Written by Scott Dinsmore –  Follow me on Twitter.

Persistence

“Life’s real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up.”

~Anonymous

If you don’t feel like reading much today I’ll give you the easy three word answer.

If you want to stop failing and more importantly, start living dreams then…

Don’t Give Up.

That’s it. Your life will change forever if you take those three words to heart. If you need more convincing then stick around for a story about persistence that will blow your mind.

Yesterday I eagerly headed to a meeting. I knew I was about to get the most tranquil feeling of calm at my next destination. I was excited.

Last week a good friend of mine, Leo, had introduced me to Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco. After our three-hour session (which felt like 20 minutes) he said I had to meet the founder, Jesse Jacobs. Something about us both being into extreme fitness challenges. I don’t know…

Slowing to recognize what matters

So a week later I settled onto a pillow at Samovar’s flagship location in Buena Vista Garden, downtown San Francisco. Jesse’s energy hit me like an ocean breeze. Before I could get a few words in, he asked the waitress for some things in a language I’d never heard. He had ordered three teas from as many countries.

For the next couple hours I saw a man who was in ‘the zone’ – in the pure sense of the word. He told me stories of Tibetan men handpicking leaves of white tea that were just the right length (because this brew wouldn’t be right any other way). Most of this tea was one of a kind he proudly explained. “Once I tasted this one and I asked the Tibetan how much they had to sell. When his response was 50lbs I took the whole lot. Who knows if there will ever be another batch.”

The more time around those who do what they love, the better.

There is something massively refreshing about spending time around people who have squarely found their place in the world. As we sipped, Jesse explained his story. Occasionally happily interrupted by the countless people he knew. It turns out this is the hot spot for online millionaires and best selling authors to come and simply be – just like everyone else around. Tim Ferriss, Leo Babauta and Kevin Rose to name a few regulars.

My favorite dish there, The Paleolithic Tea Service (with tofu), was actually inspired by Tim.

Living your dream requires you to work your ass off.

Ten years ago Jesse was about ready to pull the ripcord on a long career in tech. It wasn’t him and he needed something different. He wanted to create a movement. Something to help slow people down and enjoy the presence of life. He realized coffee is all about doing things fast. Whereas tea is about the opposite. His would be a venture focused on business and personal connection and slowing down to enjoy them both. Perfect.

Persistence Required

With idea in hand, Jesse went to a bank for a small business loan. The only problem was they said no. So he went to the next one. They said no too. He tried another. No luck. He did the same for 68 more banks. They all said no. It wasn’t until number 72 did he get a yes (over a cup of tea of course).

Did you hear that? I said SEVENTY-TWO banks.

How many no’s have you gotten?

Think about your dreams for a minute. Which ones have you given up in the past few years? Why? How many times were you rejected? For many the answer is one or two. Maybe three or four. What about the other 69?

As it turns out, the average sale doesn’t get made until a salesman has attempted seven times. Take a minute to let that sink in. It took Tim Ferriss being rejected by 26 publishers before his manuscript for The 4-Hour Work Week was accepted. In his teens Tony Robbins was rejected by 12 banks before one gave him a $1,200 personal loan for him to take his first course from Jim Rohn. The rumor is Colonel Harland Sanders was rejected 1,000 times before KFC saw the light of day.

Dreams don’t come true because people get lucky.

People get lucky because they don’t give up. That takes a rare breed. The breed that will settle for nothing less than magnificent. It’s not about how many times you fall. Because fall you will. It’s about how many times you get up.

Where would the world be without persistence?

There would be no Lifestyle Design or 4-Hour Workweek movement. There would be 40 million fewer people who’s lives had been changed worldwide thanks to Tony Robbins.  There would be no KFC…wait I guess that would be a good thing. And of course there would be no Samovar. There would be no iPhone, no iPad, no twitter, no Facebook. You get the idea?

If you’re realizing you’ve given up too early, Reclaim Your Dreams is a pretty good place to start.

What makes persistence possible?

1. Start with why: Many people approach life thinking about what they will build or how they will do it. They miss the essence, which comes much earlier. Understand why you want to create something. This is the hardest step because it involves knowing yourself on a level few people do. It involves digging to your core and understanding your values. It means utter congruency.

Once you have a grasp on this, you can take your pick of the industry or product you apply it to. Passion doesn’t come from an idea or product. It comes from that idea fulfilling your needs and strengths as a human. Get that right and you’ll be so damn fired up, you might never sleep again.

Start with Why is a book by Simon Sinek and it’s what gave Jesse his foundation. Along with Peak, which revolutionized the idea that anyone can love what they do if they understand and tend to their core. By the way, if anyone is looking to meet the author, you might want to ask Jesse, turns about he’s a regular tea patron.

