The great statesman and Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, gave the shortest commencement speech in history after retiring. It consisted of just three words delivered three times:
NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE UP!
When Winston took control of Parliament, the United Kingdom, fully disarmed, had been shocked by the blitzkrieg attack of Chancellor Adolph Hitler of Germany, where Hitler took most of Europe within just a few short months.
By the time the United States joined the United Kingdom in December of 1941, it looked like Hitler and Japan were going to win the war.
Through a close collaboration, which included Russia under General Secretary Joseph Stalin, the Allies defeated both the Nazi’s, bringing World War II to a close by the fall of 1945.
What made the difference? Mere persistence. Winston Churchill refused to give up, and by D-Day of 1944, the American invasion of occupied France turned the tide.
Many movies and documentaries have flourished around the theme of success. They have tended to dwell on all the glamorous aspects, such as marrying the boss’s daughter, or befriending the boss’s wife.
The most delightful was The Secret of My Success, starring Michael J. Fox. According to them, we merely need think positive, and all else will follow. While this is a half-truth, it overlooks the obvious facts.
All the luck in the world, and all the affirmations in the world, will yield you nothing without persistence.
Napoleon Hill maintained that persistence is to character what carbon is to steel. If you try to bend an iron rod, it will eventually break. With a steel sheet, it will keep bending with the additional pressure, and snap back to its original position.
The pioneering philosopher of entrepreneurialism, Napoleon Hill, in his perennial classic, Think and Grow Rich, hammered away that favorable breaks and desirable connections, in and of themselves, are never a guarantee of success.
What is required is an obsessional psychology fixed upon a single objective. You must develop a habitual state of consciousness that will not admit the possibility of failure.
It is well-known that most recipients of gigantic sweepstakes and lotteries blow their fortune within a few months, as they lack the character and discipline to hold onto their wealth.
Success is never about money alone. Most of the superrich are motivated to become leaders and financiers because they have something they want to do in the world.
Often, they want to make the world a better place, as is the case with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, both billionaires who have made the pledge to literally give away most of their wealth. Next-generation billionaires, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, have picked this up, as well.
With persistence, you literally cannot lose, no matter how many reversals you experience. Without it, you have no chance of enduring success.
Napoleon Hill carefully identified and elaborated what it would take to develop that state of mind that cannot be defeated in his chapter on Persistence. He put it all into four simple steps:
1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment
2. A definite plan expressed in continuous action
3. A mind closed tightly against all negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances
4. A friendly alliance [Mastermind] with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose
While Napoleon Hill was inspired to organize and develop the world’s first explicit philosophy of success by the great steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men in the world, it took Napoleon over 20 years of sustained effort without a salary to realize that dream.
Throughout that time, Napoleon was continuously barraged with skepticism and criticism, even from his own wife.
Napoleon mentioned that, in the beginning, this dream was a faint glimmer that he fanned into a flame, until it eventually became an all-consuming obsession. That obsession totally drove him. Through his passionate courage and conviction, he inspired generation after generation of Americans and became a significant factor in ending the Great Depression.
While Napoleon goes into great detail in his book, what can be easily recognized is the primacy of having a clear objective, knowing what you want, that becomes the focus of your entire life.
The plan, mastermind and positive thinking all stem from a passionate dream that takes over your life. Some have called it their “magnificent obsession.”
The single thing you need to do to get started developing an invincible habit of persistence is to clearly identify what you want in life. Napoleon asked the question as follows:
What, above all else, do I most desire? Do I intend to acquire it? Am I willing to subordinate all other desires for this? How much time daily do I devote to acquiring it?
For me, I desired a beautiful woman who would be a total inspiration to me on the human level, and the privilege of spreading enlightenment all around the world, helping everyone I meet to find Higher Consciousness within himself and herself.
After decades of stumbling around, I found the woman who could take my consciousness to a whole new level, and I found the mission, vision and message that can awaken people everywhere within their innermost being.
It is interesting to look at Steve Jobs, who created Apple Inc. literally out of his garage in Silicon Valley back in 1975. Steve transformed six separate industries and built the world’s most valuable corporation. Those industries included computers, consumer electronics, publishing, retail, film and music.
As recent biopics reveal, Steve was originally a college dropout who had a hard time getting along with people. He was an orphan raised by a working-class couple in an industrial town.
Steve’s parents couldn’t afford to put him all the way through the college of his dreams. Rather than continue to bleed his parents, Steve chose to drop out and audit classes there for a year. Steve then decided to go to India to get enlightened.
Within six months of returning, he crashed with mom and dad, and went to work in their garage with an older buddy from high school.
What most people even today don’t realize is that Steve lived consciously as a vegan meditating two hours a day.
Related article: Truly Successful People Are Self-Aware
The woman he eventually married, Laurene Powell Jobs, is a stunning lady who believed in him from day one.
Once he met her in the early 1990’s, his life decisively turned around. Within a handful of years, Pixar went public, and Steve was invited to take over Apple after he had been thrown out a few years before.
When Steve went back to Apple in the late 1990’s, he paid himself stock options and a dollar-a-year salary. Apple was just six-months from bankruptcy. When Steve passed away in 2011, Apple was worth hundreds of billions.
What a life… what a journey… Do you see that burning desire and persistence sprinkled all over Steve's life?
Isn’t it time you started dreaming? Dream, but do it passionately! You may surprise yourself… and the world.