“To succeed in life in today’s world, you must have the will and tenacity to finish the job.”
– Chin Ning Chu
What a fascinating word! My personal definition would have to be “productive mischief”. There are a lot of overlapping and interweaving ideas that relate to a person’s ability to continue at a task to completion. In fact, there may be too many: gumption, resolve, determination, ambition, tenacity, drive… With a good thesaurus, I suspect we could go on for a while longer.
Given the time and ink we’ve committed to describing a compelled personality, one would have to conclude that this type of person is a subject of general interest. For better or worse, our Western world respects productivity and drive. While statistics would tell us more people choose to catch up on TV than put in an extra hour at work, there’s something most of us admire about a “go-getter”.
As I said, however, to me tenacity is a different sort of driven personality. Someone who is truly tenacious is unstoppable – almost frustratingly so. An ambitious person might say, “Well, I’ll just have to try again”; meanwhile, a tenacious person will see the same situation and say “Ha! I’ll get this yet, just watch!”. Tenacity implies a certain amount of optimism and positivity that simply refuses to be put out.
I feel tenacity also implies a certain level of charisma. For example, someone who is dedicated may be respectable or honorable, but someone who is tenacious is compelling. You would root for somebody with drive, but you’ll actively follow the status of someone with tenacity. There’s something attractive about that upbeat approach to handling failure.
The lesson, in my opinion, is to be tenacious. You will always find support if you continue to give your best effort, but a certain level of tenacity will keep you and those you support more inspired to continue forward. The difference really is a matter of perspective. The next time you experience a failure of any kind, view it as a challenge to be overcome. It may sound asinine, but this sort of positive outlook will improve your mood, relax your body, and give you your strongest chance at success.
Imagine you’ve just applied for a new job, but things aren’t going anywhere. Patiently, you sit by the phone for two weeks but never hear a word back. Did they fill it already? Did they not receive your application? Did they skip over you entirely without giving you a chance to prove yourself?! Instead of fuming in solitude, take the initiative to get an answer. Politely and professionally call and introduce yourself and tell them you’re following up after your application. In all likelihood, you’ll have an answer to your question shortly.
Now, however, time has gone on. You’ve had your interview and the promise they’ll “be in touch”… But nothing happens! A tenacious person won’t sit and worry and fret in silence – they’ll investigate (respectfully). Sometimes, the greatest difference between the person who is given an opportunity and the person who isn’t comes down to tenacity. Mischievous productivity. Just mind you don’t push too far and come off aggressive.
Thank you for your time.