Perseverance is the key to Success

Perseverance is the key to Success
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 15-02-2023

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The Best Way Out is Always Through - Robert Frost

Perseverance is the act of maintaining a constant drive to achieve our goals and improve our skills and performance through consistent effort. It involves being purposeful and goal-oriented, necessitating long-term commitment and discipline, and is often fueled by passion. Although distinct from motivation and determination, perseverance encompasses aspects of both. As noted in Angela Duckworth s research, succeeding at something requires persevering through discomfort and pushing through obstacles (Duckworth, Kirby, Tsykayama, Berstein, & Ericsson, 2010).

Perseverance is related to our ability to delay gratification, practice self-regulation, and exercise self-control, all of which are necessary to remain committed to longer-term objectives. It entails prioritizing sustainable future rewards over momentary pleasures in the present. Importantly, all forms of learning and mastery necessitate perseverance (Duckworth et al., 2010; Ericsson, 2006). If we did not persist in our efforts to speak, walk, learn a new language or instrument, or overcome limiting beliefs or anxieties, we would remain stagnant.

Angela Duckworth argues that perseverance, combined with passion, is the key to developing grit as a character strength. Passion is defined as a strong, sustained interest that motivates individuals to pursue long-term goals. In her popular book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016), Duckworth asserts that grit is critical for success in life, and that perseverance is a better predictor of achievement than innate talent. While natural abilities are important, hard work and a willingness to persistently improve are more significant factors in achieving success.

Real-life example:
J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, struggled hard while working on her first manuscript. Nevertheless, she persisted and eventually completed it. She was a single mother who struggled to make ends meet and was dependent on welfare. She wrote in every spare minute that she could find in her schedule. When it was finished, her novel was turned down by a number of different agencies. However, she did not give up trying. In the end, she was successful in finding one who agreed to represent her. Soon after that, her agency located a publisher, and soon after that, her books were international best-sellers and have been made into a variety of films that have been quite successful. She has now established herself as one of the wealthiest women in the world.


  • Recall past perseverance: When you re feeling stuck or discouraged, it can be helpful to think back on past instances where you were able to persevere through a challenging situation. Remember how you felt during that time, the strength and determination you had, and bring those feelings to the present moment. You can also take note of what strategies or actions helped you persevere in the past and consider applying them to your current situation. By reflecting on your past perseverance, you can gain confidence in your ability to overcome challenges and find the motivation to keep going.
  • Take a step, even just a small one: Sometimes, the thought of achieving a big goal can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to start. In these situations, it can be helpful to identify one small action that you can take right now to move towards your goal. This could be something as simple as making a phone call, sending an email, or doing a quick internet search. By taking action, even if it s just a small one, you ll feel a sense of accomplishment and momentum that can help propel you forward towards your larger goal.
  • Set a reasonable pace: When pursuing a goal, it s important to make consistent progress towards it, but it s equally important to avoid burnout by maintaining a reasonable pace. Avoid getting caught up in a frenzied state of mind that can lead to stress and exhaustion. Instead, set a pace that is sustainable for you and allows you to make steady progress over time. Remember that the journey towards your goal is a marathon, not a sprint, and that slow and steady progress will ultimately lead to success.
  • Try other solutions: If you find yourself stuck or struggling to make progress towards your goal, it s important to explore other possible solutions. This could involve brainstorming with friends, family, or a trusted advisor to identify alternative approaches to achieving your goal. You may discover new ideas or strategies that you hadn t previously considered, or find that there are resources available to help you overcome obstacles. By being open to new solutions, you can find a way forward even when the path seems unclear.
  • Be patient and give things time: Achieving a goal takes time, and it s important to be patient and persistent in your efforts. Avoid getting discouraged if progress seems slow or if you encounter setbacks along the way. Remember that every step you take towards your goal, no matter how small, is progress. Give yourself time to adjust to new challenges and develop new skills, and celebrate the small wins along the way. By staying focused on your goal and maintaining a patient, persistent mindset, you ll ultimately achieve success.
  • Just keep going (even if it’s only in your mind): Even when progress seems slow or obstacles seem insurmountable, it s important to maintain your focus on your goal and keep moving forward, even if it s just in your mind. Remember that every effort you make towards your goal, no matter how small, is progress. If you find yourself feeling stuck or unable to make progress, remind yourself that being intent on your goal and not giving up, is progress in itself. You can find comfort in the knowledge that by continuing to reflect on what s happening, learning to cope with it better, and loving the people around you, things will eventually improve over time.


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