Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ?Press On? has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
- Calvin Coolidge

The question is always who will be more persistent. Those who persist will succeed.

Is that true?

Essentially yes. The problem occurs when there is a disagreement about the feasibility of the process.

For example, Thomas Edison persisted in his work to find an economical light bulb that would last long enough to be of value and be strong enough to withstand shipment after testing.

Many scientists knew that passing electricity through a material would cause the material to glow.

Finding an economical material that would withstand shipping from the factory to the point of use and would last long enough to be of perceived value to the consumer was the problem.

Thomas Edison did not phrase it exactly like that though. :-)

In the end, it is always obvious that the solution existed.

Along the way you can bet that people argued about IF a material existed that would be both robust enough to ship, give enough light and be inexpensive enough that the consumer would find value in the purchase.

Thomas Edison believed the material existed.

Many other, very intelligent, very educated scientists abandoned the search because they had decided the material did not exist OR because investors decided that finding the material was so expensive that the return on investment would be minimal.

Thomas Edison was right. Thomas Edison's investors were right. The people who argued against "staying the course", persisting, were wrong.

Those who failed to persist lost money. Those who were persisting, BUT, did not discover the "best" material before Thomas Edison did are forgotten.

What if the job really is impossible?

President Bush was a big believer in persistence. The average person does not persist, which is why so few people achieve difficult projects. The average person will quit after trying so much.

Exactly how much is dependent on the person. Some people will try a "lot", some a "little", some will perceive one person's "lot" as a "little" and others perceive the "little" as a "lot".

Getting people to agree on what is possible is difficult. Getting people to agree on what is impossible is much easier.

Bad leaders will always default to impossibilities because so many people believe in the impossible.

Great leaders will tackle impossibilities and make them possible.

It is easier to say "Flying is impossible" than it is to build the first airplane.

I would rather persist in the face of failure than quit and believe in impossibility.

Obama is a quitter who believes in impossibility and he has built his possibilities on deriding those who persist and whom the quitting majority laugh at.

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