Hirschhorn: Profiting from Persistence

Never underestimate the power of persistence. Throughout history, political, literary and sports figures have learned that lesson. In fact, Winston Churchill once said, "Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts."

As a Peak Performance Coach to the elite, I have discovered the formula for greatness is 10% talent and 90% persistence. What follows are a few reminders about just how important persistence really is:

  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
  • 23 publishers rejected Dr Seuss' first book
  • 15 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter manuscript
  • In 1905, a university rejected a young man's Ph.D. dissertation, describing it as "irrelevant and fanciful." That young man was Albert Einstein
  • A quarterback is told he's too small to play at Notre Dame so he plays college ball elsewhere. He goes on to be one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time. His name? Johnny Unitas.
  • A student's paper is ridiculed by a professor who claims the idea is "not feasible." That student's name was Fred Smith, founder of Fed Ex

Clearly, not everyone is destined to be the next Albert Einstein or Johnny Unitas, but with enough persistence, you can be on the path to achieving your own level of greatness in whatever you do.

Think better, invest smarter.


Doug Hirschhorn is the chief executive officer of Edge Consulting, a firm specializing in “Peak Performance Coaching.” He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in sport psychology, and has offices in New York and South Florida. His client list includes elite athletes as well as many of the largest banks, hedge funds and financial institutions in the world. Doug is presently at work on his new book, 8 Ways to Great (Putnam, 2010).

Have a question for Doug? You can reach him through his Web site, DrDoug.com

Disclaimer: Doug Hirschhorn's expertise is in the psychology of achieving peak performance. He is not a financial advisor and does not make trading or investment recommendations or provide trading or investment advice. He is an expert on the mental game. Although Doug Hirschhorn has a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in sport psychology, he is not a licensed psychologist and does not provide therapeutic, clinical or counseling services.