"Nine in 10, at least once or twice in a lifetime, come to the place where they appear to be totally defeated! All is lost! — apparently, that is. They give up and quit, when just a little more determined hanging on, just a little more faith and perseverance — just a little more stick-to-itiveness would have turned apparent certain failure into glorious success." In his booklet, The Seven Laws Of Success, Youth 84 Editor-in-Chief Herbert W. Armstrong explains that perseverance never quitting or giving up — is the sixth key to success. As previous installments in this series have shown, there are seven definite laws that one must follow to achieve true and lasting success. The laws we have studied thus far are: setting goals, education, good health, drive and resourcefulness. Before beginning this study on the important sixth law of success and how to apply it in your life, be sure to get your Bible, a pen or pencil and some paper. Reading and writing out the Bible verses that answer the questions will help you remember the important principles you'll be learning. 1. Should we strive for excellence in all that we attempt to accomplish? Ecclesiastes 9:10, Colossians 3:23. Will doing this lead to a successful and productive life? Proverbs 10:4, 13:4, 12:24, 22:29. To excel in anything — whether sports, art, music, science, a foreign language or even a hobby — takes time, patience, much effort and lots of practice. Many people do not realize this. They have good intentions and resolve to go all out when first starting. But when they meet with unexpected problems, or the progress isn't as rapid as they hoped for, they become discouraged and quit. To achieve your goals, you must have perseverance — the desire to stay with a job until it is finished! In athletics, it is enduring to the finish in the 2-mile run as your lungs are burning and heaving for air. On the piano, it is continuing the hours and hours of practice required to master a difficult piece of music with all its precise demands. In art, it is taking the time required to become proficient enough with oils, pastels or watercolors to produce a beautiful painting. Whatever your goal, both drive and a persevering attitude are necessary for successful achievement. 2. Many allow themselves to become discouraged when difficulties arise because of their own shortcomings or unforeseen circumstances. But did Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, advise us to bounce back and keep going? Proverbs 24:16. A young man who kept going in spite of obstacles was Eddie Arcaro. He was determined to become the best jockey to ever ride a horse. Mr. Arcaro lost his first race. Then he lost his second race. In all, he lost 250 consecutive races before winning. In spite of this incredible string of losses, his determination saw him through and he became the leading jockey of his day! 3. If discouragement, pain or failure makes you want to quit, consider the biblical example of Joseph. Read and summarize the major events in
Handcrafting a model ship is a long and intricate project that requires stick-to-itiveness!
his life as recorded in chapters 37, 39-41 of Genesis. Did he exemplify the opposite of the trait described in Proverbs 24:10? Life went fairly smoothly for Joseph until age 17 when he was sold as a slave in Egypt. Later I just as things were brightening up for Joseph, Potiphar's wife made a play for him. But he refused her advances and he ended up being thrown in the dungeon! But Joseph patiently endured, trusting in God to deliver him. God worked things out beautifully for Joseph in the long run, and accomplished His will through him. He was made ruler of Egypt, directly under the pharaoh. Would you, like Joseph, have patiently endured all the affliction, discouragement and suffering without giving up or losing faith? 4. It is extremely important to follow through and finish whatever you start. Did Jesus Christ set an example in this regard? John 17:4. And did the apostle Paul persevere and finish the job God gave him to do, despite many difficulties? II Corinthians 1:8-10, 11:24-28, II Timothy 4:7. Do your best to follow through and finish what you start. Don't let the immensity, or difficulty, of any goal or project overwhelm and discourage you. If necessary, break the project down into smaller parts and concentrate on one part at a time. Doing things one step at a time, setting many small goals
More than 1,000 hours of careful craftsmanship went into this 3-foot high sailing ship — an example of persistence. (Builder and photographer — Warren Watson)
along the way to attaining a major goal, will help you to persist and achieve your goals. Take for example the museum-quality sailing ship model illustrating this article. Built from scratch, it took more than 1,000 hours to cut and hand tool each piece and then to assemble them. Rather than try to tackle the enormous project all at once, the builder set for himself a series of little projects or goals to accomplish each time he worked on the ship. Tying 100 knots in the rigging or tooling 10 brass gun barrels was the goal for one evening. By setting small goals like these, the builder could see progress, which helped him to successfully complete this magnificent project! 5. Is applying the principle found in Proverbs 16:32 necessary for those who intend to persevere? Every lastingly successful person has learned to guide, direct and master his thoughts and emotions. He has learned to say no to himself, especially when tempted to give up and quit. A major key to persevering — not quitting or giving up — is intensity of desire. Be enthusiastic about the goals you have set for yourself and visualize what it will be like when you have achieved them. Keep your eyes on the goal. It takes discipline to avoid being distracted by other activities and to stick with a project and complete it! A danger mentioned in a previous study is not setting realistic goals. Some of your ambition s might be premature, financially unwise or beyond your ability to achieve. You need to be reasonably sure that you can attain the goals you've set for yourself. It's important to realize that some ideas won't work. But don't discard a worthwhile idea as too difficult until you've given it serious, resourceful thought. It's all right to revise goals, but it should be done after serious examination from all sides. 6. What encouraging admonition is given in Galatians 6:7-9 about attaining the most important goal in life? (Notice especially verse 9.) Also notice Matthew 24:13. Many of you are striving to build righteous character by keeping God's commandments to the best of your ability because you want to attain the No. 1 goal in life — sonship in the Family of God. Hang in there and continue to do your best, even when tempted to compromise and give in. God has promised to help you achieve the awesome purpose for your life! As British statesman Winston Churchill once said: "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." Don't allow difficulties, setbacks or other obstacles to cause you to give up and quit. Persevere through thick and thin. You'll be so glad you did!