The Power of Persistence and Staying the Course

When you start something new, like pursuing an online degree, the first steps are exciting. You can’t wait to learn new things that will open up new opportunities.

But earning your degree doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process that takes commitment and work. Trying to balance family, a job and classes simultaneously can be daunting. With grit, determination and the right program, however, you can reach your goal. The reward is worth it.

Sometimes along the journey you need a little encouragement, a little positive reinforcement to keep you moving forward to your degree dreams. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of technology, that encouragement is as close as your fingertips.

For your viewing pleasure — and as a pep talk to persist in your pursuit of an online degree from Grantham University — we offer the following four inspirational speakers and links to their Ted Talks. Let these be a soundtrack to inspire and push you forward your dreams.

Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit is an almost indefinable quality that often separates successful people from all the rest. Angela Lee Duckworth has spent her career studying what makes people successful, and she has determined that grit — having passion and perseverance for long-term goals — is more important than IQ or talent. According to Duckworth, people who believe that the ability to learn is not fixed and that failure is not a permanent condition (aka, people with a growth mindset) are the ones most likely to have grit.

So, if you’re struggling to succeed in your coursework or to finish out your degree, check out Duckworth’s Ted Talk and learn what it takes to create a growth mindset. Remind yourself that you can learn all that you need to know and that you can find the time you need to get your classwork done.

Bottom Line: Your dreams are important, and grit will help you achieve them.

Diana Nyad: Never, Ever Give Up

Diana Nyad is the first and only person ever to swim the 100-mile stretch between Cuba and the Florida Keys without stopping. Before her fifth and last attempt (at age 64), the experts warned her it couldn’t be done. Battling through hypothermia and hallucinations, she staggered onto that Florida beach with three things to say:

  • Never, ever give up!
  • You can chase your dream at any age.
  • She didn’t do it alone.

Whatever seems to be getting in your way — age, the doubts of others, you name it — you can persevere. Nyad made her first attempt at that 100-mile stretch of water when she was in her 20s and missed. But she was determined to achieve her goal. She didn’t let past failure determine her future. In her Ted Talk, Nyad makes the point that failing lays the foundation for future success.

Bottom Line: As you work toward your degree, keep the goal in sight … and never, ever give up!

Michelle Neujahr: The Power of Perseverance

Michelle Neujahr grew up in poverty in Minnesota. Attending an alternative high school, she was pregnant by age 16. Despite a childhood of listening to motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar every night before she went to bed, she began to listen to the voices in her head, the ones that told her she was a loser and would never amount to anything. She found a way to overcome. With the birth of her son and a scholarship to the local college, she earned a bachelor’s degree and worked her way out of poverty.

Neujahr was able to achieve her dreams by replacing the self-doubting soundtrack in her head with one that preached, “Do not give up!” She went from being a scared teenager in her first college class — one she left in embarrassment — to teaching students at a community college in Maine.

Even though your circumstances may not be ideal for obtaining a college degree, take heart from Neujahr’s story. As a teenage single mother living in the projects on welfare, conditions weren’t ideal for her to reach for her dreams either. But our shared stories have power.

Bottom Line: Be encouraged by her story of perseverance and be proud of your own. Do not give up.

Dennis E. Murphree: The Importance of Persistence

Dennis Murphree built a large real-estate company — but he found himself $497 million in debt. His business partner begged him to declare bankruptcy. That wasn’t his style. Murphree wanted to pay off the debt. It took six years, but he paid back every penny. He credits a close study of Winston Churchill’s life to help him learn about perseverance. His favorite Churchill quotes remind him that perseverance will get you through even the toughest experiences.

For those determined to achieve their dreams, Murphree offers these four tips with his story of perseverance:

  • Err toward optimism.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Live your own rhythm.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.

Bottom line: Don’t be defeated before you start. Persist and win.

Grantham University: Helping You Achieve Your Goals

At Grantham University, we understand the meaning, importance and power of grit, persistence and perseverance. Our students and graduates have their own stories to tell, of working though seemingly impossible situations to achieve their goals. We’re proud to help them overcome obstacles, achieve their academic dreams and share their stories with you.

We’re here to help you achieve your college degree dreams, too. Don’t compare your struggles with the success of others. Their life is not yours. The key to earning your degree is in pursuing it the way that best works for you. That’s why Grantham exists, to help you with 100% online degree programs, tutoring and career services that fit your schedule, at your pace.

Bottom Line: Get the help you need to persevere in school and in life at Grantham University.

About The Author

Shauna Lawrence is a project manager on Grantham University’s marketing team. As the university’s former social media strategist, Shauna has a passion for connecting with others and building a sense of community among all Grantham stakeholders. She holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and marketing from Kansas State University and is currently working on her MBA at Grantham University.