Have you ever started a project and never finished? Have you ever tackled a challenge only to give up halfway through? Have you ever lost your enthusiasm or confidence midstream? Of course that happens to everyone. The Positive Power of Practicing Persistence provides a powerful jump-start to get us moving again when we get stalled. Readers will walk away with a potent vaccination of never-give-up kind of persistence to employ in every facet of their personal and professional lives.
The book opens with an inspiring account of the author's true life experience of leaving his homeland in India to migrate to a new country and culture. It is an inspiring diary of perseverance and determination to overcome all obstacles and barriers to achieve success in a challenging environment.
In The Positive Power of Practicing Persistence, the author has selected fifteen inspiring stories of remarkable individuals who refused to concede their dreams. While some are well-known, others are relatively unknown. Inventors and entertainers, presidents and prisoners, saints and prophets-all are showcased in the book to illustrate that persistence can be applied by any person, anywhere and in any set of circumstances. Personal stories of Thomas Edison, Mother Theresa, Walt Disney, Nelson Mandela, Roger Barrister, J. K. Rowling, and Mahatma Gandhi are included. A couple of lighter stories featuring The Tortoise and the Hare and The Little Engine That Could add another layer of assurance that persistence wins on all levels.
The final third of the book deals with the practical how-to-do-it methods to cultivate a greater resolve in our lives. These valuable how-to chapters engage readers in immediate action steps in how to persist in winning that dream job, getting the sale, achieving education goals, eliminating debt, and that all-elusive goal that plagues us all-how to persist in losing weight and getting fit!
Other how-to chapters feature the art of teaching persistence to your children. Sprinkled through each chapter are quotes to motivate and inspire readers in their struggle to persist. Each chapter concludes with a key summary statement.
The Positive Power of Practicing Persistence is a sure-fire way to reignite that fire within each of us to achieve everything we were designed to do.
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Read an Excerpt
The Positive Power of Practicing Persistence
By Hariharan Dharmarajan, Jerry D. Twentier
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2015 Hariharan Dharmarajan and Jerry D. Twentier
All rights reserved.
SECTION I: MY STORY
ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH PERSISTENCE
The author's personal story of overcoming obstacles
How Far to Istana?
"The obstacles of your past become the gateways that lead to new beginnings."
— Ralph Blum
North of the Singapore River runs the city's most famous boulevard — Orchard Road, the lifeblood and center of commerce for Singapore. Lined with shade trees reminiscent of the nutmeg orchards growing here two centuries past, Orchard Road winds its way to Istana, the vast palatial residence of the president of Singapore.
It is here that I stand gazing one warm day in the merry month of May, admiring the view. And what a view it is!
Grand and majestic, with sweeping panoramic views of land and sea, alternate glimpses of city and harbor peeking through the trees; one would be hard pressed to find a more distinguished portrait of grandeur. It is postcard perfect — complete with spraying fountains and graceful swans gliding across the mirrored lake, while crisp white-coated guards stand at stern attention, securing the gated entrance. Like a crown jewel, Istana sits with her graceful columns and deep verandas on a hill overlooking her stately manicured gardens and reflecting pools. It is a sight to behold every day of the year.
But today is no ordinary day. And I'm not just another casual passerby. Today is mine. Dressed to the nines, I own this day! I have come to Istana by invitation of the President of Singapore. Today is the red letter day on which the President and the Deputy Prime Minister are hosting deserving recipients from various ministries to offer recognition for exceptional achievements in public service. It is for my contribution in the public service industry as a college-level senior lecturer-mentor that I have been selected to join other celebrated recipients receiving the prestigious Public Service Star Award today.
Walking past the gated entrance and stately guards gives one the undeniable presence of royalty. The marbled corridors lined with lush carpets only lend further regal touches to this aura of elegance.
The magnitude of the occasion left me glowing for days as I relived that crowning moment of stepping forward to shake hands with Mr. Tony Tan, President of Singapore — an unforgettable moment!
The festivities continued a few days later, when we were ushered into the Suntec City Convention Hall Grand Ballroom, where the awards were to be conferred. Again, excitement and anticipation overwhelmed me. Witnessing the event unfold brought me to the brink of nervousness as the crowd rapidly swelled to an audience of thousands of well-wishers and the elite of Singapore's business community.
