By May 28, 2015

The Power Of Persistence

In this video, I talk about a skill that I think a lot of people can develop to help them succeed – persistence.


Full transcript:


John:               Hey, this is John Sonmez from So in this video I want to talk to you about something that I feel has been really important for me in my life personally to be able to achieve success and this is a skill that I think a lot of people could really develop that would help them succeed. Let me ask you a question. Actually, I’ll give you a scenario.

Let’s say that you wanted to meet someone who is somewhat famous in industry and get them to do some kind of favor for you, maybe to just chat with you for 30 minutes on Skype or something like that. How many times would you ask them having them either say no or they ignore you before you would give up? Think about this for a second.

Okay, so I would guess, just from talking to people and kind of my natural instinct would be to do that about 3 times and 3 would seem extreme. Well, it turns out—I read a lot of sales books and I read this one sales book, I can’t remember the name of it, but I’ve heard of this multiple times before. A salesman, they did some studies and they looked at different salespeople and they wanted to see how—what the most successful salespeople were doing that was making them more successful, 300% more successful or more than the average salesperson.

You want to know what the number 1 thing that they found was. It was that they would call on the same prospect more than 8 times. That was the number 1 factor. There was this line of 7 times where people had a very low success rate and someone who is willing to do it 8 times and they had an extremely high success rate.

I’ve sort of adopted this. If you’ve ever been on the end of me trying to get your attention, you’ve probably noticed that I will not stop until you either tell me to go away or you do what I want. I’m not saying to do this in a bad way, but this is the power of persistence and that’s really what I want to talk to you about today is the power of persistence.

Being persistent in a nice way, in a not rude way is an extremely powerful force that will get you very, very far in business and in life and a lot of people really lack this persistence. They’re going to give up after the first or second try. If you’ve ever seen the movie Fight Club or read the book, do you remember that scene where the recruit would stand on the porch and it’s raining and what’s his name? The main character comes in. I guess, is it Edward—Edward Norton’s character I guess is not the one, but anyway, Brad Pitt’s character comes up and he says to him, “You’re too fat” and then he walks in. The next day the guy is still standing there at the door and he says, “You’re too old” and he gives him some kind of—right? Then he throws his stuff on the street and the guy just stands there. He’s persistent. Then finally after I think like 7 days or something he lets him in.

That’s the power of persistence. That’s how persistent you should be if you want to be successful. I’ll give you another example here. I’ll bring up my book. If you’ve read the foreword for this book for Soft Skills or if you’ve heard my story, I got one of the most famous software developers in the world, Uncle Bob Martin to write the foreword for this book. I got him to do it with 3 days notice.

I won’t give the whole story here, but I’ll give you a short summary of it. Basically, my publisher had said, “You’ve got a week to ship this book and we’ve got to get the front matter.” I said, “Well, I don’t have a foreword.” They said, “Well, you’re going to have to ship without a foreword.” I said, “No, no, no, I’m going to try.” I actually got Uncle Bob Martin to write the foreword and another famous software developer Scott Hanselman.

The Bob Martin story is a little bit more interesting that’s why I tell it. Scott Hanselman is a great guy by the way, don’t mean to knock him. He also did the foreword in short notice, but it wasn’t as much of a—I think me and him are better friends so it was a little bit easier to convince him to do it. But with Bob Martin what I ended up doing is I ended up emailing him multiple times. I actually sent him—overnighted him from Harry & David’s a gift basket with pears in it and a note that said, “I understand that this is crazy that I’m a jerk for asking this, but if there’s any way that you could write the foreword for my book, by the way, it’s due by Monday.”

But he ended up eventually coming through for me because I was extremely persistent. What he ended up writing in the foreword was the story. His whole foreword was the story of how my persistence won the day and how he eventually did it because I was so persistent and because I was persistent in a polite way. I figured out what would convince him and what would help my cause to make it as easy as possible for him to do that and then he eventually did it.

I mean it’s not going to work all the time, right? Especially if you just have 3 days, but that’s an example, I mean I think most people would have expected that there was no way that I was going to get him to write a foreword for my book in 3 days. A lot of times in life you might think that that’s the case, but I’ve had a lot of interesting phone calls with multi-millionaires and billionaires who you wouldn’t expect would have given me the time of day.

But I’ve got in my email, I’ve got a little program, I was using Boomerang, but there’s other programs like this that allow you to make a message come back. So when I started to—automatically, if I’m ever going to reach out to someone, automatically when I send the email I boomerang it to come back in 1 or 2 weeks if they haven’t responded and then I send it again, and I send it again, and I send it again, different variations of the email asking the same thing.

Eventually, most of the time, I’m probably betting about 95% on this, most of the time someone will get back to me. Sometimes they’ll say, “I just don’t have the time.” That doesn’t mean that I give up actually. I say, “When do you have the time?” and I follow up 6 months later. You’d be surprised at—in life, if you’re persistent how many times that you will actually succeed in what you’re trying to do. It’s just that most people think persistence is trying 2 or 3 times. If that’s you then you need to rethink it. You need to rethink your persistence and figure out how can you be more persistent in the things that you want. You’re going to see the results.

Anyway, hopefully that’s helpful to you. If you do find it helpful, definitely share the video. I’m going to be persistent today, and I’m going to tell you, if you’re watching these videos and you haven’t subscribed, subscribe. I’m going to tell you every single time at the end of the video to subscribe to this channel. All right. Take care.


About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."