Monday, October 29, 2012

Global Leadership- The Importance of Persistence

Recently, I was I Vermont on a brief holiday admiring the autumn foliage.  Serendipitously, we passed through the tiny community of Plymouth Notch, Vermont. This small, farming community was the home town of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States.  He was president from August 1923 to March 1929.  We stopped and toured the grounds and small visitors center there.  His politics are unimportant to me but the idea that a man could have such humble beginnings...there couldn't have been more than four or five families in this small community....and become President of the United fascinating.  A quote on one of the walls gives a clue to his character:

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated failures.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."-  Calvin Coolidge

This quotation isn't new to me but I think it bears reinforcing.  Persistence.... the will to continue steadily in some state or course of action in spite of opposition or a very important leadership quality.  It's very closely related to the issue of "Practice" which I covered in my 4 August blog entry and "Mistake Making" which I covered on 8 May

Dr Angela Lee Duckworth has taken this idea a step further.  She takes the idea of persistence and combines it with sustained passion to arrive at a quality she calls "grit'.  The video at this link explains it in greater detail.  Although it's longish....18 mins plus...and three years old... it's worth the few minutes invested.  She even makes links between mistake making and practice.  She and others have done solid research that confirms what Coolidge knew intuitively over 80 years ago. 

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