The Power of Persistence

By Carolyn Edlund


Persistence is the act of doing something each day to move closer to your goal.


Easy Way Hard Way



Choosing to be an artist means that you have decided you aren’t going to take the easy road. 


When artists talk about the most important thing you must have to be successful, sometimes talent is mentioned. Or great vision. Perhaps a partner who can help you market and sell your work. But I believe that when you get down to the basics, Sheer Persistence, especially in the face of rejection, failure and self-doubt is more important than anything else.


No one can persist for very long in the pursuit of something they do not truly desire.     ~ Ralph Marston


Your persistence as an artist is a measure of the Passion you have for what you are doing.

When you work persistently despite all odds and objections, it’s a sign that you are compelled to live what you have envisioned, and that you aren’t willing to give it up.

No artist succeeds who is not persistent – in their studio practice, in their steady pursuit of their dream, in their conviction that what they are doing is right and true to themselves.

Persistence doesn’t come with guarantees. No one can promise you that you will sell your work, or realize your goals. But if you give up, if you walk away – then you have made the decision to fail.


Steve Jobs


People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true. And the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up. And that’s what happens to most people, actually.

If you really look at the ones that ended up being “successful” in the eyes of the society and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes it’s the ones [who] were successful loved what they did, so they could persevere when it got really tough. And the ones that didn’t love it quit because they’re sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it? So it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of worrying constantly and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fail.   ~ Steve Jobs



  1. So very true…as a jewelry artisan I keep at it and follow my dreams even when the going’s tough, not only because I’m doing what I love, but because I’m very, very stubborn. What a fun adventure along the way it is. I love the Steve Jobs quote, so pertinent.

    • Thanks Wendy – it is one of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs. He was speaking in an interview with Bill Gates at the time. Stay hungry, stay foolish – Stay Stubborn!

  2. “Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it?”…that quote is a keeper!! from this post i obviously have a butt load of persistence & passion…cuz it definitely is not sane for me to keep this up when i only progress a little bit more every year…others would have given up long ago!but i love it and can’t think of anything i’d rather do!!:-)

    • Steve also said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

  3. Being a fine artist is hard work. The rejection gets to most artists before anything else does. I found with my students, that many of them predetermined their fates before anyone else did. You have to go into this with determination and a passion that you don’t want to do anything else. So for me, optimism and confidence in what you are doing is crucial and constantly keeping up with new techniques to add to your talent is most important. To be successful takes time building up your work and your network. I had a professor who said that it was 2% talent and 98% perseverance and she was right.

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