If there’s one trait that will separate the successful from the unsuccessful in pretty much any field, it’s persistence.
(I have a visceral dislike of the faux word “sticktoitiveness” so you will NOT see that here. You’re a writer; I’m sure you understand.)
You can get the hyper-detailed road map to exactly where you want to go, but unless you start walking down that road and keep walking, you won’t get there. And, you have to keep walking in spite of any diversions, surprises, upsets, or self-doubt.
All of which is much easier said than done.
Persistence is developed and strengthened by practice. Make yourself do something, and you’ll get much better at making yourself keep doing something. Persistence is a muscle that grows with work.
But even the most persistent among us sometimes need a little kick in the rear; a little wisdom from those who’ve been there. And that’s what these three books are about.
Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
Okay, you know my aversion to fake words, but I’m going to let this slide since there’s so much wisdom in here. As you might have guessed, Forleo’s premise is that there are no problems or challenges that can’t be figured out (and if they truly can’t be figured out, they’re not problems—they’re facts of life).
That’s a pretty empowering concept to ingrain in oneself, but the book goes on to talk about actionable steps you can use to make that belief power steps toward your biggest dreams and goals. (And, being a self-made multi-millionaire, Marie Forleo ought to know.)
Every pro starts off as an amateur. There’s not one top artist, athlete, writer, scientist, architect, entrepreneur, programmer, musician, or potter who enters the field at the top of her game. To begin anything new or learn anything new means you will be a neophyte. You must go from outsider to insider. Respect that. Embrace it. Be willing to suck.Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
If you don’t believe me that persistence is the key to success, believe the research! Angela Duckworth—who is a psychologist, professor, and researcher—has studied and tested her hypothesis: talent and genius don’t drive success. And guess what? Her research proves she’s right.
So, what does drive success? Grit, which she defines as a combination of passion and long-term (key word there!) perseverance. This combo is the “secret” to success in any industry. No amount of talent, skill, or even luck can help you when you hit a roadblock or even fall down (and, if you live life for any amount of time, you’re going to face challenges and roadblocks!).
It’s all about your mindset. When you fall, what does your mind tell you? That you should give up? Or that you’re going to wake up tomorrow and keep trying (guided by, of course, what you learned from your setback)?
…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.Angela Duckworth, Grit
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Sincero’s book has been out for a few years and she’s written a few sequels, but I’m still a big fan of the first. Look: there’s nothing new here. It’s another “you can do it, so just do it” book. But sometimes we just need to hear things a little bit differently, or hear things again, to take it to heart.
And unless we’re all living the lives of our most glorious dreams, there is still room to grow and we do need reminders that we’re badasses and that we can do it.
Note: There is some PG-13 language in this one.
So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass
Now, as I said, you develop greater persistence by being brave, taking action, and being persistent. But…sometimes a little inspiration can help jumpstart that persistence—and when you need it, these books can be a great place to turn.
Your turn! Are there any books about persistence that I missed? Let me know in the comments below…
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Last Updated on October 6, 2022
Tina Williams says
Nicki, I LOVE the Badass books by Jen Sincero. In fact, it was her first book that inspired me to take the plunge to learn copywriting and go for my writing dreams. Thanks for mentioning it here.
Nicki Krawczyk says
I completely agree! Her “money” one is SO good, too. Have you read her “You Are a Badass Every Day” book yet? If so, you’ll have to let me know if I should pick up a copy… 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
A couple I have read and enjoyed: Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Brandon and Deep Work by Cal Newport. Currently reading Principles by Ray Dalio and have Atomic Habits by James Clear on my to-read list; plus, I will add the David Goggins book to that list.
Nicki Krawczyk says
Great additions to the list! And Atomic Habits is a good one, too.
Thanks for commenting!