The greatest quote in business and an important lesson in persistence, is from the book: The Art of War by [Sun Tzu]
Who said: “You need to be like water”.
Water is just indestructible, impenetrable and relentless. You can freeze it, it turns to ice, and it melts and becomes water again. You can burn it, it turns into steam, goes into a cloud and then it rains down again and becomes water again. If it comes up against an obstacle, it just goes around it, you can’t kill water.
It’s the ultimate metaphor for persistence.
The ultimate tool an entrepreneur can possess is persistence. Never ever give up – you can (or sometimes must) change, pivot, iterate, but you should never ever give up.
I was at a conference once where the speaker was Donald Trump, the billionaire who holds the Guinness world record for the greatest business comeback in history, was telling a great story about never giving up. When he told it, it was a bit of a funny joke, but I found it inspirational.
He said: (Donald Trump) “My father used to tell me a joke, about 7UP; He said a friend of his loved bottled water and soda, so he founded a company called 2up, and the company when bankrupt. He did another one, 3up; it failed, and another one 4up; it failed. Finally, He said to his wife, “I am going to do this one more, I’m not giving up.” Well, he did 5up, and it failed. Then he said to his wife, “..even though I told you, that it was the last time, I am going to do one more”, and it was 6up and it failed and he went bankrupt, and that was the end of him and nobody ever heard of him again, and if only he had of done this one more time again, he would have had 7UP.”
That’s a great story, and very inspirational and gets the point across. Now you can’t just keep hitting a brick wall, you have to find a way around it, under it, over it. You’ve got to maintain flexibility.
Persistence needs to be partnered with a direction.
So the point is, you need to have persistence, but, more importantly, persistence without direction is losing combination. We all know what the definition of stupidly is: “Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.”
Persistence needs to be partnered with a direction. Knowing the direction you are taking means, you can be like water. Water knows where it’s going, (that is downhill). But it has the flexibility to go around things but still stay on track.
So whenever I come up against an obstacle, you know you may even hear me say”Today, I’m just being like water.” My email’s getting blocked, my site has been hacked, my Pay Pal is down or whatever. If things happen, get over it and move on. Decide that you’re prepared to pay, pay the price and push through.
Don’t lose momentum. Never ever give up.