masters of persistence:

Thanks to @RunnerBliss for finding me this version of the songs on YouTube.

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  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    I am on board with the beginning of the article but no so much on the end. The examples that you use had people around them that only focused on them not surrendering and succeeding. This is not real life. Sure we may have some people around us that want to help us but yet their focus is not only and exclusively us. Big difference.

    We all fall. We pick ourselves up. Sometimes slower than before. When we have the drive within us to push no matter what we pull away from the thoughts of failure and move to the thoughts of success. When we succumb and believe failure from the outside noises we fall and fall and fall. I think there is something within us all that at some point (some sooner than later) that stops the noise and allows us to move away from it and close off the negativity to move towards the success.

    Sometimes I believe persistence is easy. When you exude that confidence when faced with a brick wall of negativity, it starts to break down the brick wall. We see progress whether it be one brick at a time or many crumbling it empowers us to continue. If we see no progress we fall but in time, can revamp and start over when we have the mindset to never give up. It is a mindset that plays tricks on us sometimes where we forget that we can be persistent regardless of what we are faced with. To me nothing is impossible until you let it be and sometimes we forget that one part of how we let it be.

    It is all scalable I guess. The difference is that with people of fame they have others around them to be the stop gap for them to lose the persistence where others have to figure it out on their own. The same result can be achieved as ultimately it is within us to be persistent consistently and leave behind the outside noise. Getting there is harder.

    • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

      Suzanne, I think you make an assumption that “people of fame” have people around them to help them be persistent. I have no idea if that is true. Do you? Often they have people who want to see them fail, or enable destructive behavior because it makes news and a buck (see Charlie Sheen). For every public redemption, there are 1000s of people who “once were” but are no longer. We all have to live the human condition of choice – to move on or give up. And ultimately, it is within each of us to do what it takes. The people who surround us in that process are a choice, too. Money and fame have nothing to do with it.

      • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

        Susan

        Yes I believe they do have people around them to help push them. People who are not famous do as well but the difference is that with famous people they have these people on their payroll. That is huge as if there was someone sitting here with me that was on my payroll they would be more apt to helping and keeping me focused.

        There is the failure part to consider. For every success, there is always people who want to see you fail. Some work hard at trying to make that happen. When we ignore it, we move past it and push forward. But we have to be able to have that strength or people around us who help us with that strength.

        I agree that we do have the condition of choice. But, sometimes we falter and do give up because that is what we are capable of at that time. Doing what it takes is not that easy. We all have our point of action. For some it is the first sight of when we see a problem and for others it is when there is no other choice but to take action. This is that survival mode that we go into. At this point we are going through the motions because we have to and not really addressing the situation as a choice.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      In both the case of Dre and Eminem, there were thousands and thousands of people who wanted them to fail and “stay down.” Believe me, even at my stupid tiny level of internet notoriety, people want me to fail badly. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean there are a lot of supporters that matter. Fans, yes. People who can bring you up? No. Dre said it in his verse. All these people said they were riding with him forever, but when he needed help, there was only Slim (Em).

      • http://deceth.com deceth

        As a parasitic troll, I need all my fellow bloggers to succeed otherwise I will have no hosts left to harvest… :(

        Best wishes for the future!

    • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

      That’s what I took from this, Suzanne.

      I can see the point Chris is trying to make, but the examples would have been far stronger if they had been “normal” people that didn’t have millions in the bank to pay for therapists, brand managers, crisis advisors and more.

      Agreed, at the end of the day, everyone’s human and has failings and deals with things differently. But it’s a lot easier to get back on your feet when you have money in the bank to fund your persistence.

      • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

        Hey Danny

        That was my point. If I had a nice bank hefty bank account and people around me on my payroll that were there to help me persist, it is a whole lot easier. I do see Chris’ point that there are always people there that want them to fail and I would say that there are more out there for someone famous as who wants to see someone who is completely broke fail and lose the little bit they have (there are some but they tend to be known really well by the person). We champion someone who pulls themselves out of poverty (and should) but they do this themselves as there are not a lot of people around them that are there to focus on them and help them stay on track to succeed.

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Lack of Persistence is one of the factors why so many people that are very talented have not reached their dreams.

