One of the lessons I learned early in life is that you can’t give up. You have to keep plugging, trying, working to achieve your goal. It sounds obvious, but I am amazed how often others settle for second place or failure. Now second place doesn’t sound so bad…unless there are just two of you competing on opposite sides of the tennis court. So often I have to pep up my partner in doubles who is resigned to losing…even though that partner is a much better and more consistent player than I am. Surprising!

We were losing something like 2-5 and down 5-40. But I told my partner that “I never give up.” I am sure he smiled skeptically…but we came back and won the set. Fortunately for me, lots of other players were watching our comeback. Gave me some cred with these much better players. I was just a sub at the time, scraped off the bottom of the barrel at the last minute of desperation. Since then, I have been invited to sub more often.

I was proud to show my children how I wrote an op ed piece about partisanship and fights between Repubs and Demos. Then it was rejected by the NYTimes and some other major papers. I found a list of the 100 biggest papers in the country and started offering it to the largest circulation ones first. I was pretty worn out by all the rejection, but the 45th one I sent it to–the Seattle Times–published it enthusiastically. A good example and role model for a child.

I used to tell salespeople who worked for me that if you contact 100 prospects, you might find 10 who are interested…and then one–only one–might bite. But you have to keep calling. You can’t stop after 13 and say no one wants what you are offering. I built a successful publishing company with that attitude.

So all those years of successes after persistent action gave me more encouragement and confirmation that you should keep going, put in more effort, never stop striving towards your goal.

What happens if you do that and fail early on, never succeed, don’t see the sense of continuing to make the effort? I guess your life experience would convince you that you should stop trying. I mean what’s the sense of keeping going? Only rats keep going down the same dead end of the maze.

Is it just luck? How did I acquire that attitude of persisting? Was I born with it? My father was an extreme optimist. My mother thought he saw the world with rose-colored glasses. She wasn’t as hopeful about things as he was. I thought he was often naive. I thought she was often more realistic. But both world views seemed to have rubbed off on me. Helped me turn out pretty well.

I am a believer…I never give up…

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