MOST of us recall the allegory of the turtle and the hare, how one was pitted against the other in a race, to the great amusement of the hare. With one bound the hare is away down the track, sailing joyfully over the rough places which the turtle must cover painfully, inch by inch. As he skims along he thinks to himself, “How easy this is! Poor dull turtle, he will never get anywhere.” After a while he slackens his pace. There’s no hurry. Let the turtle scramble along as fast as he can. He is so outdistanced, he cannot be seen. And so the hare decides to take a comfortable nap. He sleeps. He wakes yawning. It is later than he had thought. He looks back for the turtle. Nowhere in sight! He glances lazily ahead. What is that dark spot just at the finishing line. He leaps forward in a panic and comes up just in time to see the turtle reach the winning goal.
This story is an apt one. It reveals a secret of success. The race is not always to the swift. It is not always to the strong. The chaplet often adorns the brow of some obscure contender who persists to the end. As James says, “He that persists to the end, the same shall be
saved,” he who “holds on,” who “fights it out on this line, if it takes all summer.”23
Persistency begets reliability. The employer says, “Smith is a live-wire, and I would leave him in charge, but we do not know his sticking powers. Jones is slow, but you know how it is: he always sees things through to the finish. Better leave Jones on the job.”
Persistency builds up traditions about the personality. The very earnestness and fidelity of the man who has it inspires admiration and confidence. It is one of the assets of maturity because both associates and acquaintances have come to rely upon it. It is a part of character and therefore has a real commercial as well as personal value.
The quality of persistency has not been always sufficiently noted in the Jewish race, which is the financial race par excellence. The “stick-to-it-iveness” of the Hebrew is an object lesson to those who seek advancement in vocation or business.
23 Grant’s words at the siege of Vicksburg.
Every periodical of modern times carries the story of some American who has attained success and who owes his present elevation largely to this quality.
From the standpoint of mental science the idea of persistency is the idea of constant and repeated suggestion. The mental attitude is, “I can succeed. I am going to succeed. I shall eventually get what I am after. I may be delayed, but I shall arrive. It is true that I haven’t arrived but I’m on my way.”
We are told of a newsboy who was offering papers for sale and thrust one under the eyes of a capitalist who was alighting from his car. “Paper, sir?”
“Get out of my way, brat, get out. No!”
“Say, Mister,” said the lad, “you don’t need to act so big. The only difference between you ‘n’ me is, you are on yer second million ‘n’ I’m only on me first.”
Come on! You are on your first million at any rate. Success lies before you. Indeed, you are a success now if you are pressing forward cheerfully faithfully, and consistently toward the goal.