Persistency Can Lead to Wealth

What do you think matters more in terms of achieving success: talent or effort? One can say that both matter, and that’s probably true in most cases. However, there are some cases when one matters more than the other. Sometimes, having natural ability matters more.  Other times, persistence leads to success.

Based on what I have seen over the years, persistency and wealth have some correlation. The more persistent you are, the better your likelihood of success will be.  If we are driven and relentlessly pursue a goal, it can really pay dividends. Literally, in some cases:) If we go through the motions and try hard but don’t really push ourselves, we may end up just settling for a consolation prize, to speak. Or, in some cases, failure.

Now, I know that some folks might be quick to point out that just because someone is driven to succeed, it doesn’t mean that they can do anything they put their mind to. I totally agree with that broad statement. There are things that, no matter how badly we want them and are willing to outwork anyone in the world to get, we simply aren’t good enough.

For example: I’m 6’0” tall and of average athleticism. No matter how hard I might have tried when younger, I had zero chance of playing professional basketball. Or, for that matter, college basketball.  It never would have happened even if I worked harder than anybody alive.

That being said, there are other areas in life that don’t require exceptional skills.  Additionally, there are other goals and accomplishments that we can achieve that don’t require any natural talents than what we already have.  Many of these can be achieved through persistence rather than talent.

Examples of situations where persistency can lead to improved net worth:

  • Studying hard to get good grades and receive admission to a good college (since education impacts wealth).
  • Working to uncover scholarships and aid to attend college.
  • Working hard to get into a great graduate school or land a job in your desired field after college
  • Getting that promotion at work
  • Networking to find a better job
  • Pushing an entrepreneurial venture forward

You get the idea. It’s not like all of these things require innate quantifiable and measurable ability in order to succeed.

It seems to me that at many stations in life, there are plenty of people that have the requisite talent to succeed. Some may be a little smarter than others, but if you’re smart enough, you’re in the game. Then, it comes down to other factors, one of which is how much you want to succeed and how much you will do to make that happen.

Think about it all the people you have known who have achieved high levels of success in school, in their careers, or as entrepreneurs. Have they all been naturally brilliant?

I doubt it. Sure, some might have been .  But I’d be willing to be that many were not necessarily more talented than others, but just had incredible persistency.

Sustained, relentless effort – coupled with a sense of knowing where you have a chance to win – seems to be achievable for most of us, right?

My observations of such people are that they take common approaches, such as these 10 aspects of persistency that can lead to success and wealth:

  1. Setting ambitious goals.  It’s important to have a clearly defined goal or sense of what we want to ultimately accomplish.
  2. Visualizing  success .  Envisioning success in one’s mind, orienting thinking to that place and thereby aligning behaviors to that end.
  3. Planning.  Once the goal is in mind, plans are made to reach those goals. Planning – while building in room for flexibility – provides a roadmap and goalposts to shoot for.
  4. Being able to ignore naysayers. There are often people who tell us that something can’t be done, whether they really believe it or just secretly prefer that we don’t succeed in order to make themselves feel better.  Being persistent involves knowing when to ignore such obstacles.
  5. Being resilient.  When roadblocks emerge – which they will in one way or another – it’s important to be able to be tough, get through them, and move forward.
  6. Working hard.  This one is obvious, but persistence involves the willingness to put in the time and energy it takes to reach your goals.  One saying that I have heard a few times is that if you’re not working hard, somebody else is.
  7. Efficiency.  While we all need balance, it’s important sometimes to cut nonessential activities in pursuit of a goal. This could be cutting out that hour of TV at night in order to study, or it could be packing a frugal lunch each day instead of eating out in order to pay down debt.
  8. Discipline.  If you want something bad enough, you will discipline yourself to avoid slacking in order to reach the goal.
  9. Passion.  I think that a big part of actually being able to charge toward achieving something is truly having that burning desire to get it done.   Personally, times where I have really excelled have been when I genuinely, deep down wanted to win and reach a goal that mattered.
  10. Casting aside fear.  This could mean fear of success, or fear of failure. Both could derail people. In the times where I really wanted something and did it, I had no fear of success or failure.

It’s taken me some time over the years to be able to realize all of this, so I’ve had a mixture of successes and being completely average.  And, times I’ve failed.  For the latter, I’d like to think that when factoring out luck and chance – which does play a role in things – that being truly persistent could have made the difference.  For times where I succeeded, I know it did.  Lessons learned!

My Questions for You:

Do you think that persistency is a key component to success?

Do you agree with the assertion that in a many everyday situations, that truly relentless hard work can overcome better talent?

