The Power of Perseverance

writing-centerThere are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure. – Colin Powell

My friend Melissa sent me a synopsis that a friend of hers had written after attending a Bank of America forum that featured a conversation with Malcolm Gladwell, author of insightful books about the times we live in including Tipping Point, Brink, and Outreach.

Apparently Gladwell is working on a new book about entrepreneurial success and why so many try to be among the 10% of new ventures that succeed. He described that perseverance and belief are more important than talent or luck. He noted that while most people believe the rock band Fleetwood Mac burst on the seen in the early 70s with two monster-hit albums, he points out that the first of these was actually the 16th the band had recorded. These musicians simply never gave up and kept trying various ideas until they found the sound and rhythms that worked.

As someone who has been a writer and writing teacher as well as a creativity coach for decades, I know that practice and perseverance are equally important in our creative endeavors. It’s an idea that I have to work to get across to students and clients, since especially with creativity people think that the work should come to them by magic and inspiration rather than by showing up to everyday to practice and see what happens. I suggest that they learn to fall in love with the process as I have done so that the act of writing is it’s own reward. Outside recognition in the form of publication or awards offers a momentary thrill, but it is the work itself that provides the deepest source of satisfaction.

Gladwell concluded that entrepreneurial success depends on the perseverance and desire of the contributor and the commitment and patience of sponsors. Unfortunately, Gladwell said, those two commodities are in short supply in today’s market. He expressed concern that the frenetic search for instant rewards is dooming those who seek it as well as the country to future failures.

I think the same impatience and misunderstanding about what it takes to succeed keeps people from really being able to tap their full creative potential. To become an accomplished writer, painter, musician, cook, gardening or anything takes commitment and perseverance. What people don’t seem to realize is that there can be tremendous satisfaction in the practice.

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