This is a tricky subject, as it pretty much goes against the popular opinion of “Success needs persistence“. There is another opposing opinion that is presented as “fail fast”, which essentially is about giving up fast if results are not encouraging.
This article is not about learning, mastering skills or even sport related activities. In all what was mentioned, persistence and perseverance would with no doubt lead to better results. However, this post is about entrepreneurship and business, where persistence + perseverance have an entirely different outcome.
Both are good popular opinions, however to understand really the difference, you need to understand the difference between foresight and hindsight.
Persistence & perseverance the roots of success is a Lie.
In hindsight, many successful businesses most likely needed persistence and perseverance. To have been successful you must have been persistent in you successful endeavour, must have had some challenges (as there always are), and was able to overcome them. You might also have been lucky, and been able to have a successful business with little challenges. Nevertheless, there are almost always challenges, and businesses need to overcome them to survive.
However you can not say that if successful business needed persistence to succeed, then persistence is the criteria for success. It is like saying if you continue climbing you will reach the highest mountain top on earth. This statement would only be true if you are climbing mount Everest. If you start climbing the mountain next-door, you will reach the top and realise that a key criteria was missing “aka location”.
In reality, persistence and perseverance is not the criteria to success. Millions of businesses and startups, hustle, persevere and persist, only to shut doors after few years … Being persistent, can be like being stubborn, a bad thing. Wasting your time and your money, on a project that is doomed to fail. And even though, in some cases there is “a change of luck” due to persistence, and the business end up succeeding, it is still a very tiny percentage. It is like telling your kid he can be an astronaut… in theory he can, in reality, we both know he won’t be.
No one is willing to tell you this truth. Except maybe in tech startups, where they came up with the saying The best way to fail, is to fail Fast. Decision making is an important factor in knowing when to cut your loses and pivot or even shut-down.
Some realities about life and persistence.
Here’s some wake up calls:
1- If you are stuck creating content. Thinking that one day your blog or YouTube channel will become big enough to make a living … Know that for every 1 content creator that succeeds there are 10 000 that don’t. Being 1 in 10 000, is already like winning a lottery ticket. Better go buy a lottery ticket, it is less time consuming.
2- If your competitor opens next door, and you lose a big percentage of your clients, unless you have a drastic change of business plan, then persistence will only lead you to bankruptcy.
3- It is all about the money and luck. If you have any or both, you have a chance to succeed. If not, you will need to be smart to catch a need you can fullfill. Thinking that you can simply offer product A or service B and persist and persevere till you can create a name for yourself and create a clientele, no longer fly in the day and age, where people order online and check businesses online.
4- Your time is your real indispensable asset. You choose to waste it on failed projects, will reduce the chance you get to find a successful project.