Creativity's Secret Sauce

How to build perseverance and be more creative

One of the qualities I admire most in our great, former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is his patient and courageous perseverance. Despite huge obstacles and setbacks, he never gave up working passionately for his people. He is quoted as saying: “The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”

When we look at what is happening in South Africa, the obstacles to moving forward can seem overwhelming. Yet, if we take it one small step at a time and persevere, we are going to recover and rebuild, then grow and thrive. St. Francis of Assisi put it so beautifully when he said:

“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Perseverance is a key to creativity

Perseverance is one of the key mindsets of creative thinkers and innovators. Since creativity pushes us out into the unknown where outcomes are uncertain and risks need to be taken, it is likely there will be failures before success. Perseverance gears up the creative thinker to keep pushing through and not to give up.



How would you rate your perseverance?

Read these questions and use them to rate your overall perseverance out of 10.

  • I am able to persist in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
  • I face challenges with positivity.
  • I tend to try again and again. I am tenacious and determined.
  • I am not easily put off by arduous tasks.
  • I take on endeavours even when the outcome is uncertain.
  • I am good at viewing failure as learning.
  • I keep going in the face of fatigue.
  • I don’t stop even when others criticise me.
  • I am known for my staying power.
  • I am able to pick myself up again.
  • You have the ability to reframe endeavours as experiments.

The difference between try and triumph, is just a little umph!


Things that wear down perseverance

If you rated your perseverance as low, watch out for these things that are kryptonite to endurance.

  1. You start out thinking the task will be easier than it really is. When you don’t realise how tough something is going to be, your stamina can get eroded.
  2. You are at the halfway mark. Things are generally easier at the beginning when we start out pepped up full of energy, and near the end, when our goal is in reaching distance. It’s that middle part that is the killer, when we have come far enough to be exhausted, yet the end is nowhere in sight.
  3. You believe that if you can’t do it, you are a failure. Striving for excellence is admirable and good, but don’t mix it up with perfection. There will likely be many times that it seems that you can’t do it, before, slowly, then suddenly, you’ve done it.

Image source: This is a Book by Demetri Martin

Don't give up

If you are feeling weary, overwhelmed, frustrated, or fearful, hang in there! Don't give up. Do not underestimate your power to endure. if you have run out of hope, think about this:  

“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

You can do this.


Seeing that this is such an important topic and so many of us are in need of perseverance right now, we a second part to this article that will be published next week.

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