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Hook, Line and Sinker

By Tony Hooker
“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?

Provin’ nature’s laws wrong it learned how to walk without havin’ feet

Funny it seems but, by keepin’ its dreams

It, learned to breathe fresh air” -Tupac Shakur

Just as Tupac wrote, persistence is the key.  Persistence is what separates those who do well from those who just do.

In next week’s journal, you’ll get to know a young man who personifies this line of thought, going from a below average golfer as a freshman to a consistent spot on leaderboards as a senior, through hours of hard work, practice and being coached.  A well-timed growth spurt certainly didn’t hurt matters.  

Sylvester Stallone was rejected at over 600 casting calls as a young actor and had his first eight screenplays rejected, only gaining fame when, inspired by Muhammed Ali’s bout with 30:1 underdog Chuck Wepner, he began to write what came to be Rocky.

Persistence is why some people can lose weight and others, like me, can’t.  I’ll do everything right for a day, a week, a month, and then something will happen, and my efforts come crashing down.  I was so close to achieving my walking goals this summer, only to let up as we headed down the home stretch.  I honestly believe I was feeling too good and decided to “treat” myself by letting up.  That, friends, is a surefire way to get off track in a hurry!

Have you ever heard of Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield?  Apparently neither had the first 140 publishers they tried to sell their book to. It was so bad that their agent told them that “I can’t sell this book, I’m giving it back to you guys,” according to the website biblemoneymatters.com.  Of course, publisher number 141 is probably very happy that they gave Hansen and Canfield’s creation “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” a try, since it’s now sold over 100 million copies.  

I’m determined to try again, which I suppose is persistence of a sort.  I may not be persistent in continuing my efforts, but I’m persistent in starting again and again.  

I know a former VGH football player who didn’t see much playing time for his first three years and decided to do something about it.  Through incredibly persistent efforts, he even left his house on Thanksgiving, of all days, to go to the gym, he transformed his body and was able to play well enough to be named first team all-conference his senior year. 

Harlan Sanders traveled all over the south, cooking for restaurants and trying to get them to buy his recipes.  The poor guy was rejected 1009 times, according to Anthony Robbins in his book “Unlimited Power”, but lucky for him and the owner of the business, he didn’t give up and went into restaurant number 1010.  Finally, someone said yes to his amazing secret recipe, consisting of 11 herbs and spices, helping Harlan begin an amazing chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.  The company that “the Colonel” started from the seat of his car now has more than 23,000 stores in 140 countries.  

I’ll close with the words of Calvin Coolidge.  I think they ring as true today as they did when he uttered them in the beginning of the last century.

“Nothing in this 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.”  Press on, everyone.

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