There’s a great quote that says, “overnight success takes a long time”. While we often see the final result what we don’t always realize is that passion and perseverance have been the driving factor that brings those final results. When we adopt this burn the boats mentality where we no longer see retreat as an option, we become unstoppable in our relentless pursuit of achieving what it is we set out to do. Having this grit and resolve to do what others won’t in order to achieve what others will not is one of the most significant secrets to success that we can work on developing in our own lives. Read this column for some ideas and insights on staffing focused. Stay ready and you never have to get ready!
It’s no secret that I’m a big believer in the power of perseverance; I talk about it often on podcasts and write about it quite a bit as well. Growing up in the ’80s meant a steady supply of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica, which I credit as the start of my being a lifelong fan and follower of all things related to space exploration. That said, you can imagine my double delight this week with the news that NASA’s most technologically advanced rover successfully touched down on Mars, and its name happens to be…you know what’s coming… Perseverance.
When it comes to naming Mars rovers, NASA has a pretty cool tradition of holding a contest where anyone can submit their vote, and plenty of people do, resulting in entries coming in from all over the globe. In this case, the winning name comes from Alexander Mather, a 7th-grade student hailing from Virginia who beat out 772,237 other space enthusiasts for the honor of having his suggestion selected. As a bonus aspect of having the winning choice, Alexander and his family received an invitation to attend the Cape Canaveral launch and have a front-row seat to witness the historic event. How does Alexander feel about that? “There are no words in the human language that can accurately describe the feeling.”
Copy that, my man. Well said.
From NASA’s perspective, the name is particularly fitting. Preparation for the Perseverance Rover mission, ambitious to begin with, was made infinitely more challenging by Covid. Existing plans and protocols for testing, travel, and assembly all needed to be reimagined, and pulling it all together despite the challenges makes Perseverance the true embodiment of the spirit of its name. During the naming ceremony, NASA defined perseverance as “making progress despite obstacles,” which consistently needed to happen throughout the process leading up to launch. Here’s the tie-in to our own daily lives. While we may not be attempting a $3 billion mission to explore a different planet, using that power of perseverance towards our own goals and daily mindset can help deliver results that bring major personal progressions in virtually every area. This approach is the simple but not easy part; persevering and plowing ahead when the challenges and setbacks build-up is often the part where plans get downgraded to wishes. (As the saying goes: if it were easy, everyone would be doing it).
If we zoom in a little closer, another way to describe this mindset is grit. This term is perhaps best known by Dr. Angela Duckworth’s research and specialization on the topic and her description of “having pa