Schiavone and Kuznetsova (Keys to Success: Preparation and Perseverance)

Whether or not you are consciously aware of it, there is a very common misconception among many people: if you can discover that one elusive secret to success and take advantage of it, you will be rewarded with unfathomable riches and incredible success.

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t quite work that way. There isn’t just one secret to success. There isn’t even a secret formula. There are, however, some common factors.

It Doesn’t Start with Perseverance

A great example comes from the world of professional sports. You see guys like Michael Jordan persevere through adversity to emerge as champions. More recently, I caught one of the best women’s tennis matches in recent memory over the weekend. Francesca Schiavone triumphed over Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Australian Open, winning the third and deciding set by a score of 16-14. That’s not a tie-break. It was a set comprised of 30 games.

Indeed, it turned out to be the longest women’s tennis match at a major. They fought it out for four hours and forty-four minutes. Schiavone fought off no fewer than six match points, never giving up. It no longer became a matter of skill or talent; it was a matter of persistence. She persevered, despite immense physical pain and fatigue. Fortune favors the bold, and Schiavone won when she took some bold chances.

Perseverance is absolutely a critical key to success, whether it be in sports, work, or any other endeavor. In the face of incredible adversity and seemingly insurmountable odds, you just don’t give up. Yes, it could be seen as stubbornness, but sometimes it takes that.

But perseverance on its own is not enough.

Don’t Forget About Preparation

Oftentimes, what you don’t see are the things that happen behind the scenes. You don’t see the years of physical training. You don’t see the countless early morning practices. You don’t see the studying of previous matches, the working through of your own weaknesses, and the spotting of your opponent’s shortcomings.

It’s one thing to have a dream. It’s one thing to have hope. It’s another thing altogether to plan and act on those hopes and dreams. Whatever your ultimate goal may be, you need to suitably prepare yourself for the challenges that lay before you. Have you done your homework? Have you gotten yourself ready for unforeseen hardships?

In order to success, you need not only be persistent. You must also put in the hours before the big game.