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Successful expression.
Whatever success means individually, we desire to be successful. Still, we might not be the finest at what we like to do, or see too many obstacles on our way. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that anything can be achieved if you can nurture one single value: perseverance.

We wish we were smarter, prettier, younger, older, richer, or more talented because we assume those attributes are needed to succeed. But nothing is enough when you lack determination. You can be old or young, ugly or pretty, a genius or not, and you can still succeed. The single one quality successful people share in common is: persistence.

So you got it, right? The secret to success is perseverance. Seldom are we taught to be persistent as children, and rarely do we realize how powerful it can be. It took me several years to put two and two together, and now I regret all of the times that I gave up because I wasn’t good enough, it was too difficult, etc.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of examples of people who have thrived majorly due to their perseverance. Here I share with you some examples that strike me the most:

Receiving award for his acting role in Yo Tambien
1. Pablo Pineda (Spain)

If you haven’t heard of him let me break the news; Pablo Pineda is the first person with Down syndrome to have completed a university degree, and his degree is in teaching. Throughout his whole life he had to fight the stereotypes and discrimination of others who thought he wasn’t capable. He was aware of this from an early age, and specifically during high school, he had to work harder and be firmer than the so-called “normal” or “smarter” kids. It was enough of a challenge to be accepted at his high school with “normal” teenagers, but this didn’t stop him. He dealt with looks of wonder from cruel teenagers, and skeptical teachers didn’t want to give him a chance. He thought about giving up, and was constantly told that he could never learn. However, he chose to be persistent and was able to make friends, and even surprise his professors with his curiosity in the subjects, his questions, and his performance in class. He acknowledges that his life is indeed hard mainly because “I always have to demonstrate that I am capable.”[1] He is still fighting for his dreams, and even participated in the movie Yo Tambien (Me Too).

Nick Vujicic and his wife.
2. Nick Vujicic (Australia)

Nick is a man who was born without legs or arms. You can look him up, and watch some of his videos. He has shared that while growing up there was a point in which he just wanted to die. He questioned God repeatedly, and felt the weight of the world. But he chose not to give up on life, and decided to be persistent and learned to be independent. He not only graduated from Griffith University with a double major in accounting and finance (at 21 years old), but has become a great motivator to others. He has traveled the world sharing his message, and even his faith, and hasn’t given up yet. He is now married to a beautiful wife, and is an example of fortitude, faith, and persistence.

Pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton having fun.
3. Bethany Hamilton (United States)

If you haven’t watched the movie Soul Surfer I highly recommend it. It is based on the real story of pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton. She has been surfing since she can remember, and has always been extremely talented at it. However, even those with great talent can encounter unexpected situations. Before an important competition she was attacked by a tiger shark and she lost her arm while being only a teenager at the beginning of her career. Regardless of this horrendous experience, she taught herself to be independent and surf without her arm (and if you have tried surfing it really is harder than it looks). She never gave up, and has been competing professionally ever since. In the first competition after the attack she won fifth place, but by the second year she reached the number one spot. Her perseverance makes Bethany a great example and inspiration.

Shakira belly dancing.
4. Shakira (Colombia)

Whether you like her or not, Shakira has become an icon in the music industry. She participated in the Football (Soccer) World Cup in 2010 with her song Waka Waka, and has successfully toured the world several times promoting her music. But who would have guessed that she would become so famous? She was born in Colombia (my country), which is not the usual cradle for a world-famous singer, into a middle class family. She became interested in singing at a young age, but she was told that she sounded like a goat, and was rejected at the school choir. She and her family knocked at different doors and were told “NO” several times. When she was thirteen she had the opportunity to record her first album, which was rather a failure. However, she kept trying and never gave up. Now, the perseverance she has cultivated since very early in life is paying off, and she has positioned herself as a famous world-wide singer and pop sensation.

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
– Samuel Johnson –

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. ”
– Louis Pasteur –

“I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.”
– Albert Einstein  –

“Keep climbing. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving!” 
– Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. –

Whether you want to succeed professionally, or at improving yourself, at defeating an addiction, etc., you know the most important secret now!


[1] http://www.estimulaciontemprana.org/pablopineda.htm; the site is in Spanish but has a good interview, use Google translate if you are interesting in reading it, or do a search on Pablo for any English results.