A memorable story on persistence is an incident in the life of Thomas Edison. When a huge explosion erupted in West Orange, New Jersey on December 10, 1914, ten buildings in Thomas Edison’s plant, which made up half of the site, were engulfed in flames. Machinery worth millions and all the papers pertaining to his research were burnt to ashes. Later, at the scene of the blaze, Edison was quoted in the ‘New York Times’ as saying, ‘Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.’Closer home we have the example of M K Gandhi, who practised what he preached and persisted in working for India’s independence through non-violent means. Gandhi’s persistence in following non-violence, two observers say, is best epitomised by his march to Dandi to protest against the tax on salt. Even at more basic levels, Gandhi followed through on what he set out to do.Nobel Prize Winner, Kailash Satyarthi and his organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, despite many odds, has single-handedly brought to centre stage the debate on child rights in this country and so far freed over 90,000 children from servitude and managed to rehabilitate, re-integrate and educate them.Persistence is all about continuing to perform an action, or working for a goal or objective, even if we have failed in our attempts and are tired of trying.Martin Luther King Jr had said, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. Some days, the actions you take will be big. Other days, your best will be very little. But keep moving forward to persevere and succeed”.Often, people give up just a few steps away from success. Those who persevere are those who don’t give up when the going gets tough. Often, we have to take one step at a time. But keep persisting with the effort. Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, along with his co-author, Mark Victor Hansen approached over 130 different publishers, with their first book, with no success. Then their agent dropped them as well. They were determined; they did not give up. The book was finally picked up by a small publisher in Florida. After that the two authors never looked back. Today, there are over 250 Chicken Soup for the Soul books and over 500 million copies sold worldwide.I have been inspired by many people in my life. I learnt the importance of persistence through the many failures I experienced. Sheer determination has seen me through. I have a religious background and am inspired by spiritual biographies.By Janina Gomes
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