There is a difference between giving up and starting over

“There is a difference between giving up and starting over.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by @felipepelaquim

Today’s quote made me immediately think of Thomas Edison.

When you consider all the inventions attributed to him—including the light bulb—it’s clear to see his consistent persistence in action.

How about you?

Where and how often do you begin again and again when things don’t work out on the first and future attempts?

To what degree have you developed the resilience and resolve to start over when your path forward is blocked?

Where and on what important matter did you give up entirely?

To what extent do you feel a sense of failure and regret for not staying the course or finding an alternative route toward your goal?


Two books to consider if the quote above resonates are…

The Dip by Seth Godin

The Power of Regret by Daniel Pink

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this—You haven’t.”

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this—You haven’t.”

—Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman

Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

A few months ago, we had technical difficulties with our television and our fire alarm system. The Darth Vader sound from the set and the beeping every 40 seconds were driving us crazy!

Turning off the set and wearing noise cancelling headphones didn’t make things better so I called upon U-Tube, a few friends, and an electrician for support.

To my delight, after many hours of Thomas Edison-ing, trying this, that, and other things, we embraced success with a considerable sense of pride and satisfaction.


Where would a bit of Thomas Edison’s persistence and tenacity help you in your current efforts?

What new possibilities have you yet to explore to realize the outcomes you desire?

“Don’t be afraid of shitty first drafts.”

“Don’t be afraid of shitty first drafts.”

—Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalog

Bird by Bird is considered by many the bible of writing guides. It has sold non-stop since it was published in the 1990s. Today’s quote is a poignant nugget of Anne Lamott’s wisdom, gleaned from her many years of trial and error to give voice to her calling to write well.

The subtitle, Instructions on Writing and Life, points to the iterative nature of both. Capturing one’s thoughts, emotions, and feelings in words and deeds can often be pretty messy, especially during the early stages.


Where are you afraid that your initial drafts on some worthy goal or project are pretty awful?

How can and will you continue to develop second, third, and perhaps many more drafts, to fully express yourself throughout the rest of your life?


“At some point the virtue of being persistent turns into the vice of denying reality.”

“At some point the virtue of being persistent turns into the vice of denying reality.”

—Chip Heath, Decisive

Image from Unsplash by Rosie Kerr

We have all been told that winners never quit and quitters never win.

To what degree do you actually live by these words in your personal and professional worlds?

I have embraced these words and think I must have an internal tattoo reminding me to never give up, and that persistence always pays.

How many books or stories have you read or heard throughout your life in which the underdog and hero within courageously stayed the course and triumphantly achieved their dreams?

Alternatively, how many stories have you heard in which this message has been swept under the carpet and hidden from view because of bad PR?


How and in what ways has your world changed?

What closed doors – some possibly locked forever – are you still trying to open with the key of persistence?

Where might you be denying a hard reality? Where might taking a new path be a virtue in which persistence would pay off once again?

Consider reading Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, to further explore when to quit and when to stick with some of your most important current and future decisions.

“All beginnings are difficult.”

“All beginnings are difficult.”

—Rabbinic maxim

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

Letting today’s quote really sink in can change your life.

Can you recall how many times, personally or professionally, you were reluctant to begin an activity or stopped your efforts too soon because your initial steps were awkward or challenging?

In such cases, we could consider the Biblical story of Job and his statement, “Man was born to toil.”

Going beyond any initial discomfort is fundamental to being productive and to the essential need for each of us to contribute and have a life of purpose.


Where and on what current matter would acknowledging that all beginnings are difficult provide you the needed courage, tenacity, and persistence to toil on to more fully realize your fullest potential and contribution to the world?

Friday Review: Persistence


What is your level of stick-to-it-ness? Here are a few posts about persistence you may have missed. Click the links to read the full messages.


“A jug fills drop by drop.”





“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”




“Elbow grease is the best polish.”






“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

—Josh Billings, pseudonym of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw

With the advent of email and texting, my use of regular or snail mail has declined by over 90%. How about you?

For selective or special mail such as birthday cards, I’m still an old-fashioned guy who sends cards with hand-written notes.

Despite my reduced use, I cannot recall stamps every falling off, and perhaps only a few times when my special message failed to arrive. The speed with which these message got there is another story.


What current project or top priority in your professional or personal life requires even greater focus and “stick-to-it-ness” for you to get to the result or outcome you desire?

Elbow Grease is the Best Polish

“Elbow grease is the best polish.”

—English Proverb

Image of "elbow Grease" tins

When I was a boy, Vaseline was always in our medicine cabinet. This magical goo is simply a brand of petroleum jelly used for cosmetic purposes like removing makeup or soothing dry skin.

We also found that a little dab of Vaseline could put quite a shine on our shoes, and provide a bit of waterproofing as a bonus!

For us Baby Boomers, the term “elbow grease” simply means hard work and doing what it takes to make something good even better.


Which current personal or professional project would shine a bit brighter with a bit more elbow grease from you or others?

Friday Review Persistence


How persistent are you in your pursuits? Here are a few persistence-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full message.

Image of a river full of rocks


“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”



Image of Sysiphus pusing a rock up a mountain


“Persistence prevails when all else fails.”




Image of sticker stating times in the future


“SOMEDAY is not a day of the week.”

unbeatable combination for success

“Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

Napoleon Hill, America’s foremost success/motivation author

Image from

Image from

I recently finished a chapter on Personal Mastery for a book titled Essential Wisdom: Personal Development and Soul Transformation, which will be published soon. As I researched my topic, I discovered how relevant Napoleon Hill’s statement is to virtually every journey of success.

When we combine these three qualities, they appear to have far more helpful impact than their additive effects. We say that 1+1+1=3, but perhaps 32 or 3 to the second power, might more accurately demonstrate their potential synergies.


Where would combining greater patience, persistence, and perspiration make the biggest difference in your personal and profession endeavors?