2. Look Fear in the eye and welcome it: Fear of failure is what keeps us from so many amazing things. Well guess what? Your’re going to fail. So get over it and start building.

3. Surround yourself with people who know you can do anything. There are haters everywhere. There’s no time for them. Create the right environment. This is how you do the impossible.

Persistence Rules the World.

It makes the world what it is. Seriously, look around you. None of this would be here.

Jesse Jacobs

Jesse - 72 No's later

Whatever you do, just keep going.

Last year I asked my biggest mentors for my blog and investment fund what their biggest suggestion was to ensure my success over the coming years. They each, totally separately, responded with the same thing. They answered not with what I should do, but with my biggest risk factor regarding failure. Ready for it?

Stopping.

The biggest risk of me not living my professional and personal dreams came down to that one word. They didn’t talk about competition or differentiation, or feature sets or listening to the customer. While all that is important, none of it makes a freaking difference if you decide to give up. Stay the course and the majority of your competition will take care of the rest. Not quitting is the single most consistent attribute to success.

If you believe in your path, then walk it. Simple as that. All the rest is a distraction.

As I got up to leave that day, I noticed this written on the menu:

Please…

…slow down and sip some tea. Let this delicious cup of tea take you away from everything, filling you with calm and vitality. Let this infusion connect you to the farmer who hand picked the leaves, the Samovarian who brewed the pot, and to your breath in this moment. Listen to your heartbeat and look around. Who do you care about? Who cares about you? What else matters? Not much actually. Can you slow down enough to see your life and touch the world and those people you love?

Our Mission…

…is to create peace through drinking tea. Here at Samovar Tea Lounge, it’s never simply business as usual. In other words, business isn’t just a profit-making mechanism, but rather a vehicle for the greater good. Making people feel good, feel healthy and attain happiness is our bottom line. And, challenging as it is, it’s equally rewarding and fulfilling to see our guests beam with joy and express their heartfelt gratitude. What we do is an expression of our values, the high ideals and essence of the tea experience, and we thank you for joining us.

Jesse’s walked his path and I’m thankful he did. The world is better as a result.

He’s living an Epic Life by every sense of the word. I have no idea what their revenue is or how much money he makes. It doesn’t matter. Success is living a congruent life. Leaving your mark on the world in a way that makes it a bit better.

So how many no’s will you be ok with going forward?

Can I make a suggestion – As many as it takes.

Start counting and start building.

Inspire us with your story of persistence (or planned persistence) in the comments below. What’s your dream? We can never get enough!

And if you’re curious, here’s an intro video to the Samovar Tea Movement.

Odds and Ends:

1. Goals Update: Last week I completed a month of the Slow Carb Diet. I lost 5.1 lbs (down to 179), 6.5 total inches and ended at 10.3% body fat (wasn’t able to measure starting body fat). Interesting experience and it’s nice to be back to eating normally – eating food, not too much, mostly plants. Still deciding if I have the courage to share before and after pics… How are your 2011 goals coming? Give us an update.

2. Next Adventure: I’m leaving today for Chile and Argentina to do a little fly fishing with my dad. I’ll be back a little later this month so I apologize in advanced for delayed comment replies, etc. Plenty of stories to come.


Leave a Reply

49 Responses to “How to Stop Failing (or How to Live a Dream)”

  1. Juanita says:

    Wow Scott this post brought tears to my eyes! How inspirational! There is nothing better than being around people who are doing what they love.

    Your post was a reminder that I need to persist when people say no, but to also know that my dream will feed others – it is greater than I and it is my responsibility to persist!

  2. Very inspirational post, Scott. You have been on a roll lately with your content. This may be the best one yet.

    I work as a sales rep for a large global company. I hear the word “no” frequently, and I find it a good thing. It means people are listening!

    Thanks for Jesse’s story. He is the latest in the Harlan Sander’s prototype of ultimate persistence, never ever giving up.

    Bookmarked.

    • Scott says:

      Thank you for the kind words Joe. It means a lot. A man in sales certainly knows about persistence more than most. But then again I guess we are all in sales aren’t we? Awesome to hear you’ve got this one in the bag. It’s transferrable to everything!

  3. Jackie Lee says:

    Scott,

    This post brought me to tears as well. I was doing ok, until I got to the message on the menu. I can only imagine if the world were filled with more people (myself included) who knew so clearly what they were about and were willing to stick with it long enough to make it happen.

    Thank you so much for telling this story ~ it will stay with me, of that I’m sure.

    • Scott says:

      Awesome Jackie. I believe deep in my soul that people living congruently like Jesse and so many others are, will fundamentally change the world. We all have the power to make that mark. Let’s commit to doing it!

