Tenacity is a precious trait. Success doesn’t come easily to most of us. A few people are in the right place at the right time. For the rest of us, we have to work hard for what we achieve. Often, that requires soldiering on after failure.
If you’ve never seen the Tom Cruise film, The Last Samurai, do yourself a favor and watch it. There’s a scene in that movie I refer to quite often. In this scene, the character played by Tom Cruise is sparring with an accomplished samurai using wooden swords. Tom Cruise goes into the scene arrogant and overconfident in his own unhoned ability to use a sword, but the samurai continually puts Tom Cruise on the ground. Yet, every time he’s knocked down, Tom Cruise gets back up, dusts himself off, and goes after the samurai once again. It continues until Tom Cruise passes out from exhaustion.
The samurai is impressed by Tom Cruise and his tenacity. Impressed by his unwillingness to give up, the samurai decides to train Tom Cruise, and by the end of the film, they become equals.
I love the wooden sword scene because it’s the perfect illustration of tenacity. It’s that one trait we all need, whether it be in learning algebra, writing a novel, or building a business. If every entrepreneur gave up after the first setback, there wouldn’t be many businesses around.
Those with tenacity not only never quit, they learn from their mistakes. There would be no point in trying again only to use the same approach as the one that yielded failure. Tenacity is what allows us to get up, dust ourselves off, and go after that samurai one more time, even if we know we’ll get knocked to the ground again. One day, we will become like the samurai, because tenacity is a precious trait.