After endless preliminary remarks and other recognition given, I heard my name announced, the echo reverberating across the vast auditorium: "Hariharan Dharmarajan!" I was elated to receive the honor from Mr. Peter Ong, Head, Civil Service College.
As the event was winding to a close, the master of ceremonies introduced an element of surprise when she announced that twelve individuals would be awarded the Distinguished Service Star Award, a meritorious certificate signed by Mr. Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, who would award the certificates personally to the recipients. Little did I know that I would be one of a dozen recipients to receive this coveted award.
As my name was called once again, I was walking on air, approaching the red carpet in front of the stage. Here, the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Teo Chee Hean, stood waiting to offer his handshake and my certificate. The auditorium erupted in thunderous applause and cheers from fellow recipients. It was a crowning moment. I was overwhelmed. Cloud nine! It was difficult to process that this prestigious honor was actually being given to me.
The moment was surreal. Flashbulbs exploded, news reporters armed with TV cameras panned ever closer, and the roar of applause swept me past the state of euphoria. This was my moment — my "fifteen minutes of fame." It was time for "my close-up!"
Standing there, basking in the fleeting seconds of glory that I knew would soon evaporate, a haunting question pierced my conscience: How did I get here?
By some stroke of misfortune, had they selected the wrong recipient? Was this honor really mine? Did I truly fit the profile of an award-winning recipient — worthy of a presidential honor? How could it be that this twenty- something young man, transplanted so far away from family and his beloved India, could now be sharing this stage with a dozen overachievers who held résumés full of phenomenal accomplishments?
Like a panoramic movie of my life streaming past me, I reflected on my tenure in Singapore. I suddenly realized a defining truth: "No, this moment could not have happened by oversight or accident. It wasn't some stroke of good luck or fate that brought me here today."
At this climactic instant, I was recalling a young Indian man who had proven in countless times of duress and disappointment that determination always trumps adversity. Armed with the power of persistence, he had set foot on Singaporean shores one spring morning with little more than a suit of clothes and a steely resolve that nothing would deter him from his goal!
How far to Istana? For me, it had been a long and challenging passage — much farther than my morning stroll down Orchard Road. My journey had been riddled with setbacks, detours, and more than enough roadblocks to discourage the faint of heart.
Was the destination worth the perils of the journey? Without question! Armed with euphoric gratification of a goal achieved, I hunger for more. I'm in fervent pursuit of my next Istana!
How far? Which way to Istana? Only you can answer these questions for the path you choose. Fellow traveler, I welcome you! As you turn the pages of this book, I extend my personal invitation to join countless others who have experienced the trials and joys of traveling the Istana road.
Energized and inspired by fellow comrades chronicled on these pages, I am confident you will find your way.
"What a joy to be granted the opportunity to go abroad and embark on a new career!" I told myself at the age of twenty-seven. Armed with a fresh job offer in Singapore, I experienced both agony and ecstasy — the heartbreaking decision to leave my family and a promising banking career in India to start afresh in a country where I knew no one.
With the encouragement of my family members and colleagues, I took the bold step of accepting a job offer with a business firm in Singapore. I knew next to nothing about my actual job duties — only that it was a vastly different job description from my current duties.
My employment agent arranged all my travel. Soon the day came when my family went to the airport to see me off. Being a mama's boy only made it worse, as our parting was an emotional one. I avoided any semblance of a breakdown and focused on my mom's parting words before I stepped up to the immigration counter: "Son, do not look behind, keep going, and remember God is with you. A promising career awaits you, and you have my blessings."
After exchanging farewells with my family, I was haunted by doubts about my decision to forge ahead with my plans. Was this the right choice for me? I knew I couldn't turn back now. Onward and upward!
My flight was long and complex, making intermediate stops in Bangladesh and Thailand. The flight was delayed, both in Bangladesh for eight hours and in Thailand for four more hours. By the time I arrived in Singapore well past midnight, I was exhausted. Anxiety set in. I could feel my heart begin to flutter.
Acting on instructions from my employment agent, I was expecting a company representative to greet me at the airport and escort me to my hotel. Excitement mounted, and I flashed a big smile at the immigration officer as she firmly stamped my passport and greeted me with the standard "Welcome to Singapore." I was finally here! My new job! My new life was about to begin!
After collecting my baggage, I proceeded through the corridor. My eyes scanned the vast expanse of Changi airport for the noble soul who was to receive me. I spotted neither anyone flashing my name nor anyone approaching me. Patiently, I waited for more than an hour.