    When I look at the many people that I think are successful one factor that always stands out is their persistences mixed with a lot of resilience. Hopefully I can have a bit of both to continue on the right track. Goes in line with your posts on Overnight Success.

    • http://srdash.blogspot.com/ srdash

      Yeah. As the Japanese Proverb goes: “Money (I must add “success”) grows on the tree of persistence.”

      • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

        There is a correlation there :)

      • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

        There is a correlation there :)

      • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

        There is a correlation there :)

      • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

        There is a correlation there :)

  • http://www.florida-attractions-tickets.com Alisha Andre

    You are very much right Chris..you need persistence in your life sometimes to live up to your dreams… but unfortunately not all people have it in their lives…!!!

  • Chriskeaton

    Right on target! Bulls eye, Chris!

  • http://ClimbingEveryMountain.com Mary E. Ulrich

    I’ve been thinking a lot about surrender lately. (Actually “I surrender” was going to be the name of my next blog post. I’d already found a graphic of a white flag.)

    I forgot about the word ‘persistence.” Someone once wrote a chapter about me and named it persistence.

    Like most things in life, it’s hard to know when the best choice is to quit and when to keep fighting.

    Thanks for making the connection.

  • Jillaine

    We are where we are because of our persistence, or lack thereof. :)
    Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
    Calvin Coolidge

  • http://www.therealtorstoolbox.blogspot.com Sean Carpenter

    Consistency can only be created with persistence.

    Persistence helps us break through the resistance

    Great message Chris

  • http://www.youintegrate.com Kneale Mann

    We have to decipher persistence versus stubbornness. There are times when we hang onto something longer than it deserves our attention. But we also know when we back off because of fear or motivation. And in those cases, if we give up too early, how will we ever know if it was going to work?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Damned straight, Mister Mann. It’s the hardest thing to know, too.

  • http://www.experiate.net Paul Flanigan

    There is a degree of difficulty with persistence. The more you want, the harder (it might) be to get it. My word this year: Relentless.

    Relentless is persistence, but turned up to 11. I wake up every morning and tell myself this word. Seems a little weird to walk around the house chanting to myself, but I have done it.

    It works.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Absolutely true, Paul. It’s not easy, and it gets harder. Relentless. Yeah, that’s the next thing, isn’t it?

    • http://deceth.com deceth

      My word is fruitless.

      It’s what everyone calls your relentless persistence before you achieve anything.

      • http://www.experiate.net Paul Flanigan

        Deceth – FTW. So true.

    • http://deceth.com deceth

      My word is fruitless.

      It’s what everyone calls your relentless persistence before you achieve anything.

    • http://deceth.com deceth

      My word is fruitless.

      It’s what everyone calls your relentless persistence before you achieve anything.

  • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leon Widrich

    Great post Chris. I have to say, I couldn’t quite find good use for your recent posts, but this one is amazing again and brings me back to focus. A truly great quote I read in reference to this is: “It’s not about how often you fall, it’s about how often you can rise again”.
    Let me Buffer this.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Glad to finally hit one for you, Leon.

  • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leon Widrich

    Great post Chris. I have to say, I couldn’t quite find good use for your recent posts, but this one is amazing again and brings me back to focus. A truly great quote I read in reference to this is: “It’s not about how often you fall, it’s about how often you can rise again”.
    Let me Buffer this.

  • http://twitter.com/cagdasunal ÇaÄŸdaÅŸ Ãœnal

    Go on baby go on just move on! It’s allways hard to go on. Your first step is always the hardest one.

    Imagine that you’re a river. If you want to drill a rock, it’s not about the water power. It’s about the the persistance of drops of water.

    As you see it’s scientific thing :). So Chris Brong is right!

  • http://www.freepointofview.com Rich

    I like the message but the examples given were a bit questionable. Rhianna and Chris Brown are back together, that is persistence.

    • Anon

      They are not back together. I don’t know where you are getting your celebrity news.

      • http://www.freepointofview.com Rich

        Whoa, (Anon) I don’t have time for celebrity news but I happened to overhear that on the radio on way to do a business seminar. Their is contact form on my webpage and I can help you deal with your social fears. (Anon) Again I like the message, it does take persistence to achieve what one needs and wants.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Not together. They gave it another go, but no. And Brown had his therapy and so they were giving it one last shot, just in case (what I read somewhere in a grocery store).

