Mental Conditioning with Scott Wimberly

Character Development Lesson Five

Determination: Deciding to Hang Tough

Success depends on “Staying Power”; having the ability to “hang tough,” regardless! Trying once just doesn’t get the job done; you’ve got to try and try again. The lack of determination and persistence is the reason most people fall in attaining their goals.

Here is a poem, which gives us some great words to live by, and points out to us the importance of persistence.

Press On.
Nothing in the world
can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
Nothing is more common
than unsuccessful individuals
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

It seems that I am always coming into contact with people who have been misled, thinking that success depends solely on talent or brilliance or education; or they believe that it’s getting the breaks, or knowing the right people, or being in the right place at the right time.

No, the thing that makes for greatness is determination, persisting in the right direction over the long haul, following your dream, staying the task. Just as there is no such thing as instant failure, neither is there automatic or instant success. But success is the direct result of a process that is long, difficult, and often unappreciated by others. It also includes a willingness to sacrifice, and a relentless effort to hang tough in the tough situations.

I define persistence and determination in action as this: “When you keep working while others choose to quit.”

I once heard about a man who loved to hunt. The man bought two pups that were top-notch bird dogs. He kept them in his back yard, where he trained them. One morning, an ornery little vicious-looking bulldog came shuffling and snorting down the alley. He crawled under the fence into the backyard of the bird dogs. It was easy to see that he meant business. The man’s first impulse was to take his setters and lock them in the basement so they wouldn’t tear up that little bulldog; but he decided he would let the little bulldog learn a lesson he would never forget. Naturally, they got into a scuffle in the back yard and those two bird dogs and that bulldog went round and round! There were growls and yips ans bulldog hair flew everywhere. The little critter finally had enough so he squeezed under the fence and took off. All the rest of the day he wined and licked his sores. Interestingly, the next day at about the same time here came that same ornery little bulldog – back under the fence and after those bird dogs. Once again those bird dogs beat the stuffing out of that little animal and would have chewed him up if eh hadn’t retreated down the alley. Would you believe the very next day he was back! Same time, same situation, same results. Once again after the bulldog had all he could take, he crawled back under the fence and found his way home to lick his wounds.

Well, the man had to leave town for some business and he was gone for several weeks. When he came back he asked his wife what had happened. She told him every day at the same time that little bulldog came back and fought with his two bird dogs. He never missed a day! It was now to the point that when those bird dogs simply hear that bulldog snorting down the alley and spot him squeezing under the fence they immediately start whining and run down into the basement. That little bulldog struts around the back yard like he owns it. That bulldog had “Staying Power.”

Now that’s persistence and determination. Staying at it, hanging tough with dogged discipline. When you get whipped or when you win, the secret is staying at it.

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