Monday Morning Insight: the Importance of Persistence

Today’s quote to start the week comes from the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge:

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. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Say what you will about Coolidge, but he was a champion of individual liberty and responsibility. This quote posits that the individual who perseveres has a better chance for success than someone who relies only on other qualities. It’s not that success never comes to those who with little effort capitalize on their talent or genius or education, because it can and sometimes does; it’s not that success comes to those who persevere with little talent, genius, or education, because often it does not; but that the surest road to success is the long, hard road of consistent effort applying one’s proven talent, native genius, or accumulated education.


(Image: “Persistence,” by Dave Bezaire, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)


Have you known anyone with talent who let their talent languish? Have you known anyone with genius — not as an estimate of intelligence, but as that almost spiritual inclination toward a particular field — who failed to put their genius to work? Have you known anyone who was highly educated but whose intellect was more highly developed than their work ethic? What might they have accomplished if their abilities and knowledge had been joined with diligent effort?

What might we accomplish, if we were more tenacious in pursuit of our goals?

So as you pursue your goals — as you put your talent, genius, and education into whatever you do — let this quote remind you that what will set you apart, what will make the difference, is whether you keep going, whether you persevere, whether you persist.

Press on!

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