“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.
Richard St. John agrees (3:30). So does Ira Glass (1:54).
I’ve been reading many of your posts lately and am very grateful for them! They are providing a great perspective on life. Thank you so much for persevering with this endeavour and providing such a great resource for us all!
Thank you for this lovely post. I’ll be rereading it a few times.
Thank you so much for this post! You’ve encouraged me to take up my writing again. It doesn’t matter what I write about or how good said writing is, so much as that I write SOMETHING. It’s good for the soul.
Ali Davies says
Great point as this is often overlooked in a world that wants “fast, now and easy.” Consistency and perservance means doing what needs to be done even when we don’t feel like it.
Neal Samudre says
This is definitely what I needed to hear. Consistency with your message establishes your legitimacy as a thought-leader. I’m glad you stayed consistent with your message, Joshua!
Daisy @ Simplicity Relished says
Thanks for this Joshua. I think it can be really difficult for people to tell the difference between a trial and a failure. A trial means to work even harder at something, while a failure means maybe we should let go and walk away. Still, I love the reminder that trials are to be expected– and overcoming them can lead to great things!
I so needed to read this today. I have been following you for a couple of years now and still look forward to every new post. You are a blessing! Thank you:)
Stacy B says
This is this message I so needed today for many reasons…so many of us need to hear it often to run this race of life–thank you:)
Thanks for sharing the post.
I think perseverance is definitely the basic element for the success.
One should definitely go for a movie with the same topic
“The Shawshank Redemption”
Without even knowing it, encouragement to persevere was exactly what I needed! Thanks so much for persevering to bring this insight to others like me.
Christina @ Embracing Simple says
Well said! Perseverance can feel like an almost impossible mountain to climb some days, but when you keep at it, it will always lead to success. I’ll have to bookmark this for the days I feel like I’m failing and just want to give up!