Success has been perseverance, but what really differentiates the great achievers is not so much knowing how to persevere or not, but knowing when to persevere and when to quit.
Persevera ... o no

To “persevere” means to stand firm in the way of being or acting. Surely you have heard many times that perseverance is the key to success. Quotes like “what separates success from failure is perseverance”. And many more.

There are also numerous examples of how perseverance has been key to the success of many personalities. Known is the story of J.K. Rowling, the successful British writer of Harry Potter. She says that she presented her work to 12 publishers, and one after another they were rejecting it. Some publishers said that it was too long to be read by children, others said that magic stories were no longer in fashion … So over and over again. Joanne, her real name, insisted over and over again. She didn’t give up and kept trying. Until the thirteenth publisher she submitted her manuscript believed in the project, published the book, and … well, you know the rest of the story.

Another clear example of perseverance is that of Michael Jordan, considered possibly the greatest basketball player of all time. In his childhood, several coaches relegated him to the substitute team claiming that he had no talent for basketball. When he was in the ninth grade he was only 1.75 meters tall and the coach did not summon him to the team. Jordan was very disappointed, but instead of quitting, he continued fighting. He promised himself to do everything possible to reverse the situation. He worked hard and trained his jump a lot, to make up for his short stature. In the eleventh grade, Michael grew and also improved his skills, becoming elected to the school. Then he went to university and later to the NBA becoming a legend, above all, for his enormous perseverance.

I am truly convinced that perseverance is the key to achieving success in any discipline. What I cannot agree with are some common quotes that, although many of us repeat them, will never be true. I mean phrases like “who follows it gets it” and other similar nonsense. It is clear that in many cases insisting ultimately brings great results, but in many other cases, it does not. We can analyze multiple success stories that were motivated, among many other aspects, by having abandoned a project. Knowing not to persevere, closing one door to open another is an important element to achieve success.

For example, Ray Kroc, president of McDonald’s had many previous jobs in which he failed, until at age 52 he teamed up with McDonald brothers to franchise the business and shortly thereafter became the company’s largest shareholder.

Or the case of Colonel Sanders founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. At 12 he dropped out of school. At 15 he left his family due to mistreatment. He enlisted in the army very young and had all kinds of jobs, as a merchant seaman, an insurance salesman, a fireman on the railroads, and a farmer. Until he began to cook superbly chicken. It wasn’t until he was 60 that he decided to franchise his small restaurant business, becoming a global success.

It is clear that perseverance is essential to achieve success. But so is knowing how to leave on time, how to close the right doors or when to look for new opportunities. In most cases of success, there has been perseverance, but they have also managed to give up on time. What differentiates great achievers is not so much knowing how to persevere or not, but knowing when to persevere and when to quit.

And remember, as Napoleon Bonaparte said “A withdrawal in time is a victory”

Xavi Roca

I am Talentist, I help organizations, managers and professionals to achieve high performance through enhancing their leadership and personal brand. I am passionate about leadership, high performance team management and Personal Branding, and I have dedicated my professional career to helping companies and professionals develop and enhance their talents and strengths to achieve their maximum development and performance.

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