(Originally written February, 1992)

It was in the fall of 1973 that two young brothers got the discouraging news. They would soon lose their last government exchange contracts. Within only seventeen months after taking over the business from their parents, they had lost 90% of it. Frustrated and discouraged, they considered closing down and finding other jobs; but they decided to keep trying to sell some accounts and build a new “non-military” distributing business. They had been reading a book by Og Mandino titled “The Greatest Salesman in the World”. They carefully copied the ten principles presented in the book on 3 x 5 cards. After each sales call, every rejection, and at the end of every tiring day, they would review the cards and build up the courage to try again.

Have you ever been discouraged and ready to quit? Are you facing an impossible situation on your job, with your teenager, with your finances, in a relationship, with an illness, or even in your marriage? I want to share with you the six words that kept the two young men going. Those six words became the foundation for our business that today employs several hundred people.

“I will persist until I succeed.”

“I will be like the rain drop which washes away the mountain; the ant who devours the tiger; the start which brightens the earth; the slave who builds a pyramid. I will build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.”

“Never will I allow any day to end in failure. Nor will I allow yesterday’s success to lull me into today’s complacency.”

Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame said: “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.” Persistence is better than the hottest enthusiasm, the highest intelligence, and the greatest strength. Persistence builds confidence and courage with each step. Little by little the next project becomes easier as the determined spirit strives valiantly. The person of perseverance keeps hanging on after others let go. They are steadfast, diligent, and patient as they endure with tenacity.

Napoleon stated that the word “impossible” was not in his dictionary. The force of perseverance makes difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. It is said that by perseverance the snail finally reached the ark. Most successful people are known by how they use failures, not as stumbling blocks but as stepping stones to victory. Perseverance means failing nineteen times yet persisting until succeeding on the 20th time.

Winston Churchill reminds us, “This is the lesson. Never give in…never, never, never, never…in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions on honor or good taste.”

The lives which have meant the most to this world are those who have failed, yet have never given up. One such young man became a lesson in perseverance. He failed twice in business by age 24. He ran for the legislature and was defeated, and then his fiancé died when he was 26. He had a breakdown yet returned to run for office and lost three more times in five years. After finally being elected to Congress at age 37, he failed in his re-election bid. Sever years later he gathered his courage and ran for the Senate and met defeat again. Not quitting he ran unsuccessfully for Vice President the next year and lost the Senate race two years later. Finally, at age 51 after countless political failures, he ran for President of the United States. He won and is remembered as our most famous president. We honor this man (who was a failure at age 50!) at the Lincoln Memorial.

Calvin Coolidge, who served as our 30th American President, perhaps was reminded of Abraham Lincoln when he said:

“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 alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

The apostle Paul reminds us – “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race…So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step…Run your race to win!”

“I will persist until I succeed.”

The winners in life are the losers who do not give up.

Persevering with you,

Kent Humphreys

(Philippians 3:13, 14; I Corinthians 9:26; TLB)


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

2 Responses to Perseverance

  1. cathy westm says:

    Thank you for sharing Davidene & Kent. Blessings.

  2. Teresa Scott says:

    Enjoyed this message and will apply it to my daily walk with the Lord as well as my career and all area’s of my life. No boundaries…

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