“Nothing in this 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 will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge
In 2004 (then my third year as a start-up entrepreneur, since quitting paid employment), the CEO of a small business specializing in providing IT solutions, laughed in my face, after I told him I offered custom MS Excel-Visual Basic Software Development Solutions for a fee.
He said “Huh, who’s going to pay you to do that kind of thing?”
It’s important to note here that his reaction, as one who had been in business, on a formal basis, about 5 years before me, had serious potential impact on my state of mind. Especially with regard to how I thought of myself and what I believed I had to offer my target audience in the marketplace.
By dismissing what I said the way he did, my conviction about my concept was challenged and shaken to the root.
“I have never started a company that, at some point, didn’t cause me to have doubts. This must be a stupid idea because no one else is doing it. Why don’t people get it? Maybe there is nothing there” We all have self doubts, but as entrepreneurs we don’t let these thoughts stop us. It is only a sanity check and is a normal thing.” – Fran Tarkenton (Former Football Star/Millionaire Entrepreneur)
Luckily for me however, my 7 year stay in paid employment as one who rose rapidly to success breaking many boundaries in terms of productivity and age of achievement, gave me something to draw on.
It so happened that a lot of my success was directly related to my ability to convince business users in the company across various departments, that spreadsheet automation could make them more productive.
As a result, I was able to use my skills to develop useful real life applications that solved major data handling and report generation problems faced by departmental and sectional heads in the company.
Over time, I gain major career benefits in various forms due to my efforts. It was the insights I gained from doing all that which convinced me that spreadsheet automation solutions could be profitably provided to a larger audience.
Hence my decision to quit my job and do it for a living.
Today, the growing success I enjoy selling my custom apps to buyers within and outside Africa proves I was right.
But I had to start by believing in myself and rejecting the negative suggestions from naysayers I came across as I worked towards success.
At the risk of stating the obvious, success did not come easily or quickly. Out here in Nigeria/Africa, up till now the spreadsheet automation industry is still very young.
Out here in Nigeria/Africa, I continue to struggle to find experts doing what I’m doing i.e. building and selling custom automated spreadsheet apps, IN ADDITION to providing custom development services to individual and group clients.
My story confirms that success achievement requires not just competence, but a willingness to PERSEVERE or PERSIST until one achieves the desired outcome.
This is the truth.
But it’s NOT a truth that people LEARN in school.
Most “teachers” don’t know this truth, so they are unable to pass it on to those they TEACH.
The result is that too many schooled ADULTS fail to understand that their ability to DEAL with and OVERCOME delays, disappointments, setbacks, failures, and other forms of adversity and unpleasantness in life is THE KEY to achieving sustainable authentic success in any area of endeavor.
One word can be used to describe that ability, and that’s “PERSISTENCE”.
And it is more important than ANY academic credentials they may possess or acquire. Indeed, while lack of formal schooling may NOT often be a fatal handicap, a shortage of PERSISTENCE can sentence a person to a life of perpetual failures.
Proof of this can be seen all around us in form of countless highly successful people, with minimal or no schooling, who just STUBBORNLY kept trying again and again and again, each time they fell, until, making intelligent changes to what they were doing, UNTIL they succeeded.
The quote below underscores what I’ve said above:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; u1nrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge