What is the difference between determination and persistence?

Persistence for success | Determination success in business

Determination – firmness of purpose; resoluteness.

Persistence – firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

There is a difference here, yes? Subtle… and yet a difference.

Determination and Persistence: Both Are Required for Success

Determination is focus on the purpose. Persistence is the continuation of action around that purpose. Both are required for success. Determination brings the clarity of “I have decided,” while persistence describes the action necessary and then helps you carry it forward.

Here is an example for you:

I made the decision to go to college. I got to college but then encountered difficulty, much of it self-imposed! Had I not persisted (continued the action of) going to college by showing up for classes, studying, etc., the difficulties would have defeated me. Determination lost to inaction. Determination lost to lack of persistence.

Persisting With a New Course of Action Can Make All the Difference

Persistence | DeterminationMy persistence was untried and unproven. I did not know that by attempting to succeed at college that I actually would. My initial prescription of dedicating myself solely to my studies appeared to be reasonable and well-thought out. How many people, parents included, would argue with a
student who studies, studies, and studies?

But there was a problem: that prescription did not work for me. The more I studied, the worse I felt about myself. And for all that studying, my grades did not show marked improvement. Shifting gears and persisting with a different course of action made all the difference for me.

The Challenge Persistence Presents

We get snookered by the word persistence and assume that it means a dogged continuation on the same path even when we don’t get the results we want. Perhaps that is the definition of stubbornness! But how do we know when we are on the right path and simply need to continue?

How do you know when to adjust course and pursue a different action?

This is the challenge with persistence. I wish I could give you a quick, easy answer. What I will tell you is that you need to listen to YOU on this one. No one else will be able to make the “determination” of the correct course of action for you except you.

Make Your Decision, Then Let Persistence Carry You Forward

Somehow, in that lonely, isolating dorm room, I made the decision to change my course of action. The words I used to describe this are a clue: “lonely, isolating” are not words that make one feel good.

And that is what we all must tune into. When you do listen and make decisions from whatever you call it – your heart, your gut, your inner self – you will know it is right for you. Then persistence can carry you forward.

Where does persistence fit within the opportunities that you are currently pursuing? Grab the replay of our webinar “Lightning in a Bottle: Turn Unlikely Opportunities into Professional Triumph” and learn the clues to identify opportunities and the actions needed to take advantage of them!

Previous PostNext Post

Share this Post