Plan a marathon, not a sprint
One of the greatest enemies of persistence is impatience, the desire to chase your dreams at a sprinter's pace. Unfortunately, worthwhile dreams are never only a hundred yards away; instead, they are usually miles away. Most people gain a vision or a dream and then run as fast and as hard as they can to catch it. The only problem is they tire out shortly after they begin.
Think back to the last time you saw a hundred-metre sprint. Whether it was the Olympics or your child's track meet, how did the runners look and act after they crossed the winning post? I am sure they all gasped for air, some of them leaned on their knees, others sat or lay down and some just walked around, head down and panting. No matter what shape they were in, they were all out of breath and temporarily exhausted.
Can you imagine what would happen if the moment they crossed the winning post the official told them, The race isnt over, there are 105 laps around the track to go.Chances are not one of them would start running. And if they did, they would certainly not run very fast. That is because the only thing a marathon and a hundred-metre dash have in common is that they are both races and the participants are running. However, they require completely different training methods and strategies as well as different running styles.
Edison and his staff worked for nearly three years on his electric light project. They worked long days, often sixteen to twenty hours. They solved problems inventors had been struggling with for over fifty years. This was possible because Edison, the master of persistence, knew that gradual steady progress would not only get the job done, but get it done in record time.
My favourite example of a man who mastered persistence, and went through life like a marathon, is a man whose resume says it all.
1. At twenty-one, he saw his first business fail.
2. At twenty-three, he ran for a political office and lost.
3. At twenty-four, he saw his second business fail.
4. At twenty-seven, he had a nervous breakdown.
5. At twenty-nine, he ran for Congress and lost.
6. At thirty-one, he ran for Congress again, and lost again.
7. At thirty-seven, he ran for Congress and won. (At last!)
8. At forty-nine, he ran for the Senate and lost.
Looking at this man's resume, would you not think he should just give up his dream of a high political office? And yet he did not tire, burn out or give up. His resume not only shows persistence, it reveals a great deal of patience. In the end, it paid offfor he was none other than Abraham Lincoln who at the age of fifty-one became the sixteenth president of the USA, the one who would have to overcome the greatest obstacles ever faced by an American president the splitting of the nation.
Pursue your dreams like you were running a marathon, no matter how much you are tempted to sprint! Do not try to complete too many tasks in a day or take too many steps in a week. Take your time to correctly complete each task and step. And complete them at a pace that does not risk an early burnout. Then be patient and see the results pour in.