What is Persistence?


Tom Corley boats - crop

Persistence is a word used to describe success or the successful. It’s used so often that it has become white noise, something you tune out and ignore.

So, some people, like Angela Duckworth, offer an alternative word – Grit.

But, who cares what you call it? What does Persistence mean and why is it so critical to success?

Persistence is a very rare, unique trait that separates the successful from everybody else.

Only 5% realize financial success in life (see The Wealthy 5% – Who Are They?http://richhabits.net/the-top-5-who-are-they/)

The other 95% choose the path or least resistance. They either pursue “safe” careers, are too afraid to pursue their dreams or they quit on their dreams when the going gets tough.

But, in order to understand Persistence, you must first understand Consistency, its close cousin.

Consistency is Repetition.

People who practice their craft day in and day out, eventually gain Mastery – they become experts or Virtuosos in what they do.

Consistency, or Repetition, results in Mastery, transforming you into a Virtuoso.

This is why I harp so much on habits. Habits force Consistency. Habits help you to become a Virtuoso in whatever you do.

Persistence, on the other hand, is the act of being Consistent when you are struggling with Adversity.

Adversity are wrenches that are thrown into your path, along your journey towards success. Those wrenches, if you allow them, can take you permanently off track.


Your spouse issues an ultimatum to cease and desist from the workaholic schedule you’ve been at since you began pursuing your dream. If you don’t, it’s off to divorce court.

That’s Adversity!

Self-made millionaires ignore the ultimatum and continue to do what they’re doing. Self-made millionaires choose divorce, rather than quit on their dream.

That’s Persistence!

Persistence is continuing to do what you’re doing, NO MATTER WHAT.

The Persistent are Consistent, when everything is going wrong and all hell is breaking loose. They are Consistent when obstacle after obstacle is thrown in their way. They are Consistent when they are running out of money. They are Consistent during periods of unrelenting emotional stress.

So, what is Persistence?

It is the Consistent pursuit of success in the face of Adversity.

Or, put another way, it is the refusal to surrender to Adversity.

A lack of Persistence is why there are so few successful individuals.

My mission is to share my unique research in order to help others realize their dreams and achieve their goals. If you find value in these articles, please share them with your inner circle and encourage them to Subscribe. Thank You!

Be Sociable, Share!
Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
Email Tom
| Download Media Kit


  1. Nice motivational email… yes, the most successful folks in business are very, very persistent and disciplined. Thanks!

  2. David Bigelow says:

    Wisdom modifies the means of reaching an objective so you don’t burn yourself or your family out.

    Dr. James Dobson, creator of Focus on the Family radio program, quit his university job and made the radio show so he could be available as a speaker to millions without the rigor of a roadshow speaking schedule.

  3. Tom
    I assume the last line should read something like
    A lack of persistence is why there are so “few” successful individuals
    I have been reading your blog for a while.
    Enjoy QLD

  4. Promod George says:

    Why would someone sacrifice their health, relations for being a millionaire? I would rather maintain the four pillars – mental, emotional, physical and financial in balance and yet become a rich?

Speak Your Mind