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The Power of Persistence and Determination


Guest articles > The Power of Persistence and Determination


by: John Boe


It’s been said that persistence and determination help create the character of a man, just as carbon is used to strengthen steel. In the mid 1970s, a man named Sylvester was determined to become a movie star, but couldn't find a talent agency that was willing to take him on as a client. Sylvester’s wife wanted him to give up on his farfetched dream and begged him to get a real job to put food on the table and pay the bills. Eventually he reached the point where he couldn’t even afford to feed his dog, Butkus, and was forced to sell him to a stranger for $25.

Shortly after selling his dog, Sylvester watched a boxing match on TV between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. For 15 punishing rounds, Wepner battled the champ and took the best Ali could dish out, but refused to give up the fight. Sylvester was so inspired by Wepner's display of persistence and determination to keep on fighting that he begin writing a movie script immediately after the fight was over. He worked on the script relentlessly for twenty straight hours until it was finished. Over the next few weeks, he enthusiastically tried to sell the script to movie producers, but no one wanted it because they felt that the plot was sappy and too predictable. After facing weeks of rejection, Sylvester finally found a movie producer who really liked his script and offered to buy it for $125,000.

Sylvester eagerly agreed to sell his script to the producer, but with only one condition... he had to play the starring role in the movie. The producer told him there was no way he would let an unknown actor star in the movie, so Sylvester turned the offer down and walked away. A week later, the producer called Sylvester back and doubled his offered to $250,000 for the script, but still refused to let him have the lead role. Sylvester stood his ground and turned him down. The producer then offered him a staggering sum of $325,000 not to star in his own movie! Again, Sylvester flatly refused to sell his script. Desperate to make the movie, the producer agreed to buy the script for only $35,000 and reluctantly let Sylvester have the starring role.

The first thing Sylvester did after he received the $35,000 was to try and get his dog back. He went to the liquor store where he had sold Butkus a few weeks earlier with the hope of finding the man and buying back his best friend. Sylvester waited outside the liquor store for three days, before he found the man and offered him $100 to buy Butkus back. The man said that he liked the dog a lot and would not sell him. After a good deal of negotiating, Sylvester finally made the man an offer he couldn't refuse by paying him $15,000 and giving him a small part in the movie. The name of the movie script that Sylvester wrote and starred in was Rocky! Rocky earned the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1976 and turned Sylvester Stallone into one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars.

The difference between success and failure has far more to do with a person’s persistence and determination to stay the course than it does with his or her natural talent or education. The obstacles that you encounter along the path of life should never be viewed as roadblocks or setbacks, but rather as golden opportunities to strengthen your character and refocus your resolve!

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” - Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President


John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit or call 877 725-3750. Free Newsletter available on website.

Contributor: John Boe

Published here on: 22-Sep-13

Classification: Sales


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