by John Ingrisano
“Few things are impossible to diligence. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.” — Samuel Johnson
My father was “not all that smart.” Those were his words, not mine. The rest of the phrase went like this: “I just never gave up … ever.”
It worked out okay for him. The first one in the family to go to college (and he did that during the Great Depression), he went on to become a respected physician and educator. Not bad for a guy who thought of himself as not all that smart.
He is not alone. Over the decades, I’ve met some brilliant failures. I’ve also learned that success belongs to the persistent, to the men and women who are willing to put in long hours and who do not count their failures, but who focus on their goals. They keep on going … and going … and going.
The big problem with geniuses – and even natural athletes – is that, too often, they know it. I’ve seen talented young, “gifted” athletes who took their skills for granted. They stopped practicing and working at getting better in the off season. They saw themselves as naturals. As a result, they eventually peaked, plateaued and then declined way before their time should have been up.
Then there are the ones who never let up. Year round, they work out, practice, build their skills. These are the men who are in the halls of fame.
It’s the same in business. I’ve seen brilliant business owners who climbed effortlessly to the top. However, the second a setback slammed them across the nose with a two-by-four, they folded up and quit. In their hearts, they had no idea why they had been successful, so when the tough times came around, they had no idea what to do.
No, give me the sloggers every time. They have a dream, and they work hard to achieve it, maintain it, save it, recover it when it crashes, and then rebuild it … as many times as necessary. These are the men and women, by the way, who often have a handful of geniuses working for them.
The bottom line: Work hard, work hard, work hard. That’s how to build a business: with stubborn determination. — JRI