In situations over the course of your life where you have truly achieved a high level of success, did being persistent play a role in it? Perhaps contrast that with times where you were average or fell short.


  1. says

    I do believe that commitment and practice is what it takes. Essentially, I believe in Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule. Personally, I even believe that you could have, with enough work, played professional basketball. Would you have been a Hall of Famer? Doubt it, but put in 10,000 hours of practice and you couldn’t help but get better.

    • Squirrelers says

      CFM – I do think that hard work and many hours can do wonders. I read the book too, and thought it was enlightening. That being said, CFM, I don’t think I could have played pro ball :) But yes, I could have been much better than I was!

  2. says

    I love this post because I often see/hear some people talk about how “successful” or “rich” people achieved their status because of luck.

    While luck certainly could play a part, it’s undoubtedly hard work, discipline, sacrifice, intelligence, perseverance, and persistence.

    Our get out of debt journey has taken us 5 years so far but we keep inching closer every day, month, and year. It’s all about being persistent.

    • Squirrelers says

      WSL – that’s right, and it does seem like it takes personal experience to make these suggestions seem real.

  3. says

    Persistency can be an important part of success, but skills and talent is also important. There is no simple formula for success, it takes a lot of things. In my series, there will be 78 factors and does not stop there.

    • Squirrelers says

      krantcents – yes, talent is important, as are skills. However, sometimes when somebody really wants success more than others and works hard, that effort can trump natural talents.

  4. says

    Great thoughts – I think that as long as you keep trying eventually something will stick. Case in point: I was able to meet the founder of crocs (the shoes) and hear about about his background – he was living with his parents into his 30s and had formed so many companies that had all failed, and finally crocs hit. If he would have given up, he never would have gotten where he was.

    • says

      Nice example about Crocs. Hopefully he got out with lots of money before Crocs went out of fashion.
      I think persistence is the key to a lot of things. If you keep working at it, you will get there. The time it takes maybe long or short due to your ability and environment, but without persistence, I doubt you’ll get anywhere.

  5. Anthony Thompson says

    Your point about persistence and its relationship to success is very astute. However, there is one point that you alluded to that put up a red flag. You stated that with your average athleticism at 6’0”, no matter how much harder you worked than everyone else, you would’ve had no chance of playing professional basketball. Personally, I think that your making it as a pro would have been based on more than just how hard you worked at it. It would have come down your type of training, your environment, your coaching, and the resources that was invested in your talent. My point is that, it’s not just simply a matter of how good you are, but the type of encouragement, training, and sacrifices that were made on your behalf. You couldn’t do it alone. You would’ve needed help.

    • Squirrelers says

      Anthony, I appreciate your confidence, but I can assure you that I wouldn’t have made the pros no matter what :) However, I do agree that taking those things into account I could have been much better.

  6. says

    There’s definitely something to be said about not giving up. I always imagine the Terminator, even after his limbs get smashed, how he’s still crawling with one arm to kill John. I use that image as motivation to get things done.

    • Squirrelers says

      JP – True, it does show up in sports. I think in *real* life, the underdog often has an even better chance to overcome superior natural talent through working hard.

  7. says

    Stick-to-it-tiveness and doing just that little incremental bit. One some work projects, I push myself to come in earlier in the morning a few times a week, however long it takes, and focusing on that one task until done. It’s led to some measure of personal success.

    • Squirrelers says

      101C – I’ve found that it helps a lot when I do persist in that way. It seems like a little extra genuine focus can go a long way.

  8. says

    Interesting post. I think that persistency is a necessary ingredient of success. But I agree about the correlation. It’s easier to be persistent at something in which one has innate talent, no? And much for difficult to be persistent if one is fighting an uphill battle, talent-wise, as that feels very frustrating. Hence I think we all gravitate naturally toward where our talents lie, which is where we can be most persistent and so more likely to succeed.

    • Squirrelers says

      Kurt – that’s an interesting point, and I see what you’re saying. It’s almost as if once we get some momentum, and some confidence, it can fuel us to keep on persisting. It’s true that there are some things for which each of us lacks natural talent. In my case, for example, being a champion powerlifter isn’t something there’s much potential for. I’d give up that quest fairly quickly! :)

  9. says

    Hi there
    I have to say, I really like your blog. I will add it to my blog roll. I appreciate what you’re saying about persistence – I believe it’s one of the unsung heroes of success. We sometimes only want to pay attention to something or someone after they’ve “made it”. Then it’s a quick three sentence sound byte on what they did to get there. Sweat, blood, and tears aren’t glamorous, are they?
    I think some of the best ideas are sometimes born through trying, failing, and trying again (maybe from a slightly different angle).

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