“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” —Thomas A. Edison
A few months ago, a friend stumbled upon my Twitter account. We had known each other briefly in the past, but had since lost contact. He called me right away, “Wow, Joshua. I just noticed your Twitter account. How in the world did you get so many followers?” Flattering, I know.
Now, we both know Twitter followers are an incomplete and inconsistent measure of success. There are plenty of ways to game the system (heck, you can even buy 10,000 Twitter followers for less than $100 if you want). Besides, follower count always seems more impressive from the outside. Nevertheless, it is considered by some to be an important measure of influence… on with the story.
There is no short answer to success on social media (entire books have been written on the subject), I was more than happy to share some of my strategies.
But, my first response to his question was short and to the point.
“Consistency,” I said, “I credit most of my online success to consistency and perseverance. I’ve been writing about minimalism for a long time—over six years. And all my online pursuits have been tied to one simple message: Own less, live more.”
I think this is an important truth that is often overlooked. Consistency is a valuable tool for earning influence. It develops credibility. It provides opportunity to grow in expertise. And just like compounding interest, it builds upon itself.
But consistency was not a foregone conclusion in my life. In fact, early in my blogging career, I almost quit.
I blogged for almost one year and had seen some growth, but nothing too exciting. So I quit for an entire month (February, 2009). I returned with a short, simple blog post about donating old prom dresses. I remember hearing an interesting commercial on the radio that prompted the post. Christy left a simple comment. It went like this, “Come back Josh.”
It was short. It was simple. But it was encouraging enough for me to carry on with writing and blogging and simplicity.
Over the next several years, I gained more readers and followers. And my digital influence continued to grow. Why? Because I got better? Probably. But also because I became consistent to my message.
Consistency is an important element in success. And the only prerequisite for consistency is perseverance.
Perseverance can be hard. But, here’s the beautiful part: Perseverance is one secret of success available to each of us.
Regardless of our background, education, social status, or passion, we can all persevere.
We will never reach our fullest potential or purpose in life until we learn to push through the frustration, overcome the obstacles, and remain committed to our pursuit—no matter how difficult the circumstances.
Of course, the very nature of perseverance requires that we face trials. There is no perseverance without difficulty. This makes it a painful skill that many will shy away from. But these trials make perseverance one of the most rewarding personal traits we can ever develop.
People who succeed in their dreams learn the skill of perseverance. They are the ones who refuse to give in regardless of the score or the current obstacles they may be facing. And in the end, they achieve success—regardless of how you choose to define it.