Once again, my heart sank. In a sea of a thousand faces, no one appeared to be searching for me. I was mystified. Would there be no one to fetch me from Changi? Frightening thoughts began to haunt my mind. Had I been cheated? Was this a legitimate company that had extended me a job offer? What was I to do now? Should I take the next flight back home? What would happen if I did? Would my family members understand? Would my friends and colleagues laugh at me? Panic-stricken, I began to pray for guidance.
I tried calling my employment agent in India, but to no avail. I quickly learned I would need a telephone card to make an international call. Thus, my first expenditure in Singapore was to buy an international calling card from the 7-Eleven convenience store. I placed a call to both my employment agent in India and my contact in Singapore. There was no response from either.
I sat on a couch and looked around. I felt tears coursing down my cheeks. Surely I had been fooled by my employment agent. But my strong will power, my determination, and my mom's parting words echoing in my ears gave me the fortitude I needed at that moment.
I told myself not to give up, to remain calm and continue to be persistent with my attempts to reach my contacts in India and Singapore. I closed my eyes and repeated my prayers. After endless hours of searching, waiting, and praying, I sensed that the night was fading. Streaks of sun rays illuminated the dark sky. Already I was twenty-four hours away from home and still not arriving at my final destination.
At half past nine in the morning, I noticed a tall Chinese lady rushing into the waiting area and interrogating the airport staff. Had they seen a young man from India who had arrived the previous evening? Fortunately, I was the only Indian national in the immediate area. She quickly started in my direction. Never had I been so happy to see a welcoming face as I was when Jane Ng called my name.
I had passed my first "test" on the first day of my new life. Other challenges would soon confront me — a different work setting, cultural barriers, and unique perspectives different from my own.
No challenge could deter me now. I was on my way to Istana!CHAPTER 2
SECTION II: THEIR STORY
WINNING THROUGH PERSISTENCE
A collection of inspiring champions who won through perseverance
He Lit the World with Persistence
"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."
— Thomas A. Edison
Do you listen to music? Enjoy movies? Turn on the light when it's dark? You can thank a man named Thomas Alva Edison, who converted persistence into a talking machine, a moving picture machine, and the incandescent bulb.
Edison's inventions are now more than a century old. Progress has replaced and updated many of his designs with new innovations and technologies. Edison's phonograph has been replaced by our iPod. His fluoroscope has been replaced by the MRI, an X-ray imaging device. The kinetograph, an early form of the movie camera, has now evolved into our handheld digital camcorder. Even Edison's incandescent light bulb has since been upgraded with new technologies.
Thomas Edison was a thinking machine! He was known to sit for hours contemplating new ways to make his inventions work. When most of us try to solve a problem, we manage to come up with two or three possible options. If those don't work, we're done! How tragic! Maybe the fourth idea would have worked, but we'll never know because we couldn't get past three! We're out of ideas.
Edison never hesitated with just three possible options — or four or five. Or even thousands! The human mind has the potential for generating endless ideas. In our persistent pursuits, we are tasked with making repeated attempts to develop those ideas. Nothing is ever perfect the first time. Flaws and errors are a normal part of the process. By exerting maximum effort, we generate more creative ideas and alternatives than we otherwise would. The thing to remember is that every successful person was successful because he or she was persistent, even relentless, in the pursuit of a goal. What if Thomas Edison had stopped after a few dozen attempts at creating the light bulb? We'd all be sitting in the dark!
The first inklings that come to mind in our thought process are often inferior in quality to the ideas and concepts that evolve as we continue to pursue creative thought. Much as water from the tap must run a bit before flowing pure and clear, our thoughts must flow freely before they become inspired. Our initial ideas are most often not our best ones. Why is this? One theory suggests that comfortable and safe responses linger closest to the edge of our consciousness, so they usually emerge first. Creative thinking thrives on that constant stream of ideas to dismiss the common, habitual ones and produce the rare, the imaginative, and the phenomenal! So keep on reaching for new ideas!
It is unclear how many times Thomas Edison failed in his attempts before he invented the best filament to use in his light bulb. His name is forever etched in history, not because he was the first but simply because he was the most persistent and determined. Edison was a master at handling failure and turning it to his advantage.
Advantage? Is there advantage in experiencing failure? Absolutely! That one quality crowned Edison a phenomenal success, unmatched by other inventors to the present day. Rather than being discouraged by repeated failed attempts, Edison was continually encouraged and energized! He knew his inventions would work. While conducting the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb in 1879, Edison predicted, "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."
