Will power has been called persistence. It’s the knack of staying with something. The sustained effort necessary to induce absolute faith. Persistence is an essential factor in the procedure of transmuting the thoughts of what you’d like to have into their reality.
Now the basis of persistence is the power of will. Willpower and desire when properly combined as we’ve been shown down through the pages of history and are being shown on every side today. Will power and desire when properly combined to make an irresistible pair. Men who accumulate great fortunes, for example, are sometimes known as cold blooded, ruthless capitalists. But often they’re misunderstood.
What they have is willpower, which they mix with persistence and place back of their desires to ensure the attainment of their particular objectives.
Henry Ford was generally misunderstood, thought to be ruthless and cold blooded – and this misconception grew out of Ford’s habit of following through in all of his plans with persistence. For example, I know the story that is reported to be absolutely true – of when he wanted the the first V-8 engine and cast – the block for a V-8 engine cast. It had never been done before. As you know, he was the originator of the V-8 engine. But he couldn’t do it, but that’s what he wanted. So he called in his top engineers and told them that’s what he wanted. They said “That can’t be done. It’s never been done. It’s impossible.” And so on.
And he stopped their talking and said, “Go do it. That’s what I’m paying you for.” So they went and then three months after the most assiduous study and research, they came back and told him again, that his principal, whatever it involved (and I’m not a mechanic myself) – but whatever it was involved a process that was impossible. It couldn’t be done. It violated every known premise.
So he gave him a talking-to and he says, “Now I don’t want to hear from you again until you come back here with that V-8 block. Go cast it, go do it. I don’t care about any of these other things. Go do it anyway.” And they came back with it – and the V-8 engine was born.
It was his habit of persistence, regardless. And he didn’t let the thoughts of other people (even though he only had a little bit of education himself) – he wouldn’t let a bunch of university-graduated engineers tell him that the thing couldn’t be done. So they did it anyway.
The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune or you know that’s true and so do I, but a few carry on despite all opposition until they get their goal. And these few have been the Ford’s, the Carnegie’s, the Rockefeller’s, and the Edison’s and so on.
There may be no heroic connotation to the word persistence, but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel. And the building or whatever it is you really want for yourself and your family generally involves the application of willpower along with the other factors necessary.
Now, unless you happen to be one out of the two out of every hundred people who already have a definite goal at which you’re aiming, and a definite plan for its attainment – you ought to think about this. Because just about two people out of every hundred definitely know what it is they want to do.
Now the starting point of all achievement or all willpower, naturally, is desire for something. It would be worthless without it. Now, you should really keep this constantly in mind – and the importance is that to desire something very much is right and that’s human. To not desire anything very much is animal-like, sub-human. Weak desires bring weak results just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. And if you find yourself kind of short on persistence, this weakness may be remedied by building a stronger fire under your desires.
You know, it seems that the fortunes gravitate to men whose minds have been prepared to attract them. Just as surely as water gravitates to the ocean. And if you find that you’re a little weak in persistence, center your attention upon getting for yourself a definite purpose.
Spasmodic or occasional effort to apply the rules of persistence and willpower won’t help too much. To get results, you have to apply them all the time until they become a habit. And in no other way can you develop the necessary consciousness of achievement.
It seems that the poverty, by going over our past history, is attracted to the person whose mind is favorable to it, as the opposite of poverty is attracted to him whose mind has been deliberately prepared to attract it and through the same laws.
Poverty consciousness, which was so widespread during the depression, for example, will voluntarily seize the mind which is not occupied with achievement consciousness. And the poverty consciousness develops without conscious application of habits favorable to it.
So the opposite must be created. You do it artificially. You actually create something that you really want. Persistence. Willpower.
If you’ve ever experienced a nightmare, you will realize the value of persistence. You’re lying in bed half awake, maybe with a feeling that you’re about to smother. You’re unable to turn over or the move a muscle. But even so, you realize that you must begin to regain control over your muscles. Has that ever happened to you? Well, through persistent effort of willpower, you finally managed to move the fingers of one hand, by continuing to move your fingers, you extend your control to the muscles of one arm until you can lift it. Then you gain control of the other arm in the same manner. You’re finally gaining control over the muscles of one leg and then extend it to the other leg. And then with one supreme effort of will, you regain complete control over your muscular system and snap out of your nightmare. The trick has been turned step by step,
And many people today find that it’s necessary to snap out of their mental inertia through a similar procedure. Moving slowly at first and then increasing their speed until they gain complete control over their will. But be persistent, no matter how slowly you may at first have to move, because with persistence comes the thing you have your mind set on.
Now there’s no substitute for persistence. It can’t be supplanted by any other quality. Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. Because no matter how many times they suffer a defeat, they finally arrive up toward the top of the ladder.