Quotations about   perseverance

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Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Speech, Plymouth (22 Dec 1802)

Sometimes given as "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."
Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Nov-16
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To persevere in one’s duty and be silent is the best answer to calumny.

George Washington (1732-1799) American military leader, Founding Father, US President (1789-1797)
Letter to William Livingston (7 Dec 1779)
Added on 11-Jul-16 | Last updated 11-Jul-16
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If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (b. 1946) American politician, US President (1993-2001)
Speech to students during the 1992 US Presidential campaign
Added on 2-Jun-16 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
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Perseverance must have some practical end, or it does not avail the man possessing it. A person without a practical end in view becomes a crank or an idiot. Such persons fill our asylums.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) Scottish-American scientist, inventor, engineer
Interview, in Orison Swett Marden, How They Succeeded, ch. 2 (1901)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Apr-16 | Last updated 7-Apr-16
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Another discovery which came out of my investigation was the fact that when a man gives his order to produce a definite result and stands by that order it seems to have the effect of giving him what might be termed a second sight which enables him to see right through ordinary problems. What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) Scottish-American scientist, inventor, engineer
(Attributed)
Added on 15-Feb-16 | Last updated 15-Feb-16
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When I was younger, I thought I could change this world. Now I no longer think so but for emotional reasons I must keep on fighting a holding action.

Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
Friday [Dr. Baldwin] (1982)
Added on 24-Nov-15 | Last updated 24-Nov-15
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An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 2-Oct-15 | Last updated 2-Oct-15
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Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.

Newt Gingrich (b. 1943) American politician [Newton Leroy Gingrich]
Renewing American Civilization, Lecture 2 “Personal Strength” (1993)
Added on 23-Sep-15 | Last updated 23-Sep-15
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Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, ch. 13 (1759)
Added on 16-Sep-15 | Last updated 28-Apr-16
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You see, fellow-soldiers, that perseverance is more prevailing than violence, and that many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.

Quintus Sertorius (c. 123-72 BC) Roman statesman and general
In Plutarch, Parallel Lives, “Sertorius,” sec. 16 [Dryden ed. (1693)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "You see, fellow-soldiers, that perseverance is worth more than energy, and that many things that cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little."
Added on 9-Sep-15 | Last updated 9-Sep-15
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‘Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause — and of obstinacy in a bad one.

Laurence Sterne (1713-1786) Anglo-Irish novelist, Anglican clergyman
Tristam Shandy, 1.17 (1759-67)
Added on 2-Sep-15 | Last updated 2-Sep-15
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Many strokes fell tall Oaks.

John Clarke (d. 1658) British educator
Proverbs: English and Latine (1639)
Added on 12-Aug-15 | Last updated 12-Aug-15
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The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try a thing.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
“Don’t Be Afraid to Stumble,” The Rotarian (Jan 1952)
    (Source)

This was a favorite phrase of Kettering's, and many versions exist or are attributed.
  • "The only time you mustn't fail is the last time you try." (The Rotarian (May 1953))
  • "The only time you don't want to fail is the last time you try."
  • "The only time you can't afford to fail is the last time you try."
  • "The only time you don't fail is the last time you try something, and it works."
Added on 31-Jul-15 | Last updated 31-Jul-15
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Dripping water hollows a stone.

Lucretius (c. 100-c. 55 BC) Roman poet [Titus Luretius Carus]
De Rerum Natura [On the Nature of Things], 1.313 [tr. Latham (1951)]
Added on 29-Jul-15 | Last updated 29-Jul-15
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Drop upon drop collected will make a river. Rivers upon rivers collected will make a sea.

Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
The Gulistan, ch. 8, Maxim 42 (1258) [tr. Rehatsek (1964)]
Added on 22-Jul-15 | Last updated 22-Jul-15
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The last quality, perseverance, I particularly respect: it is the very hinge of all virtues. — On looking over the world, the cause of nine parts in ten of the lamentable failures which occur in men’s undertakings & darken and degrade so much of their history, lies not in the want of talents or the will to use them, but in the vacillating and desultory mode of using them — in flying from object to object, in starting away at each little disgust, and thus applying the force which might conquer any one difficulty to a series of difficulties so large that no human force can conquer them. The smallest brook on earth, by continual running, has hollowed out for itself a considerable valley to flow in: the wildest tempest, by its occasional raging, over-turns a few cottages, uproots a few trees, and leaves after a short space no mark behind it. Commend me therefore to the Dutch virtue of perseverance! Without it all the rest are little better than fairy gold, which glitters in your purse, but when taken to the market proves to be — slate or cinders.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Letter to John Carlyle (15 Mar 1822)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Jul-15 | Last updated 15-Jul-15
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There is a point beyond which perseverance can only be termed desperate folly.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War, 4.9 (1852) [tr. Graham (1873)]
Added on 8-Jul-15 | Last updated 8-Jul-15
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‘Tis Perseverance that prevails.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #5110 (1732)
Added on 1-Jul-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
“The Sub-Treasury,” Speech, Illinois House of Representatives, Springfield (26 Dec 1839)
Added on 17-Mar-15 | Last updated 17-Mar-15
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We acquire the strength we have overcome.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Considerations by the Way,” The Conduct of Life (1860)
Added on 7-Oct-14 | Last updated 7-Oct-14
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Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 33 [Sanya] (2010)
Added on 28-Jan-14 | Last updated 28-Jan-14
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If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
(Spurious)

Also sometimes given as "If you're going through hell, don't stop." Not found in any of Churchill's written works or directly attributed to him in any reliable source. See here for more information.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Sep-14
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It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking at it that one overcomes it; but, rather, often by working on the one next to it. Certain people and certain things require to be approached on an angle.

André Gide (1869-1951) French author, Nobel laureate
Journal (26 Oct 1924) [tr. O’Brien (1951)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Dec-14
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