Coffee, Talk, & a Walk: Art Butcher

I connected with Art Butcher a couple of months ago, and I am delighted that he agreed to write this post.Thank you, Art! Please check out his bio and the link to his website, which are included at the end of the post. Building on my post from yesterday about the importance of social support in goal setting, I think Art's post is a wonderful follow-up to the question. Read Art's guest post below!

(c) Arianna's Random Thoughts
(c) Arianna's Random Thoughts

Encouragement Triggers Persistence.

“I was relentless, even in the face of total lack of encouragement, because much more often than you’d think, sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.” (Isadore Sharp, Four Seasons)

"Persistence is a firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition," as defined by a Google search.

We All Want To Succeed.

By adding the adjective “sheer”, Mr. Sharp is saying that “nothing other than” persistence is the difference…

According to Mr. Sharp, we must have persistence to succeed.

To make this meaningful, we must understand that it is our responsibility to define success. We simply can’t let anyone else do this for us. We are the ones who have to live with the results of our efforts. When we define our own success, we set the “bar” and we can then be satisfied and live with our results.

Now, success is not a onetime event. Once we arrive at a goal we are ready to set yet another, more lofty, goal. This is human nature. It’s built into our DNA, we always want to improve. We should not fight this tendency. We should embrace it. One cannot set a world record in the 100-meter freestyle until one can swim 100 meters.

Persistence can be learned. We start with goals we find comfortable. We achieve that goal and then move onto the next one. Learning continues as we achieve each goal and then set a more far-reaching goal.

But What Allows Us To Be Persistent And Not Give Up?

It is our desire to achieve a goal. The magnitude of our desire is linked to and is dependent upon the projected result of achieving the goal.

If the purpose is purely for ourselves, then whether or not we receive the full benefit of achieving the goal comes down to our personal satisfaction.

On the other hand if the goal is bigger than us, that the outcome impacts other people, we have a tendency to over-achieve because we want to help others. I think most of us take pleasure in helping others – it is an intrinsic part of us.

Our initial goals tend to be more for ourselves than for others. As a child, if we are hungry we want food. We will do whatever it takes to get food, regardless of how it may inconvenient someone else. As we get a bit older we may want a new shirt. Again, we will be persistent until we get it.

Once we learn that others take pleasure from us doing something for them, we expand our viewpoint and begin our quest to help others. We learn that when we help someone, that when we need help, we receive assistance in return.

What Makes Persistence Work?

I find this quote intriguing beyond the focus on persistence. Why’s that? After reading it a few times the underlined text – lack of encouragement – jumps out.

As we navigate toward achieving a goal, we encounter setbacks. Overcoming these setbacks is where persistence is necessary. Yet it is often easier to handle setbacks when we have people on our side offering encouragement.

We all are more likely to achieve a goal if we receive encouragement. What is most interesting about Mr. Sharp’s quote is that he does not say he was discouraged. He says that he did not receive encouragement – a total lack of encouragement.

I find that many times discouragement makes me work harder than encouragement. I want to prove the individuals wrong. I want to show them I can do it. I couch this by adding that I know within me that the goal is worthy and is achievable.

In this way, I turn discouragement into encouragement, even if the encouragement is internal.

Encouragement makes our lives easier. It helps keep us going when we don’t want to. Achieving our goals is so much easier with encouragement.

But what should we do if there is no encouragement at all?

We need to create it ourselves. We need to seek it, because in the long run we’ll find our path to success more enjoyable and more sustainable.

We seek encouragement by seeking wisdom. We can learn from others and by encouragement that others have succeeded in the face of adversity. Read what others have done… why they did it… how they did it… and where they found their desire and energy to succeed. I suggest Mr. Sharp sought wisdom. I suggest his encouragement was self-generated.

We can also seek encouragement by finding people who will encourage us. I strongly suggest everyone have a circle of close advisers. These are people who have your best interest in mind. You want advisers who value your success as important as their own. When the chips are down and you are struggling to find your way, you want people who will answer your call for help. I’m here to tell you that the moment you really need help, more often the not, the number of people willing to help can be counted on one hand. By building a circle of close advisers, you are increasing your odds.

Success breeds success.

We build upon our own successes. We are able to move forward because of our past accomplishments.

We build upon the success of others. We take encouragement that others have triumphed... that others have turned a setback into victory… that we have people who have our back.


Art Butcher has an inherent sense of how business works.  He always looks for creative ways to help businesses improve. Art has analyzed and developed solutions in operations, sales, marketing, product development, and Research & Development in North America and Europe. Today, Art develops Client-Focused Websites for people who have big dreams. Connect with him here at: !

Thank you, Art, for writing this post!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!