Feeling Hopeless? Take Inspiration from the Hero of the American Revolution

George Washington was a great leader. He commanded the revolutionary forces to victory against the British.

But Washington was actually a terrible military strategist and tactician.

Right from the start of his military career, Washington showed that he was prone to military blunders, and he failed to recognize good military advice when others provided it.

Washington actually lost more battles than he won during the revolutionary war.

And it took him 8 years (1775-1783) to finally prevail.

What made Washington a great leader was his persistence.

Setbacks, defeat, betrayal, and failure did not deter Washington. He kept hope alive against all odds. Even when it seemed like all was lost, he persisted.

As I have frequently written, we never know when our efforts will bear fruit. Even when it seems like our years of struggle our futile and that our enemies have overwhelming power and resources, something we have done may suddenly and unexpectedly win the battle.

Remember, Washington did not even realize that he had won the Revolutionary War after prevailing in the Battle of Yorktown. People had to explain to him and convince him that the Americans had actually won the war.

The reason we overestimate the enemy’s strength is that we do not know about his weaknesses (he tries to project total strength and so tries to hide his weaknesses).

Never give up. Your struggles for truth and justice may just be the thing – or one of the many things – which turns the tide.

This is not to say that we should keep doing the same thing over and over even if it isn’t working. We should frequently re-assess our tactics to see if there is something more effective we can do instead.

And things are admittedly bleak right now, given the economic crisis, the looting of the Treasury and taxpayer and the transfer of trillions to the giant banks, and the unresponsiveness of the government to the wishes of the American peole.

But as George Washington showed, we must keep persisting even during the bleak times like the American troops’ winter at Valley Forge, because – if we never give up – we will eventually win.

It is hard to beat a person who never gives up.
– Babe Ruth

I don’t think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done.
– Mike Ditka

It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.
– Vince Lombardi

My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging
– Hank Aaron

I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.
– Arnold Palmer

My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.
– Bjorn Borg

Continuous excellent effort, not maximum strength or superior IQ, is the key to unlocking your potential as an achiever.
– Greg Werner (Strength & Conditioning Coach)

Energy and persistence conquer all things.
– Benjamin Franklin

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
– John Quincy Adams

Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.
– Winston Churchill

Never, never, never give up.
Winston Churchill

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
-Calvin Coolidge

The power to shape the future is earned through persistence. No other quality is as essential to success. It is the sandpaper that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles. It is the ability to move mountains one grain of sand at a time.
– Calvin Coolidge

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
– Thomas Edison

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
– Thomas Edison

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
– Thomas Edison

Sticking to it is the genius! Any other bright-minded fellow can accomplish just as much as I did if he will stick like hell and remember nothing that’s any good works by itself. You got to make the damn thing work. I’ll never give up, for I may have a streak of luck before I die.
– Thomas Edison

The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.
– Thomas Edison

Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.
– Thomas Edison

It’s not than I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
– Albert Einstein

In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.
– Albert Einstein

When one door closes another one opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
– Louis Pasteur

Those who have found real success, whatever field they might work in, will tell you that the better part of success is persistence, sticking with it, refusing to give up.
– Lawrence G. Boldt

It’s the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles.
– Claude M. Bristol

Never consider the possibility of failure; as long as you persist, you will be successful.
– Brian Tracy

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.
– Ella Fitzgerald

When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
– Harriet Beecher Stowe

With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
– Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up.
– Norman Vincent Peale

Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
– Samuel Johnson

Your biggest break can come from never quitting. Being at the right place at the right time can only happen when you keep moving toward the next opportunity.
– Arthur Pine

All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line.
Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

For now you know one of the greatest principles of success; if you persist long enough you will win.
– Og Mandino

I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult… I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.
– Og Mandino

Persistent people begin their success where others end in failures.
– Edward Eggleston

We can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough.
– Hellen Keller

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
– Camus

A knowledge of the path cannot be substituted for putting one foot in front of the other.
M.C. Richards

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
– Thomas Carlyle

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.
– Douglas MacArthur

A jug fills drop by drop.
– Buddha

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
– Antoine De Saint-Exupery

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
– Mother Teresa

The best way out is through.
– Robert Frost

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed.
They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.
– B.C. Forbes

The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting.
– Christopher Morley

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
– Confucius

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.
– Herodotus

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.
– William Feather

That which we persist in doing becomes easier – not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think I’d like to be remembered as someone who beat the odds through just plain determination. … that I persevered. Because I think that being somewhat of a pest to life, constantly plaguing and pursuing, will bring results.
– Sylvester Stallone

People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most people succeed because they are determined to.
– George E. Allen

Persevere and get it done.
– George Allen

The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard, and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on DESPITE all opposition, until they attain their goal . . . . There may be no heroic connotation to the word persistence, but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel.
– Napoleon Hill

Luck favors the persistent. This simple truth is a fundamental cornerstone of successful company builders. The builders of visionary companies were highly persistent, living to the motto: Never, never, never give up.
– James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Persistence is insurance against failure.
– Earl Nightingal

Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel.
– H. Jackson Brown Jr

When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.
– Norman Lear

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Victories often occur after you see no way to succeed but refuse to give up anyway.
– Dave Weinbaum

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.
– Napoleon Hill

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.
– Marilyn vos Savant

Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.
– Dennis Waitley

Through perseverance many people win success out of what seems destined to be certain failure.
– Benjamin Disraeli

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.
– Jim Watkins

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
– Dale Carnegie

How long should you try? Until.
– Jim Rohn

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through persistence.
– Unknown

What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement.
– Napoleon Hill

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
– Nelson Mandela

If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying, Here comes number seventy-one!
– Richard M. Devos

A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.
– Norwegian proverb

Hold on tight
To the place inside where the candle burns
And tend to the flame
Then it will always light your way
The vision seen
Was more than just a dream
And the truth will shine
Even through the darkest night

– The Voice

Note: Two other qualities made Washington a great leader. First, Washington was courageous, and he fought on the front lines along side his soldiers. In his first major battle, Washington had watched the commanding general – General Braddock – do the same thing, and Washington likely copied this behavior.

Washington also learned early in his military career that treating the common soldier and local townspeople with respect and dignity was key to success, for he saw that generals who treated them with disdain lost their much-needed support. For example, soldiers treated without respect often deserted. And townspeople treated with arrogance and disdain often failed to provide the provisions they had promised.

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