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What’s Your Favorite “P” Word?4 Min Read

What’s your Favorite “P” Word?4 min read


You may have seen this famous quote at some point in your life:

“Nothing in the 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 alone is omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge

However, before I ever attribute a quote to anyone, I look it up on

It seems that not only did the quote not come from Calvin Coolidge in the 1920’s, it came from Reverend Theodore Thornton Munger and was first published in 1881.

And, more interestingly, the word Munger used was Purpose, not Persistence!

When we’re trying to get to the truth of something, it takes a little research and a dab of skepticism.

So, is persistence or purpose the golden key to success?

Well, clearly both are important, but it’s never as simple as that is it?

No, because, depending on your circumstances and situation, dozens of things, perhaps hundreds, can contribute to your success.

However, there seems to be something magic about “P words” when it comes to success. Here are eight of them that I pay a lot of attention to.

Purpose. This means know what you want, but perhaps more importantly, knowing what direction you are going in. This is the reason behind your life, your business, and what gets you up in the morning, excited to get stuff done and make a difference. “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

Preparation. Some of my biggest mistakes came from not preparing enough. I trusted myself to wing it and fell flat on my face. This was the painful lesson that taught me to prepare. “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser.

Practice. You might say preparation is doing the research, laying the groundwork for success. But practice is doing the reps. Practice is early mornings, late nights, and a fair amount of boredom. “If I don’t practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.” – Jascha Heifetz

Planning. What will you do, how will you do it, and when will you do it? Planning is the cousin of preparation and practice. Again, planning is boring and therefore avoided. But, as Dale Carnegie said, “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”

Performance. This means getting the job done. But it’s easy to go through the motions, never measuring what’s working and what’s not. Who wants to measure? It’s more fun to just take action, right? “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” – Vince Lombardi.

Persistence. If you look in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of me next to the word persistence. This means I keep on keeping on. What good are all the other Ps if you don’t have persistence? “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley

Patience. Not my greatest quality and one I’ve worked on for years. This means accepting what is, the way it is. But it doesn’t mean giving up your dreams and goals, it means knowing they tend to arrive in their own time. “A person who is a master of patience is a master of everything else.” – George Saville

Passion. When you combine passion and purpose you are unstoppable. And you’re also having a lot more fun in the process. Passion is discovered in the things you could do all day long without being paid. “Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” – Yo-Yo Ma

What is your favorite “P” Word? Which ones have you mastered? Which ones are a challenge? And which ones seem out of reach?

I think it’s valuable to Ponder (one more P Word!) the meaning and significance of these words in your life and business. I believe it’s worthwhile to understand how to master all of them.

One great resource is Look up a word and read all the quotes associated with it and let them permeate your consciousness.

Then, with purpose, preparation, practice, and planning, perform with persistence, patience, and passion!

Cheers, Robert


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