How could he be so confident in the face of so many failed attempts? Edison developed a systematic method of testing each possible solution and eliminating the ones that didn't work. The more attempts he made that didn't work, the more excited he became, realizing he was closing in on a winning solution!
Edison holds the unbelievable record of 1,093 US patents because he learned how to fail systematically as a planned, deliberate part of his process. Thomas Edison kept replenishing and testing his ideas until he hit upon a solution that would light the world! While perfecting the incandescent light bulb, Edison tried and failed up to ten thousand times before he discovered the right combination of materials. Most people would have simply given up. The entire story of the light bulb is a tedious tale of repeated trial and failure. Yet, through it all, Edison was watching attentively and learning from each failed attempt. "I have not failed." Edison explained, "I've just found ten thousand ways that won't work."
Stashed away in Edison's laboratory is an amazing inventory of phonograph horns of all sizes and shapes — round, square, angular, long, and short. This vast assortment of trial-and-error projects illustrates Edison's persistent approach to creativity: to explore every angle design and option. When an experiment failed, Edison would always ask what the failure revealed and would enthusiastically record what he had learned.
Similarly, when you have an idea that doesn't prove successful on the first attempt, try to view your situation as Edison did. Congratulate yourself for discovering one more way that doesn't work. Gradually, you will fully understand the powerful truth of persistence: Success is a process, most often littered with countless imperfect attempts along the way. As strange as it may sound, there exists a routine among highly successful people to intentionally practice "investing in failure." Those who are most successful — including professional sports figures and entrepreneurs — do a few things differently that sets them apart from most of us.
Primarily, they are willing and eager to take risks and therefore expect to fail frequently. In addition, they embrace and employ their failures as a source of motivation and valuable feedback to make improvements in future attempts. Unfortunately, our culture has taught us that failures are damaging and destructive, resulting in humiliation and discouragement. Our fear of failure can paralyze us into inaction. If we can adopt the healthy mind-set that failures are actually building blocks rather than roadblocks, we'll be on track for eventual success!
Follow Edison's lead. When failures mount up, step back. Re-examine what you are doing. And practice patience with your persistence. Yes, there is a bit of Thomas Edison in you- — or you wouldn't be reading this book. You have your own "light" to contribute to benefit and enlighten others. Each of us feels a sense of personal mission to light up our world in one way or other.
Excerpted from The Positive Power of Practicing Persistence by Hariharan Dharmarajan, Jerry D. Twentier. Copyright © 2015 Hariharan Dharmarajan and Jerry D. Twentier. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
SECTION I: MY STORY: ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH PERSISTENCE,
The author's personal story of overcoming obstacles How Far to Istana?, 2,
SECTION II: THEIR STORY: WINNING THROUGH PERSISTENCE,
A collection of inspiring champions who won through perseverance,
He Lit the World with Persistence, 12,
Little Engine, BIG Ambition, 18,
The Prisoner Who Became President, 24,
Fast and Furious Meets Slow and Steady, 29,
Queen of the Streets of Calcutta (Kolkata), 34,
Failed, Failed, Failed ... and Then!, 39,
Harry Potter and the Gift of "No", 45,
Two Frogs in a Bucket of Trouble., 52,
It All Started with a Mouse., 57,
The Mother Who Touched the Heart of a King, 64,
I Will Fear No Evil, 71,
What Can We Achieve in Three Minutes and,
Fifty-Nine Seconds?, 76,
"Nana-Korobi, Ya-Oki", 86,
Sales Queen of the Floating Market, 93,
SECTION III: PERSISTENCE: HERE'S HOW,
A practical how-to-guide for employing persistence to achieve your goals,
How to Be Persistent Without Being Annoying, 100,
What to Do When You Hit "the Wall", 105,
Speaking the Language of Determination, 111,
How to Teach Persistence to Your Children, 118,
How to Persist in Making the Sale, 126,
How to Persist in Landing the Job, 134,
How to Persist in Getting Your Education, 141,
How to Persist in Achieving Financial Stability, 149,
How to Persist in Getting Fit, 158,
Eyes on the Prize: Designing a Life of Purpose On Purpose, 166,
How to Say "No" Once You Find Your "Yes", 174,
And the Next Chapter Is ... Yours!, 180,