STICKTOITY: What you need to know about the power of perseverance

STICKTOITY: What you need to know about the power of perseverance

“It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.” - Seneca

While doing a puzzle with my 6-year-old granddaughter, I encouraged her to "hang in there" and finish it. I said, "You need to have perseverance." She looked at me quizzically. There I go again. Using big words a 6-year-old cannot understand.

I thought a minute and then said, "What I mean is, you have to get some 'sticktoity'. She laughed at the silly new word, but she got the meaning right away.

Do You Have a “Capacity for Tenacity”?

It has been said, “What is now easy, once was hard.”

Heck, Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, wrote all about how many hours of focused practice it takes to master a skill.

10,000 Hours…

  • 1,250 eight-hour days
  •     40 hours per week for 250 weeks
  •   250 weeks = 4.8 years

… of doing nothing but working on developing a skill or area of knowledge.

From Thomas Edison to Michael Jordan to The Beatles and more, our culture is rife with examples of high achievers who dedicated immense hours of focused experimentation, practice, creativity and energy in pursuit of a desire.

How can you make this happen for you? STICKTOITY!

Perseverance, Tenacity and Stubbornness

Perseverance or sticktoity is the ability to remain steadfast in doing something despite difficulty or – and this is very important – delay in achieving success.

Tenacity is the quality or fact of being very determined. Think ant vs. bread crumb.

Stubbornness is the dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something.

So – what’s the big difference? It’s small, but it means everything if you want to succeed.

The first two, Perseverance and Tenacity are skills and attributes of people who will not give up on a desired goal because they believe in it. They are willing to do or try anything to make that shift in performance that leads from anticipation to expectancy. People with Perseverance and Tenacity can see their goal within reach and know that there are changes ahead if they want to reach it.

While Stubbornness is certainly aligned with the first two, it is distinct in that it is based on an unwillingness to embrace change as part of the strategy. Einstein said, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Change is not the evil under lord it is usually perceived to be. Change is good. But change doesn’t require a complete overhaul of the system or the process. To better embrace the idea of change, think of it as a transformation. Once you were that because you did that, and now you are this because you did this. Either way, you are still you, just slightly transformed. Transformation makes the dreamable achievable.

That’s why you need to have a Capacity for Tenacity.

A Capacity for Tenacity

All too often, I have seen people “bomb” on the stage and accept that as the final outcome of their ability. No matter how much they want it, they just give up. Some right out of the gate, some after a few tries, and some after years of practice.

What they need is an energy conversion system to help them stave off the effect entropy (the natural tendency of things to deteriorate) has on reaching their goal. Ambition often falls prey to entropy. It is not enough to want something, you have to figure out how to intensify your effort and commitment to overcome the debilitation of delay.

Sometimes the best of intentions, actions, and aspiration are derailed by shortfalls, missteps, and overestimations. These types of delays can have a decaying effect on the energy required to “hang in there”. To succeed in anything, you MUST – absolutely MUST – have an enormous Capacity for Tenacity.

This one ability, in fact let’s call it a skill (because it can be developed), is immeasurable to the achievement of a successful outcome for any endeavor – especially public speaking.

Whatever inspires you to achieve a goal will not be enough to sustain you to the end. Your desire must be continually rekindled by ever increasing amounts of positive energy, attitude and faith. No one can do this for you. It is the most solitary action one can undertake. You may not do it alone, but no matter how much someone loves you or believes in you, you cannot succeed at someone else’s passion. And correspondingly, they cannot succeed at yours.

So you’re probably thinking, what about teams? Don't they work to achieve each other’s goals?

Not really.

Teams that achieve high levels of success do so because they surrender individual identity to team identity. The team, as a single entity (composed of many units) contributes a large amount of positive energy, attitude and faith toward reaching their goal. While their fans may cheer for them, they can’t affect the outcome. Fans rarely, if ever, show up and cheer during practice. That’s what coaches are for.

To succeed you need three elements of STICKTOITY

  1. A clearly defined goal based on purpose and passion
  2. A reserve of persistent energy
  3. A set of unbreakable promises that are driven by unlimited tenacity.

Sticktoity is the power of perseverance times the energy of tenacity. The formula looks like this:


STICKTOITY = Success. And you will get success every time. You just have to be patient, not give up on yourself and work the process over time.

If this post has transformed your ideas about success or not, please share your comments below. I’m here to serve you, my reader, and your input is most appreciated.