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Published on October 25th, 2013 | by Nathaniel


You Need to Persist: 4 Famous Examples of Persistence


Have you ever asked yourself, “Why me?” “Why am I going through _______?” Have you ever said, “God, I can’t handle _________.” “I’m the only one who has to ______.”  

I’ve been there too and here’s the revelation… You ready? Not only can you handle it, but you were meant to (Romans 8:35-39). In our social-media-driven world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing the façade of someone else’s success-story to your perceived failing narrative. But your story is yours- uniquely designed for your purpose. It’s constantly being shaped by your fight, your desire to not just endure, but patiently endure with a humble attitude.

There’s something about the human experience that fundamentally says your life will be the summation of valleys of pain and peaks of success. And sometimes it’s so easy to wrap a synthetic form of happiness around the end results of success, rather than the process of overcoming and the process of getting there. While God cares about every single detail of our lives, His priority is the development of our character, not the number on our bank statement, the executive promotion, or the dream wedding. He cares more about the journey of persistence that fortifies our inner being than whatever outward measure of glory we think we deserve/need (James 1 2-4).

As you continue to persist this week and throughout the rest of this year, you can find comfort in knowing that it’s been done before. Maybe not in the exact same way, but God saw other people through a season of overcoming. And because He’s not a respecter of persons, He’s going to do the same for you if you continue to hold your head high, patiently endure, and persist (Acts 10:34).

4 Famous Examples of Persistence:


Bethany Hamilton- At the age of 13, Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer from Hawaii, lost her entire left arm and almost her life after being attacked by a shark. But she didn’t let that stop her from her dream. Two years later, she went on to win the Women’s Division NSSA National Championship. Her story of persistence inspired the movie Soul Surfer, starring Anna Sophia Robb, Helen Hunt, and Dennis Quaid.


Oprah Winfrey- Everyone knows that she’s a multi-billionaire, one of the most influential women in the world, and inspirational figure with her own TV network but few people know the details of her persistence journey. Raped at age 9 and sexually assaulted from the age of 10-14, Oprah became pregnant and miscarried at 14. She had to make the choice to leave the past in the past and persist toward her dreams and in doing so, she became the Oprah.


J.K. Rowling- The famous Harry Potter author became a single-mother after enduring a failed marriage and also losing her mother. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and reportedly contemplated suicide. Before finishing the first book of the Harry Potter series, she was barely surviving on welfare. After she finished the book, she submitted to twelve different publishing houses but was rejected by all of them. It wasn’t until a year later when a small London-based publishing company gave her a chance that she became the author we’ve come to revere.


Sidney Poitier- Born to parents of Bahamian descent in Miami, Poitier moved back to the Bahamas and dropped out of school at the age of 12 to help his parents financially. Believing his prospects would be better in the States, he came back and joined the army for sustenance. He later faked an illness to get out of the army and auditioned for Harlem’s American Negro Theater, but was ridiculed for his Caribbean accent and poor reading skills. Poitier persisted and spent time working on his accent. He went back to the A.N.T and offered to work as an unpaid janitor in exchange for classes. He later went on to break barriers for black actors and win an Academy Award.

“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” –Napoleon Hill


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