  • http://www.thewritedesignco.com/ BillionDollarBlogger

    Ok, I feel like this message was for me directly. It’s not easy working toward a goal and not seeing results. I understand things take time, but sometimes it can be discouraging. On the upside for me, I cannot afford to give up. And I do have a group of supporters to keep me on point. But sometimes it’s hard. Thanks Chris!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It was. I sent it directly to you.

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    Persistence is one of the things I actually have been given. To say I have come back time and again from very adverse conditions is like saying “New York City has a lot of people”

    I have had situations in my life that were beyond my control and persevered and am now just starting to make my long sought goals a reality. I have seen the deaths of both parents in a three year span, lost my best friend to a massive heart attack, lost a few jobs and this past April was hospitalized without health insurance. I needed my gallbladder removed.

    I can honestly say that all of these challenges have made me an even stronger person today. I too have left an abusive marriage and one of my biggest passions is trying to help other women who feel they cannot leave.

    It takes time and effort, and not giving in when that small voice says “you can’t do it” I tell that small voice to “GO TO HELL” and I get back up and do it as many times as I have to before I get something right.

    Thanks for this Chris. Great song too.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Wow, Nancy. I’m so glad that you’ve shared. Thanks for adding things in.

    • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

      Nancy, I’m sending virtual hugs to you. Hang in there!!

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    Persistence is one of the things I actually have been given. To say I have come back time and again from very adverse conditions is like saying “New York City has a lot of people”

    I have had situations in my life that were beyond my control and persevered and am now just starting to make my long sought goals a reality. I have seen the deaths of both parents in a three year span, lost my best friend to a massive heart attack, lost a few jobs and this past April was hospitalized without health insurance. I needed my gallbladder removed.

    I can honestly say that all of these challenges have made me an even stronger person today. I too have left an abusive marriage and one of my biggest passions is trying to help other women who feel they cannot leave.

    It takes time and effort, and not giving in when that small voice says “you can’t do it” I tell that small voice to “GO TO HELL” and I get back up and do it as many times as I have to before I get something right.

    Thanks for this Chris. Great song too.

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    Persistence is one of the things I actually have been given. To say I have come back time and again from very adverse conditions is like saying “New York City has a lot of people”

    I have had situations in my life that were beyond my control and persevered and am now just starting to make my long sought goals a reality. I have seen the deaths of both parents in a three year span, lost my best friend to a massive heart attack, lost a few jobs and this past April was hospitalized without health insurance. I needed my gallbladder removed.

    I can honestly say that all of these challenges have made me an even stronger person today. I too have left an abusive marriage and one of my biggest passions is trying to help other women who feel they cannot leave.

    It takes time and effort, and not giving in when that small voice says “you can’t do it” I tell that small voice to “GO TO HELL” and I get back up and do it as many times as I have to before I get something right.

    Thanks for this Chris. Great song too.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Chris,

    I love this… Persistence and Paul’s comment below “Relentless”. Not stubborn persistence… But flexible, maneuverable persistence. You have to be able to change and adapt to your market while at the same time never giving up on the end game…

    Good Friday post…

    Thanks

    Ryan H.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Right. Persistently running against a wall is no good.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Chris,

    I love this… Persistence and Paul’s comment below “Relentless”. Not stubborn persistence… But flexible, maneuverable persistence. You have to be able to change and adapt to your market while at the same time never giving up on the end game…

    Good Friday post…

    Thanks

    Ryan H.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    Chris,

    I love this… Persistence and Paul’s comment below “Relentless”. Not stubborn persistence… But flexible, maneuverable persistence. You have to be able to change and adapt to your market while at the same time never giving up on the end game…

    Good Friday post…

    Thanks

    Ryan H.

  • http://swizzlecollective.com/blog Swizzle

    I have to add Robert Downey Jr. to this list. Not only did he not surrender, he bounced back better than ever. He is my Persistence Hero.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      You got that right. If he were at the Grammys, I’d have addd him in. : )

  • http://exchange.adotube.com/intro.php Jeff | Video

    There’s a very good saying about persistence. It came into my mind while I was reading your post. I don’t remember it exactly, but it sounds like “you have to stand up just ONE MORE time to succeed”. Very true.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Oooh. I got a shiver. For real.

