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Whenever we discuss how best to succeed, I hear people comment about others, “Oh, he was lucky”.  Or, “She had it handed to her”.  It is a puzzle to me why people assume that everyone else has had it so easy and that they have it so hard.

Perhaps, what they do not see is the perseverance that the other people applied in order to succeed.  Success does not come easy – for anyone.

To be successful, it is actually rather simple.  The secret is available to all.  It just takes hard work, effort, focus, and perseverance.  No one succeeds without effort – those who succeed owe their success to perseverance.

Personally, I have learned about perseverance: when you hear the word ‘No,’ and when you hear rejection, that it is not always final. And that timing is everything, and you have to stay the course and just keep working hard and know that, when your time comes, that it will be sweet and that it will be the perfect time.

If the truth be told, success is no accident.  It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

To be clear, success is not about doing the same thing over and over and simply hoping for a different outcome.  It is not about trying to do the same thing 20 times and then succeed on the 21st try.  It may seem to be that way on the surface, but if you look deeper you will discover that you need to be agile enough to adjust your approach and understand what past approaches failed – and which approaches succeeded.  To achieve success, you must learn.  You must adapt.  You embrace change and overcome hurtles.

Einstein 2

Let us consider the legacy and lesson of one of my personal favourite people in history, that example left to us from Albert Einstein.  His brand of genius — that rare mix of brilliance, creativity and perseverance — was arguably as important as any given intelligence quotient (IQ).

The most fascinating aspect of London-based journalist David Bodanis’ biography “Einstein’s Greatest Mistake” (released in 2016) is in revealing just how much of Einstein’s early success was related to his own dogged perseverance.

Luckily, Einstein persevered in the face of a highly-structured turn of the 20th century academic system that valued learning by rote and repetition.  If he had lacked confidence or the curiosity he exhibited when trying to understand the cosmos, then his genius may have never had an outlet.  But the fact that the German-born theoretical physicist is still the subject of such fascination and relevance more than a century after he first put forth his Special Theory of Relativity is testament to how rare he actually was.

By the mid-1930s, however, Einstein was one of the most famous people on the planet and began attracting women and Hollywood celebrities like a powerful magnet collects iron filings.  That is incongruous with our contemporary view of Einstein as the quintessential disheveled academic.

But as Bodanis notes time and again throughout his text, Einstein was just as fallible in affairs of the heart and interpersonal relationships as the guy next door.  While certainly haunted by failures in his romantic relationships, he was also troubled by scientific problems.  Luckily, he endured and solved some of the greatest problems of the mind, even at the cost of his many challenges of the heart.  Focus and perseverance always has a price to be paid.  You cannot have it all, so this unbalanced approach takes its toll on other aspects of life.  It is the same for us all.

Therefore, Einstein was just as human and just as frail as the next person, and as imperfect as I am too.  Somehow there is comfort to note that your hero is so similar to you, even when he is so different at the same time.  It is his own humanity that helps me to connect to him as a hero.  But, if I can emulate only one trait that he demonstrated to the world, it would be his unyielding perseverance and unwavering focus on a problem.  Yes, his genius is without match.  Believe me, I am no Einstein – just ask my wife.  But, we can all succeed and hold the richness of life in our hands if we copy Einstein and his unrelenting perseverance.

The question is – are you willing to pay the price of success?


Dorminey, B. (2016). Lesson From Einstein: Genius Needs Perseverance. Forbes Media LLC. Retrieved on December 17, 2018 from,

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.

He is a Senior Executive with IBM Canada’s GTS Network Services Group. Over the past 13 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.