16/03/2016 - 13:29

Get into the persistence habit

16/03/2016 - 13:29


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Napoleon Hill was on to it almost eight decades ago when he wrote that knowing your purpose was the first step in developing persistence.

TAKING CHARGE: Self-reliance is an important step in achieving goals. Photo: iStockphoto/Vernon Wiley

Napoleon Hill was on to it almost eight decades ago when he wrote that knowing your purpose was the first step in developing persistence.

IS there a secret to follow-up? No.

Is there a best way to follow-up? No.

Why do people quit too soon? Big question.

Why do you quit too soon? Bigger question.

Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich? Biggest question.

Think and Grow Rich (written by Napoleon Hill 78 years ago) has an entire chapter on persistence, which provides real insight as to the characteristics of what makes some stick at it until they win, while others stop either just after they start, or stop just before they are about to taste victory.

Rather than be so presumptuous as to paraphrase the great Napoleon Hill, I am going to give you the exact words of the master (now in the public domain).

Here are some excerpts (and insights) on persistence quoted exactly as they were written almost eight decades ago, and still applicable in your sales process today.

Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of mind, persistence is based on definite causes, among them these:

Definiteness of purpose

Knowing what one wants is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to surmount many difficulties.


It is comparatively easy to acquire and to maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.


Belief in your ability to carry out a plan encourages you to follow the plan through with persistence.

Definiteness of plans

Organised plans, even though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage persistence.

Accurate knowledge

Knowing that your plans are sound, based on experience or observation, encourages persistence; ‘guessing’ instead of ‘knowing’ destroys persistence.


Sympathy, understanding, and harmonious co-operation with others tend to develop persistence.


The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts on the building of plans for the attainment of a definiteness of purpose leads to persistence.


Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experience upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage. Everyone who has seen active service in war knows this.

How to develop persistence

There are four simple steps that lead to the habit of persistence, They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and but little time or effort.

1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.

2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.

3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.

4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage you to follow through with both plan and purpose.

These four steps are essential for success in all walks of life. The entire purpose of the principles of the (Think and Grow Rich) philosophy is to enable you to take these four steps as a matter of habit.

Now, I will grant you that some people will have read this and thought it too simplistic, because does not have an immediate ‘how to’ answer attached to it.

The secret of persistence is not an answer, it’s a realisation. And if you read the above and didn’t ‘get it’, you will be beaten by someone who did.

The Napoleon Hill philosophy of persistence is strong, yet soft. The only omission from the strategy is that it leaves out ‘what’ to persist with. Let me give you that answer in a word – value.

Want a few value ideas? Here are four. You may not like them. They require work.

1. Get your prospect a sales lead or give them a referral.

2. Give your prospect an idea how to serve his/her customers better.

3. Give your prospect a list of things he or she can do to improve morale, productivity, absenteeism, or profit.

4. Get your prospect some free publicity or social media exposure. Help them win.

Get the idea? See the work? Make your persistance pay dividends for the customer. Now look past the work to the victory. If you can see clear to victory, then the secret of persistence is at last yours.

And add to that the final wisdom of Napoleon Hill: What you need to develop persistence is willpower and desire. In other words, how bad do you want it and how far are you willing to go to get it? Unless the answer is ‘all the way’, you will not persist, you will give up.

Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development. © 2016 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


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