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Persistence principle


Principles > Persistence principle

Principle | How it works | So what?


Those who give up, lose. Those who persist, win.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

How it works

Dog and bone

Like a dog worrying at a bone, a person who shows a single-minded focus can be a fearsome opponent. Just seeing your dogged determination can be enough to make others give up.


Argument can be a war of attrition. Both sides have fixed views, but one side is just more determined and will keep on going until they drop (and then get up and start again). If it is a case of 'last man (or woman) standing' then the truly persistent will wear all others down.


Passion for your subject is important. If the other side realizes that you care so much about your view, they may also realize that you are not going to give in easily. They might also wonder if you have got a point somewhere and so weaken.


Patience is a virtue that the persistent person learns. They may not expend much energy at one time, conserving their batteries for the long-term. Like a dripping tap, they just quietly keep going.


Persistence does not necessarily mean repeating yourself. Trying lots of different approaches can win through. If the front door is barred, go around the back. If the way is blocked, get a ladder. Just keep at it from every conceivable angle. This is how hackers find the 'back door' into computers.


 The wise persistent person learns at each attempt and uses that learning not only to vary their approach but also vary it intelligently. If one method does not work, it may only need a slight change to make it work next time.

So what?

Repeating yourself can be a bit of a sledgehammer, but it can also be a dripping tap that wears away the stone. If all else fails and your goal is important, try something else and just never give up.

See also

Surprise principle, Repetition principle


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