Friday, February 8, 2008

Persist

Over a beer with a friend this week, the subject of startups wearing blinders percolated. Some people never learn, she mused. They perpetually do the same thing and make the same mistakes. Failing fast and failing better is virtuous, I chirped, kicking myself for instinctively regurgitating the theme of a previous blog post. Yep, she agreed, at least they [startups] are persistent.

I gulped, relating like a bobble head to many personal and professional experiences, in addition to the previously cited, herein, characterization of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Persistence is, of course and to a degree, is good. Check the dictionary: A person who is persistent is one who continues to follow the same course of action, no matter what. A persistent person keeps trying and trying. A person or company’s ability to persistently emerge and adapt – versus repeating the same mistakes – is a barometer to success.

The happy hour conversation reminded me of a go-get-em encouragement from my dad many moons ago. I had hit a wall – where, when, why and how, I can't recall – and he shared a tattered, 3x6” chronology residing above his desk:

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Defeated when he ran for the Illinois House of Representatives in 1832.
Defeated for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1843.
Defeated for the Senate in 1855.
Defeated for Vice President in 1856.
Defeated for the Senate again in 1858.
Elected President of the United States in 1860.

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