    • http://deceth.com deceth

      If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you’re heading.

    • http://deceth.com deceth

      If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you’re heading.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    A great book on persistence is The Dip by Seth Godin. It’s a great business guide to help you decide whether it’s best to persist or give up. Sometimes it’s best to just give up and start something new.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Great point, John. Totally so.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        I just wish it was easier to see if we are just in a dip or really in a
        cul-de-sac, like Seth talks about. I think in Today’s business climate it’s
        great to have people like you out front with some guidance. What used to
        work doesn’t always work anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

    I appreciate this song by Eminem and Rhianna because it is raw and true for those who are in abusive relationships. It’s ugly to think that people can be tangled in messes like that and persist. It’s brave to put that honesty out there (esp for a woman who was in an abusive relationship).

    And I think that is what persistence comes down to – looking at what’s a mess, scary, broken and KNOWING it all sucks and getting up ANYWAY, doing the hard work to sort it out, moving forward when it would just be so.much.easier to lie down. When I see people persist in the face of any trial I stand up and applaud as loudly as I can. We need to cheer each other on…. Success isn’t the outcome, it’s the brave journey we take to get there without letting go.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I agree on that. Thanks for your perspective.

  • Paula

    Chris, Sometimes the content of your blog reaches me at the moment I most need it. Thanks for the reminder to keep going (but hopefully with some adjustments so as not to fit the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). How can you read my mood? Keep up the good work. LOVE your blog.

  • Paula

    Chris, Sometimes the content of your blog reaches me at the moment I most need it. Thanks for the reminder to keep going (but hopefully with some adjustments so as not to fit the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). How can you read my mood? Keep up the good work. LOVE your blog.

  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    This is truly a great message for all of the reasons the folks below have said.

    Some smart dude recommended I read Think & Get Rich by Napoleon Hill, and I just recently read the chapter where he mentioned that great people often quit right before they are ready to hit it out of the park.

    I would say with persistence there must also be endurance. You have to endure the stuff that wears you out while you persist in trying to conquer it. I’m sure there are other “ences” and “ances” as well.

    Also, lovely to see my girl @runnerbliss mentioned here. She rocks :)

  • David Kowarsky

    Respect, Chris. Serious respect.

  • http://www.phildawsonedge.com Sam Ingersoll

    Quitting what is being done for the wrong reasons can be liberating!

  • http://www.phildawsonedge.com Sam Ingersoll

    Quitting what is being done for the wrong reasons can be liberating!

  • http://thegoldenruleguy.blogspot.com/ John Fox

    Meaningful, Chris. I mention the same although in a differing content with my recent PSA via my blog. Thanks for this message.

  • http://www.jasonleister.com Jason Leister

    Great post Chris… just gotta keep truckin’.

    Onward.

  • http://www.jasonleister.com Jason Leister

    Great post Chris… just gotta keep truckin’.

    Onward.

  • Dustin Reynolds

    Loved this Chris. On top of persistence I would add passion. You can sense it in them as they perform and it sends chills through your body. I love experiencing people who love what they do. Thanks for posting this.

  • Carolyn R. Higgins

    I loved this post too… great reminder and motivator to wake up to this morning. As someone who started a business just over a year ago, no matter how many small successes I have, times are still tough – and this reminder that nothing happens over night or necessarily in our time frames even is the kick in the butt I needed to keep going this morning!

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    That was masterful story telling and very compelling.
    This video went perfect with your post.
    Great reminder.

  • http://www.prestigiaonline.com Jorge Mira

    Brilliant. Thanks, Chris.

  • Rick

    Whenever I see the word “persistence” I immediately think of this quote:
    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” – Calvin Coolidge

  • Rick

    Whenever I see the word “persistence” I immediately think of this quote:
    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” – Calvin Coolidge

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    It may sound goofy, but Kenny Rogers comes to mind:
    “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em
    Know when to walk away and know when to run
    You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
    There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done”

    Persistence is important but you have to be certain that you are focused on the right things.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    It may sound goofy, but Kenny Rogers comes to mind:
    “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em
    Know when to walk away and know when to run
    You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
    There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done”

    Persistence is important but you have to be certain that you are focused on the right things.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    I absolutely eat posts like these up.

