People who become leaders in their lives instead of going with the flow and accepting the scraps that life throws at them understand the power of persistence.
Earl Nightingale, American radio host and author says, “Sometimes it seems there’s a hidden guide somewhere whose duty it is to test men and women through all sorts of daunting experiences. Those who get up and keep trying after being knocked over happen. It’s a strange thing, but it works. And this hidden guide doesn’t allow anyone to enjoy great achievement without passing the test of persistence, it seems. And those who can’t take it just don’t pass the grade.” (From Earl Nightingale’s book “Transformational Living”)
Nightingale continues: “Those who can bear it are handsomely rewarded for their persistence. They receive compensation for whatever goal they are pursuing. And that’s not all, for they receive something infinitely more important than material compensation, though they do get it. But they do gain the knowledge that every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. There are exceptions to this rule. Some people know from experience the strength of persistence. Persistently applied, defeat has ultimately turned into victory.”
W. Clement Stone tells the story of Tom, “who was born without half a right foot and only a stump of his right arm. As a child, he wanted to play sports like the other kids. He had a burning desire to play football. Because of this desire, his parents had an artificial foot made for him. It was made of wood. He tried to make field goals from great distances. He became so skilled that he was hired by the New Orleans Saints.”
Nightingale says, “What would you say are the chances of a person playing professional football if they were born without half a right foot and a wasted arm?”
66,910 football fans could be heard screaming “as Tom Dempsey, with his crippled leg, kicked the longest field goal ever kicked in a professional football game, in the final two seconds of the game, to give the Saints a winning score of nineteen to seventeen over the Detroit Lions.”
Detroit coach Joseph Schmidt said, “We were miraculously beaten.”
The truth of the matter was that “they were overcome by perseverance.”
Tom Dempsey was persistent and willing to put in the hard work to reach his goal. He fell in love with the process of being the best kicker he could be. Even though he had different abilities than his teammates; he was determined, with a positive attitude, always looking forward!
How strong is your burning desire to reach your goal? If you created a 3-step process, what would it look like? What is your first step?
Saints owner Gayle Benson says, “Tom’s life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his single-minded determination not to let setbacks stop him from pursuing his dreams and aspirations. He exemplified the same fight and strength in recent years as he bravely battled illness, yet never wavered and maintained his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family.”
Tom Dempsey remained an inspiration to others until his death in 2020, and his legacy lives on.
We’ve all felt the pang of regret when we’ve given up on a difficult task, knowing we’ve somehow cheated our true potential. On the contrary, most of us have felt the joy of a hard-won victory when the future looked bleak.
Earl Nightingale, read “about the great Knute Rockne of Notre Dame who believed and applied the rewards of persistence”
“He had a blood clot in his leg, and his doctors told him that if that blood clot broke free, it could kill him if it landed in his heart, brain, or lungs. But the Notre Dame team was playing away from home that day, and he insisted they take him to the game on a stretcher. So, they took him to where the game was to be played. And they lowered him down to the locker room where their football players were getting ready for the game. He leaned on his elbows with an effort tremendous and said: “This team you are playing today, beat us last year.
“I want you to go out there and win.” Then he said: “The team that can’t be beaten, can’t be beaten.”
Rockne “then fell back on his stretcher, out of breath and in terrible pain, and the team went out and won the game, and they never lost another game while Knute Rockne was alive, because when they saw the kind of courage he could develop, how persistently he fought to win even though he was on his back, it made giants out of men.”
Nightingale: “And people who stand on the sidelines of life see the overwhelming number of those who fall in defeat, never to rise again. They see the few who take the pain of defeat as an impetus to greater effort. And these, thankfully, never learn to accept life’s reversal, but what we don’t see, what most of us never suspected existed, is the silent but irresistible power that comes to the rescue of those struggling with discouragement.”
“Now, if we talk about this power at all, we call it persistence and leave it at that. One thing we all know, if one does not possess persistence, one cannot achieve any notable success in any profession.”
To reach your goal or dream ask yourself these three questions:
1) Do you have a burning desire to achieve your goal or dream?
2) What is your step-by-step process to reach your goal or dream?
3) Are you willing to be persistent and get the job done like Tom Dempsey?