  4. Excellent post, Scott. I’m going to post this line on my wall:

    > Passion doesn’t come from an idea or product. It comes from that idea fulfilling your needs and strengths as a human.

    My team is very close to releasing our product. There are so many unknowns about the offering and the business model that deciding on one configuration is daunting and being daunted is slowing my progress. Perhaps embracing the possibility of failure would bust us through this logjam. Whatever happens, I’ll probably come back here for a dose of wisdom.

    • Scott says:

      Congrats on the progress Mark! I can’t wait to hear what you guys are building. We are still due a phone chat. Let’s do it. And I’ll be in PDX in June so a beer is in order.

  5. Eric says:

    Scott, a buddy of mine likes to remind me now and then how Thomas J Watson (He built IBM) said that to increase your success rate, you have to double your failure rate.

    Great post Scott.

  6. Bunny says:

    Hey Scott, Kick ass Post!
    would like to admit here there that my progress twards my blog has almost stalled. shall i say it didnot even pick up, am still to write my first post!

    Such posts definitely Help ! Keep up the good work.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks Bunny. So the question is, what can we do to get you first post written?! Search deep for a big time emotional reason that makes creating your blog a MUST. The world is dying to hear what you have to say!

      Onward…

  7. Amanda Cabe says:

    Thank you for such a terrific post! I read your site daily and always consider it a gift to read your words to start my day! After 14 years in mortgage banking, I made a change to a totally different career in sales. I am scared daily by my decision, but am closer today at living my dreams than I have been in the last 10 years! Thank you for your words and know that every morning around 7:30 am a lady in Atlanta, GA is reading your posts as a way to kick start my day! Your words make a difference for me! Have a great trip in Argentina!!

    • Scott says:

      This is music to my ears Amanda. And don’t worry, if you’re not scared, something’s likely wrong. You are on your path and that’s all that matters, literally. The world changes when someone begins doing what they love. Congrats!

  8. This is a great example of persistence. I, too, felt great synergy with the company mission.

    Far too often people use persistence the wrong way. They get impatient and ultimately attempt to force their will on someone else. Persistence isn’t about this at all. It is understanding over time that your beliefs are valid, helpful to whom you are speaking, and will provide a mutually beneficial outcome. For this reason you keep pressing forward, methodically. A phrase I’ve come to live by of late is “Patient Persistence”. The patience part of the phrase is very important. It is often not smart, appropriate or helpful to knock down the door as a result of an ill-tempered persistence. People aren’t always ready for the information you are placing before them. You must warm them up to the idea. Forms of martial arts exemplify patient persistence. Get to know your opponent. Be fluid. Act within yourself and your capabilities. Keep your head up. Then use the opponent’s weight against themselves. Patient persistence. Have other readers experienced times where patient persistence paid off?

    • Scott says:

      I love “Patient Persistence” Jeff. Thanks for that. We practiced that in a big way in my days of competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a requirement for success no matter where you’re looking to make your dent in the world. Thanks for living some of these examples. You keep me motivated!

      Que lo pases bien en Sur America amigo mio…

  9. Scott, You had me at “Don’t Give Up”!
    The content in blogs such as this should make up a course in schools. Why do we have to wait until we’re (typically) struggling in the work world to be exposed to such great motivation and stories of people who did what it took to make their dreams come true?
    Thanks for all your work in preparing this post.
    Lori

    • Scott says:

      Wow Lori. Thank you. I could not agree more. There is such a huge hole in the “understand yourself” portion of the education system, yet nothing is more important. I see that changing soon. I plan to have a hand it it, as small as it might be. One post at a time.

  10. Thanks for the reminder to not get discouraged, to realize “when you hear “no” you say next!”… to paraphrase Jack Canfield. Any success I’ve had in my life has happened when I keep myself in a positive, believing, energized state-in fact thats what got me through leaving a truly hostile work environment in a stable “prestigious” job to follow my bliss. See “How to Quit Your Life & Not Become Homeless” http://bit.ly/hHH95j.
    It’s been up and down but each person has to know inside when they have done the right thing and been true to themselves-in order to live a congruent life as you mentioned. A life were ones’ values, loves and talents match then we feel our bliss and as you said enjoy the “work” cause it feels good.
    Namaste,
    Kala

    • Scott says:

      It takes courage but nothing in this world is more important. So glad to hear you’re on your path Kala! Stay close on this adventure. We can learn from each other.