    Those who appear to have it all gave up most. We see the finished product or at least the celebrity living the life of their dreams, and most have no clue in heck what it took to get there. In many cases it took years of rejection, working without being paid, struggling with poverty, all types of resistance that had to be accepted for an extended period.

    Most would rather not deal with it, which is why there are only a handful of people up for Grammys, or any exclusive club. Be it professional sports, corporate stars, or whatever, so few can embrace and pass the persistence test.

    Thanks for sharing the inspiration Chris. Have a powerful weekend!

    RB

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  • http://twitter.com/jordanl61 Lawrence Jordan

    Awesome post Chris. Thank you, I needed that right about now.

    LJ

  • http://fingercandymedia.com/ Jessica Northey

    Wow…I so needed to read this.

    Persistence and trudging forward in the shadow of adversity is the MANTRA for most successful musicians. I watch so many give up sometimes even before they start and then when they are right around the corner from huge break-through.

    As someone who has re-invented herself, many times, I try not to let my energy and enthusiasm be discouraged by circumstances or other people. Some people love to tell you what you can’t do, even under the guise of “devils advocate.” Not that I surround myself with “yes men” or groupthink mentality…I just try to keep as many people to the right of me as to the left of me.

    Love or hate former Chicago Tribune CIO, Lee Abrams, he once said to me, “JFDI(Just Freaking DO IT),” when I asked what inspired him to create the “Album Oriented Rock” Format for radio AND XM Satellite Radio.

    I listen to people who are following their dreams and getting results.
    You, Mr. Brogan are a huge inspiration to me.

  • http://thefiretalk.com Nixon Press

    Sounds like me too. Its been 3 years since I’ve went to Blogworld in 2008, dreaming of quitting my day job to make a career change online and I’m still dreaming. It seems just like yesterday, damn time is flying. My problem is that I keep dreaming and haven’t put anything into any real action. I know what needs to get done but don’t do it. And its funny because as grown adults, I believe that most of us know what needs to be done, but once we hit roadblocks, we find excuses to prevent us from reaching our goals; be it fear, rejection, lack of money,sickness, etc. There are so many motivational books written about this and its nothing new. I keep telling myself there are no excuses, take action, confront the roadblocks and keep moving, there is no one to really blame except form me.

  • http://twitter.com/Xchelm Xchel

    Maybe we are not good at persistence because we don’t like to fail. If we fail miserably at something, we never want to try it again. It should be that we embrace failure as a society, because I’ve gained more from falling then succeeding. I welcome failure into the things I do, because I learn better from a school of hard knocks. It’s good to know you think about this Chris, it means you’re human. haha.

  • http://twitter.com/Xchelm Xchel

    Maybe we are not good at persistence because we don’t like to fail. If we fail miserably at something, we never want to try it again. It should be that we embrace failure as a society, because I’ve gained more from falling then succeeding. I welcome failure into the things I do, because I learn better from a school of hard knocks. It’s good to know you think about this Chris, it means you’re human. haha.

  • http://twitter.com/lifeforinstance Life, for instance

    Chris,
    I love your second paragraph (a trick worth nurturing!) and what you said in one of the comments;”It’s not easy, and it gets harder.”

    Sure, it does (and it’s good to know this up front!) but once you find something good to put your heart into, what a great feeling it is to give it all you’ve got on a consistent basis. I’m “nurturing the trick” of persistence now and it’s actually kind of fun.
    Lori

  • Anonymous

    Several years ago when I was trying to transition to a career as a professional speaker, author and trainer I was building the business part time. A friend asked “so when do you quit trying?”. I did not understand, since I loved what I was doing, still had a full time job, and was earning extra money as a speaker. He continued “when do you decide you wont make it as a speaker and just give up?”.

    I thought about it and replied “Why would I quit? The additional money is real, and I love sharing with an audience. All I know is that 100% of those who quit never succeed in making the transition to a full time speaking career!”

    (I have now happily been full time in my own business for two years).

    Not matter what you are doing, remember this: 100% of those who give up do not succeed. Some who keep going do not succeed, also…… but some knock it out of the park!