personality trait in psychology
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Perseverance is the quality of continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. ~ Christopher Reeve
With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable. ~ Thomas Buxton, 1st Baronet


  • O Lord, ... have mercy upon me according to thy great mercy, for thy name's sake. And do not, on any account whatever, abandon what thou hast begun in me. Go on, rather, to complete what is yet imperfect in me.
    • Augustine, Confessions, as translated by A. Outler, Book 10, Chapter 5
  • The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.
    • Henry Ward Beecher, as quoted in Proverbial Wisdom : Proverbs, Maxims and Ethical Sentences, of Interest to All Classes of Men. (1903) by Abram N. Coleman, p. 233.
  • PERSEVERANCE, n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
  • With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
  • Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.
    • Winston Churchill, speech at Harrow School, Harrow, England, October 29, 1941.—Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 6, p. 6499 (1974).
  • We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
    • Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons after successful evacuation of Allied troops at Dunkirk, France, June 4, 1940. Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963 (1974), vol. 6, p. 6231.
  • Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
    • Walter Elliott, in The Spiritual Life : Doctrine and Practice of Christian Perfection (1918).
  • Qui vincit non est victor nisi victus fatetur.
  • What destiny sends, bear! Whoever perseveres will be crowned.
    • Johann Gottfried Herder, as quoted in Beautiful Thoughts from German and Spanish Authors (1868) by C.T. Ramage (Craufurd Tait Ramage).
  • We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
    • John F. Kennedy, Address at Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort, Houston, TX (12 September 1962).
  • If you want to be successful in a particular field of endeavor, I think perseverance is one of the key qualities.
    • George Lucas. From the George Lucas Interview, ‘A Life Making Movies’, for the Academy of Achievement organization, June 19, 1999, Washington, D.C.
  • Perseverance is the master impulse of the firmest souls, the discipline of the noblest virtues, and the guaranty of acquisitions the most invigorating in their use and inestimable in their worth.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 450.
  • The practice of perseverance is the discipline of the noblest virtues. To run well, we must run to the end. It is not the fighting but the' conquering that gives a hero his title to renown.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 450.
  • Invariably will you find perseverance exemplified as the radical principle in every truly great character. It facilitates, perfects, and consolidates the execution of the plan conceived, and renders profitable its results when attained. By continuing to advance steadily in the same way, light constantly increases, obstacles disappear, efficient habits are confirmed, experience is acquired, the use of the best means is reduced to easy action, and success becomes more sure.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 450.
  • Victory belongs to the most persevering.
    • Napoleon I of France, as quoted in Treasury of Thought: Forming an Encyclopædia of Quotation from Ancient and Modern Authors (1894) by Maturin Murray Ballou.
  • I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
  • Perseverance, dear my lord,
    Keeps honour bright: to have done is to hang
    Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
    In monumental mockery.
  • Diamonds are only chunks of coal,
    That stuck to their jobs, you see.
    • Minnie Richard Smith, "Stick to Your Job," lines 1–2. Christian F. Kleinknecht, Poor Richard's Anthology of Thoughts on Success (1947), p. 44.
  • By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
    • Proverb, published by Charles Spurgeon in The Salt-cellars : Being a Collection of Proverbs, Together with Homely Notes Thereon (1889), p. 89.
  • We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth New Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.
    • George Washington, letter to Major General Philip Schuyler, July 15, 1777.—The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 8, p. 408 (1933). This letter concerns the loss of Fort Ticonderoga.
  • If we have no aptitude or natural taste for geometry this does not mean that our faculty for attention will not be developed by wrestling with a problem or studying a theorem. On the contrary it is almost an advantage. ... Without our knowing or feeling it, this apparently barren effort has brought more light into the soul. ... Every time that a human being succeeds in making an effort of attention with the sole idea of increasing his grasp of truth, he acquires a greater aptitude for grasping it, even if his effort produces no visible fruit.
    • Simone Weil, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God” (1942)
  • When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
    When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest, if you must—but don't you quit.

    Often the goal is nearer than
    It seems to a faint and faltering man,
    Often the struggler has given up
    When he might have captured the victor's cup.
    And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
    How close he was to the golden crown.
    • Edgar Guest March 3, 1021, The Indianapolis Star, "Just Folks" syndicated column, Page 6, Column 4, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 594.
  • Attempt the end and never stand to doubt;
    Nothing's so hard, but search will find it out.
  • The waters wear the stones.
    • Job, XIV. 19.
  • God is with those who persevere.
    • Koran, Chapter VIII.
  • For thine own purpose, thou hast sent
    The strife and the discouragement!
  • The soft droppes of rain perce the hard marble; many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks.
    • John Lyly, Euphues, p. 81. Arber's Reprint (1579).
  • Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed sæpe cadendo.
    • The drop hollows out the stone not by strength, but by constant falling.
    • Quoted in the Menagiana, 1713. Probably first to use it was Richard, Monk of S. Victor; Paris. (Died about 1172. Scotchman by birth.) In his Adnotationes mysticæ in Psalmos he says: "Quid lapide durius, quid aqua mollius? Verumtamen gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed sæpe cadendo." See Migne's Patrologia Latina, Volume CXCVI, p. 389. Said to be by Chœrilus of Samos, by Simplicius—Ad Aristot. Physic. Auscult, VIII. 2, p. 429. (Brand's ed.) Same idea in Lucretius I. 314; also in IV. 1282. Translation of a proverb quoted by Galen, Volume VIII, p. 27. Ed. by Kühn, 1821, Given there: "Gutta cavat lapidem sæpe cadentis aquæ." Quoted by Bion. Also in Ovid—Ex Ponte, IV. X, line 5. Note by Burman states Claudian was earliest user found in MS.
  • So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse
    Met ever, and to shameful silence brought,
    Yet gives not o'er, though desperate of success.
  • Water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow.

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