  11. Caroline says:

    Scott, this was exactly what I needed to hear today.
    To hear about why: ttp://tinyurl.com/4qwgr8j
    Thank you, thank you, for reminding us all to persevere.
    yours,
    Caroline

  12. Joshua says:

    Examples of people pushing through against the odds are so valuable. Forget putting the news about death and destruction on the front page. Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if these stories were put front and center? Thanks for posting this article and making it happen :)

    • Scott says:

      Agreed Joshua! Part of my dream is to see that change one day. Blogs are grabbing that by the horns. We get so much more about of inspiration than fear.

  13. “Just Say No” takes on a whole new meaning. Thank you for a lovely and inspiring post about an exceptional individual.

  14. Daria says:

    So good to be reminded of the important people and perspectives in life, and how we can spend more time focusing on them, and being nourished and inspired by them. Thank you, Jesse and Scott.

    • Scott says:

      Well you can expect a lot of case studies and inspiration to come Daria. It’s a crucial component for us all realizing what’s possible and doing it ourselves!

  15. Eshha says:

    Hey Scott,

    I was crying my heart out from the continuous failures I have been experiencing in my life, and then I came across your page. Matter of few hundreds of words just made me get back to my senses and I realized that it’s never to late.

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

  16. Never giving up is tragically important. Sometimes though , we need to “give up” on the method by which we chase our end goal and shift strategies mid way.

    That can be hard to realize when in the forest, but extremely important. Getting outside help to sort those kind of big picture views always helps.

    Thanks for this inspiring post Scott.

  17. Iris says:

    I love how he took something as “simple” as drinking tea and transformed it into something for the higher good.

    I love tea. There is only one person in my life that loves it more than I do, and this is my dad. He makes a science out of finding the perfect composition of brewing time and amount of tea to get the most out of each cup. :)
    I think I might drink a little more tea now and think about my life and dreams while doing so.

    Thank you.

  18. FL says:

    I really needed to read this post. Thanks so much. I’ve never been able to have the persistence or gall to never give up and it really caused me to throw away a lot of opportunities. I’m afraid of beginning again because I know the consequences of my past actions (or lack thereof) will be major obstacles for me to move forward and change things. It seems my entire life has been nothing but failures but I know that I never even tried. I also never realized how important it is to have passionate people around you. Just from your post, it feels like it’s possible to do the things I had thought was too late for me now. I hope I can find these “passionate” people somewhere. Thanks again!

  19. Nick says:

    Scott, After reading so many inspiring posts, I finally decided to take the plunge and start living my own legend. I created my own site chronicling my own personal struggles and triumphs in life.

    Thanks you for being all you are and helping others be all they can be…

  20. JJH says:

    Having been in a dark place for too long, but gradually coming back to light, it’ is so cathartic to read not only your blogs but also the many replies and inspiration it provides to your readers. I am taking a punt on your advice and strategies and hope that it leads to a better place, or rather a better me. Keep the poisitive energy flowing mate. Great work.

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    It really enlarged the problem although will do your karma good.

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  23. hello says:

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  24. Shamin says:

    This is so beautifully written and each an every word has so much to offer us. I am an engineering student and I used to think “Why do I keep on failing?” , what I did not realize before that I have tried three or four times to pursue my goal and I got three or four NO’S ,and that is just the start , I can’t and should not stop now so many hurdles and problems have to come my way and I have to face them and that’s whats going to make me strong. Now I believe that we all are diamonds it will take time to shine but we will shine just like under a lot of heat and pressure does a coal changes into a diamond. If I have to shine like a diamond I should not stop with just Three rejections.
    I just LOVE LOVE LOVE your post. Just one tiny little question that has been pinching me all the time, ” Why is it that I have to struggle so hard to get one thing, while others get the same thing minus half the energy and hard work I put in, while I am still trying to get that thing”. That is when I feel like a failure. I know this is negative thinking but I can’t help it. :(

  25. Myriam says:

    Thank you Scott, you are a beautiful light. I really needed to read that aabout failing
    72 times or getting NO as many times as it takes before it works….because I m going for my dreams…and I ve got a bunch of bumps for it….one of them is singing
    about the ocean…and making a beautiful moving show about it, the other dream is making a film art center in Algeria! and that , everybody tells me I m nuts for wanting to do it and live there…but I beleive i can…and when it exists…i will invite you to make a talk to the artists who will come…attend the center…in Tamanrasset , TImimoun or DjaneT….

    TAKE CARE AND GOD BLESS YOUR WORK!!! AND YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!!

  26. Myriam says:

    please check out my art work..on my blog http://www.myriamhammaniart.blogspot.fr

    and Scott, I loved your TED TALK…..!!!!! I m going to send it to all my english speaking friends….also, i m going to transmit this info…to all the people i know
    in french…who live in Algeria…and think that they can t make their dreams come true in Africa….

    LOVE PEACE AND HARMONY,

    Myriam Ait OUmerach

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