Jerry Weintraub, who was a talent agent, a producer, and one of the most influential people in Hollywood, once said,
“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to people, it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, and never give up.”
This is a quote worth remembering because the ability to persist through failure is often times more important to your success than either your intelligence or your connections.
This is an idea that Jerry understood better than anyone and the way he lived his life proved that.
In his book “When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead,” Jerry Weintraub talks about the time he had the ambitious idea to take Elvis Presley out on tour.
This was during the 1950’s and at the time, Jerry was a nobody. He was 26, married, and was $60,000 in debt, which was a lot of money at the time.
Now at the time, Elvis was the biggest name in the world, while Jerry was just starting out. Jerry was just a poor kid with big goals, no money, and more importantly, no connections.
But what Jerry did have was persistence.
The morning after Jerry had this big idea, he picks up the phone and calls Colonel Tom Parker, who had managed Elvis for years, and says, “Colonel Parker, this is Jerry Weintraub. I would like to take Elvis Presley on the road.”
The Colonel gave him no opportunity to speak and quickly hung up on him.
This is where most people would give up, but the next day, Jerry called again, and again, the Colonel said “no.”
If you know anything about sales, then you know that salesman, who have been in the profession for a while, eventually overcome their fear of rejection after having the door slammed in their face thousands of times.
Research shows that if you do what you’re afraid of often enough then you will eventually become desensitized to it. Your brain will actually build “mental muscles” to overcome the fear.
Jerry understood this. Jerry called the Colonel every day for 365 days straight, facing constant rejection, being told “no,” and getting hung up on every single time.
In the book “The Millionaire Next Door,” it says that the average millionaire has failed at least three times.
Statistically, 70% of people quit after failing once. 80% quit after failing twice. And 90% quit after failing three times.
Jerry, however, failed 365 times!
Even though Jerry was going through constant rejection, Jerry still understood the importance of being persistent and it paid it off because about one year after Jerry had made his first call to the Colonel, the Colonel called him asking if he still wanted to take Elvis on tour, and of course Jerry said yes.
This is a principle of achievement that is worth remembering because the ability to persist is probably the greatest attribute any individual can have. It’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail. As Bertrand Russell once said,
“No great achievement is possible without persistent work.”
Nothing in life is ever accomplished on the first, second, or even third try. The breakthrough to success usually comes late, when everyone else has already given up.