The power of perseverance | Coeur d’Alene Press

When Paulo Coelho’s novel “The Alchemist” was first published in 1988, it went unnoticed. It only sold one copy in the first week. Unfazed, Coelho confidently waited for more sales to arrive, but he waited a long time. Six months later, a second copy was sold – to the same person who bought the first copy. At the end of that first year, Coelho’s publisher decided to cancel his contract.

Coelho didn’t let the rejection paralyze him. He looked for another publisher. He watched and watched, until he finally found his second chance. Once her book was republished, word of mouth began to grow. His perseverance paid off and he ended up selling 3,000 books, then 6,000.

Today “The Alchemist” has sold over 150 million copies worldwide.

The longer you stick with a task or goal, the more likely something good will happen. Perseverance is clearly one of the key attributes of successful people.

History is full of stories of people who wouldn’t give up on their goals – Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Lucille Ball, Michael Jordan, JK Rowling. Even Albert Einstein was questioned before changing the face of modern physics and winning the Nobel Prize.

Kathryn Stockett, the author of “The Help”, was turned down by 60 literary agents. She persisted and eventually her book sold over 10 million copies and was made into a blockbuster movie of the same title.

Bethany Hamilton was a young Hawaiian surfer who lost her left arm when she was attacked by a shark at the age of 13. But she didn’t let that dash her surfing dream. Two years later, she won the National Scholastic Surfing Association Women’s Division Championship. His story of perseverance inspired the movie “Soul Surfer”.

Soichiro Honda is a classic example of perseverance. He invented a new type of piston to improve a car’s performance and presented his design to Toyota. The engineers rejected his offer without even meeting him, but he did not lose heart. After several attempts, he was finally ordered to supply his pistons to Toyota, but an earthquake destroyed his factory. He started again, but when he was finally ready to start production, World War II broke out and his factory was again destroyed. Honda lost everything but its perseverance and built its factory a third time. Today, the Honda Motor Company is one of the most successful in the world.

It’s relatively easy to be persistent when things are going well, but successful people like Honda persist despite major setbacks.

Persistent people often demonstrate many similar habits. First, they are singularly focused on a goal or vision that drives them. I learned long ago that projecting yourself into a successful situation is a powerful way to achieve personal goals. Vision does not plan or anticipate obstacles. It gives a real idea of ​​what is possible.

Persistent people have a burning desire. I believe you can accomplish almost anything if you put your mind to it. If you believe you can do something, you have a chance. Will is as important as skill.

Nothing replaces hard work. If it were easy to achieve your goals and be successful, everyone would be doing it. It takes ambition, hard work and dedication. There are many formulas for success, but none of them work unless you do it.

This brings us to resilience, because almost every successful person I know has faced defeats, crises, failures, change and adversity of all kinds. The reason they succeed regardless is that they had the confidence and courage to face those setbacks and find a way to overcome them.

Continuous learning and constant improvement are essential. You don’t go to school once in your life; you’ve been in school all your life. Life is like riding a bicycle; you don’t fall unless you stop pedaling.

Above all, persistent people stay committed to the course. They realize it’s a marathon and keep going until they see the finish line.

Mackay’s moral: Be like a postage stamp and stick to your vision.

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Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Swim With Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”. He can be reached through his website,, by emailing [email protected] or by writing to him at MackayMitchell Envelope Co., 2100 Elm St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.

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