The Major Attributes of Leadership #14:

Persistence: The world of business and entrepreneurship … the world in which Princes and Princesses are forged … tests the resolve of Leaders by throwing up many roadblocks to success. Such obstacles range from twists of fate to outright opposition from competitors or those who feel jealous over our success. No one who accepts failure, from themselves or from others, can be a great leader. Any worthwhile endeavor will need to overcome many challenges before success and profitability are met.  Here are a few examples of persistence and the rewards it yields:

  • Thomas Edison is said to have failed in his attempts to invent the light bulb 1,000 times. When a reporter asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times he observed, “I did not fail 1,000 times, the light bulb was an invention that required 1,000 steps to succeed”.
  • Henry Ford failed 5 times before succeeding with the automobile assembly line.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He said, “I have failed many times, that is why I succeed”.

The fact that realizing success requires persistence is how the universe filters out those who deserve success from those who do not. Refusal to accept defeat is the evidence of “Belief” and the energy of belief (or faith) is an immutable force that yields tangible results.  It is a law of the universe no different than the law of gravity.  You can’t see it, but the evidence of its existence is incontrovertible.

One of the pieces of fatherly wisdom that I have shared with my daughter many times is the following quote which I coined:

“Nothing worth doing is easy, and nothing easy is worth doing”.

Great leaders do not accept failure as an option. Obstacles are perceived as opportunities, not ends. Persistence, hand in hand with flexibility and good humor, enable the creative and resourceful leader to draw the best out of his or her followers and inspire confidence in the inevitability of success and profitability for all involved.

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