7 Sure-Fire Ways to Develop Persistence

If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying, “Here comes number seventy-one!”
Richard M. Devos

There is no such thing as cheap success. If we want to succeed, we have to pay the price. And the road to success is long with a lot of obstacles. No wonder most people stop at one point or another after running into the obstacles. Only a few people have the persistence to keep moving forward, and these are the few people who succeed.

Persistence is essential. In fact, persistence is one of the most important characteristics successful people share in common. There is no other way to succeed but by developing persistence in our life, and here I’d like to share seven ways to develop it. Here they are:

1. Learn the life of successful people

Understanding that successful people do need persistence to achieve success will inspire you to be persistent yourself. So find and read the life stories of successful people throughout the history. While most people recognize them only through their achievements, by reading their stories we will understand the persistence they need on the way to success.

Here are some people you might want to learn about: Ludwig van Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and Stephen Hawking.

2. Expect a hard way, not an easy one

One of the main reasons people giving up early is having wrong expectation. They expected the way to be easy, and they are surprised when they find the reality to be the opposite. Their enthusiasm quickly melts and they lose heart.

So start your journey with the right expectation. As I wrote above, there is no such thing as cheap success. Expect a hard way, not an easy one, and you will be mentally prepared when you encounter the reality.

3. Don’t underestimate the amount of time required

Just like you should not underestimate the difficulty of the journey you are about to take, you should not underestimate its length either. Of course, everyone wants to achieve instant success. But this, unfortunately, is not realistic. The journey to success is a marathon, not a sprint, so prepare yourself accordingly.

4. Have a big why

To keep your persistence, you need a strong source of motivation. How else can someone keep trying again and again without strong motivation? And such strong motivation comes from your purpose. You should know why you want your goal in the first place. And your why must be bigger than the obstacles. The bigger your why the better.

5. Know how to handle failure

Since failure is a certainty on the path to success, knowing how to handle it is critical. By knowing how to handle failure you will be able to keep your persistence. On the other hand, not being able to handle it will soon drain your mental energy. So arm yourself with the right tactics to overcome failure.

6. Find partners

Things will be much easier is you have partners with whom you can encourage each other. They can motivate you when you are in the low points of life, and you can do the same to them. Besides, your partners could give you valuable lessons from their experiences so that you don’t need to find them yourself the hard way.

7. Minimize your stress

To be able to keep your persistence for long time, you should minimize leaks on your mental energy. Stress is one such leak you should learn to manage. If you fail to do this, you won’t be able to stay on the track for long. Even if you do, you won’t be able to do your best since you’ve lost a lot of energy. So arm yourself with the tactics to minimize stress and preserve your energy.

Photo by mstorz


  1. This is some great advice, Donald.

    I especially liked the part about expecting a hard way. That’s not to say that life should be a struggle, but at the same time, inappropriate beliefs about the difficulty level of any given task are a sure-fire way to lose your ability to stick with it over the long-term.

  2. Thanks, Aaron! Yes, such inappropriate beliefs will give us unpleasant surprise when we meet reality, and many people will simply stop because of that.

    Personal development also needs persistence and therefore we need partners. Personal Development Partners is just the right place to find them!

  3. Donald,

    Well said. My 3 keys for success are patience, endurance, and persistence, and I believe you’ve covered all three in your post. Thanks for the affirmation.


  4. […] 6. Life Optimizer – 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Develop Persistence […]

  5. Donald – as usual, a thought provoking and valuable article.

    I especially liked the part about not expecting it to be easy. In these days of superstars, it looks like it should be. But all of them, if their stories are told, had many obstacles before they got there.

    One thing I would like to add if I may.

    If it is not working, no matter how hard you try, it is time to change course. Everything you learned can be applied to another endeavor.

    Too many people do not know when to stop trying to race a “threel legged horse” and get a new horse.

  6. David,
    I like your three keys for success! Patience, endurance, and persistence are all important to achieve success.

    I agree completely; knowing when to stop is essential. Sometimes we compete in the wrong race and the right move to take is simply to change course and bring all the valuable lessons.

  7. Awesome! Thanks so much for the wisdom and inspiration….

  8. Another great post.

    There are many, many individuals who want an easy way to success and there isn’t. You certainly need persistence and, one of my favourites, passion.

    I love and agree with your idea of checking out successful people. In fact, I am in the middle of my next project called ‘Great Successful People’.

    I also agree with Corinne, one must know when to change course and try another way. Doing that is strength in itself.


  9. Andrew,
    That’s an interesting project you have! I love to learn about successful people because we can learn hundreds-of-years worth of experience and be inspired. And I also agree that passion is essential for success.

  10. […] read a great article about success and wanted to share it with you.  It’s called: 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Develop Persistence by Donald Latumahina and it offers some helpful tips for developing persistence and achieving […]

  11. Donald,

    I am thoroughly enjoying the new project and have got to talk to some amazing individuals including a high number of ‘high profile’ and successful bloggers. How do you fancy being involved?


  12. Andrew,
    Thanks for the opportunity. I need to know more about the requirements before I can decide. If you like, you can email me at donald@lifeoptimizer.org

  13. […] time to build your personal brand; maybe more than you expected. So it’s important to be persistent. Prepare for a marathon, not a sprint, and you won’t run out of gas in the middle of your […]

  14. […] Purpose: Increasing your awareness of your resistance: […]

  15. […] 7 Sure Fire Ways to Develop Persistence @ Life Optimizer […]

  16. […] takes time to build your personal brand; maybe more than you expected. So it’s important to be persistent. Prepare for a marathon, not a sprint, and you won’t run out of gas in the middle of your […]

  17. I really wanted to be a doctor and a succesful politician, but it seems that I couldn’t reach that dream anymore coz I thought that path to it is very easy because I perceive myself as a genius, now, look at me, Im an underachiever and my grades are straight F’s, now tell me, how can I enroll to a medical school when I cant pass even my nursing course? damn, this is all my fault, If only I studied well in my high school years……its all my fault

  18. Paul,
    I believe we can always start anew in our life. Perhaps you’ve had failures in the past, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve great things in your life.
    The first step to take, in my opinion, is to let go the past.

  19. thanks, thank you….

  20. well i hav a problem with persistence—-i am not doing very good with my studies—wasting time—-what shd i do?

  21. […] ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ??????? ?????. ?????? “7 Sure-Fire Ways to Develop Persistence ” ???? ??????, ??? ??????? […]

  22. […] Persistence is important to achieve success, but giving up is also important. I’ve written about persistence before, so here I want to look at giving […]

  23. Monique Avakian
    Monique Avakian

    Donald — please recommend biographies of successful WOMEN and people of COLOR!!!!!!!

  24. […] read a great article about success and wanted to share it with you.  It’s called: 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Develop Persistence by Donald Latumahina and it offers some helpful tips for developing persistence and achieving […]

  25. Hi Donald,

    I am new to your site. But I am glad I found you and have the pleasure to read this first article.

    You have really described this list to develop persistence well. I am sure that whoever reads this will find a list of useful things that can be easily done to develop persistence.

    Personally for me, I find that #1 and #4 are key. The lives of successful people and our motivation are a source of great source of strength we can draw on.

    I also like that you are encouraging your readers to set the proper expectation for success in life.


  26. thank u vry much was really helpful

  27. Please take out Mr. Armstrong from that list!

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