The Recipe for Student Success – Ingredient Two : Perseverance

The second ingredient to student success is Perseverance. On the surface, perseverance and passion may seem alike.

Perhaps you’ve experienced it before. You quickly develop passion over something, a new hobby, project or interest, and you fervently try to find out as much as you can about it. You buy all of the equipment, the books, you watch videos and read how-to’s. And then you try doing the thing you are passionate about. And then, you find, you’re probably not that good at it. “That’s ok”, you tell yourself, “it’s because I’m a beginner”. So you keep trying… but you keep failing, or it doesn’t work out quite how you wanted it to. After a while, you can’t use the beginner excuse anymore, and so you conclude that you’re not good enough, or it wasn’t for you, so you give up. And then you move on.

The passion was long gone. But what would have happened if you had persevered? You never know, you may have been great at it. How many things have you started, had you not given up, you would have been brilliant at? You could have been amazing, fantastic even extraordinary.

You need passion to get you started. But after the passion has died down a little, and the voices of criticism start to creep in, that’s when you need perseverance to pull you through. When everyone, even yourself, is telling you to give up, to stop wasting time, as long as there is a tiny voice still inside you saying “I don’t want to, I’m onto something”, perseverance will drive you to your destination, if you let it.

I wish there was an easy five step method for making up some perseverance. But the truth is, there isn’t. The only thing that can help you during difficult times is simply sheer willpower. Just knowing that if you carry on, keep going and practising, that you’ll eventually get there. But, here are five great people that I would bet you’ve heard of. Each of them failed many times, but you know their names because their perseverance pushed them to greatness.

1. Michael Jordan missed more than 9000 shots in his career. He has lost almost 300 games and was trusted 26 times to take the game winning shot but missed. And yet he is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”. – Michael Jordan

2. Bill Gates invested his own money into his first business, a project called Traf-O-Data. The project flopped. After many trials and tribulations, Bill Gates when on to create, well you know, Microsoft.

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”. – Bill Gates

3. Thomas Edison made thousands of wrong attempts before he was able to create a working light bulb:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. – Thomas A. Edison

4. Abraham Lincoln failed in business many times in his life, as well as having lost nominations for political position half a dozen times. Not to mention the loss of his sweetheart at the age of 26 and suffering a nervous breakdown at 27.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other”. – Abraham Lincoln

5. J.K. Rowling was rejected by twelve publishing companies for Harry Potter, which went on to become the best known children’s (and adult’s) story in the world.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default”. – J.K. Rowling

Some of the things you’re doing might be on the difficult side. Student life may be getting tough. You might not be doing so well, or you may be failing all over the place, but take it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and don’t give up. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

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