The Persistence Quotient: Never Leave Home Without It

Earlier this week, as I walked by (READ: walked SLOWLY by) this candy display case filled with countless eye-appealing treats and desserts, I was tempted (sorely tempted) to stop and give in to the siren call of indulging in an immediate sugar rush…because I’ve given in so many times before, I know how good a piece of chocolate can taste (feel.)

Instead, I decided to hold off, take a few photos instead and come back later after my head cleared. As I had already “indulged” enough for the day and knew better than to push it with more sugar loading (tempting though it was to give-in and give-up on my plans to eat healthy, I knew from experience that if I walked away now…that persistent urge to indulge would pass…and it did.)

As I forced myself to walk away…I started thinking about some statistics I read in a review book where the author tells American readers how our kids tend to give up sooner than children from Japan.

Here’s the excerpt from Mark Batterson —

The American children lasted, on average, 9.47 minutes (trying to solve a puzzle.) The Japanese children last 13.93 minutes. In other words, the Japanese children tried 47 percent longer. Is it any wonder that they score higher on math exams? Researchers concluded that the difference in math scores might have less to do with intelligence quotient and more to do with persistence quotient. The Japanese first graders simply tried harder.

Batterson concludes:

Success is a derivative of persistence.

This author then quoted from neurologist Daniel Levitin —

The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything. In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again…No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.

Interesting. Now apply that principle to every area of life and it’s clear that persistence can be the key that opens any (and every) door.

From small choices (like walking away from the chocolate counter) to big decisions (what to do with my life)…embracing a persistent (never giving up attitude) makes all the difference in outcomes.

In other words…keep at it until you master it.


I will admit that before checking out of the hotel, I did walk right by the candy display, I then stopped and I placed an order for one largish sized piece of chocolate that looked divine and I consumed within five minutes of stepping away from the counter.

A word to the wise — never leave me alone for very long with your chocolate.


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