“The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard, and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on despite all opposition until they attain their goal. These few are the Fords, Carnegies, Rockefellers and Edisons.” – Napoleon Hill
William Wilberforce was elected to the House of Commons in 1780 when he was barely 21 years old. Seven years later he came into contact with some anti-slave trade activists, and became the leading slave abolitionist in England. He was hugely unpopular, and faced ridicule and opposition wherever he went. But he could not give up on his conviction of the immorality of the slave trade. In 1807, after he had campaigned for 20 years, the Slave Trade Act was passed which effectively abolished the trade in slaves, but not slavery itself. He continued campaigning for the abolition of slavery, and in 1826 he resigned from Parliament due to ill health. But he kept on supporting the campaign, which led to the Slavery abolition act in 1833. Three days after the bill was passed, at age 74, he died. He had spent 46 years campaigning for one purpose. He was relentless, and ultimately he achieved the goal he had made his life’s work. His life is brilliantly depicted in the movie “Amazing Grace.”
But that’s not all. He was also one of the founding members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or modern RSPCA, which is among the largest charities in Britain.
If I think of the word “relentless”, I think of the ocean. Sometimes it makes a massive noise, with waves crashing on the shore, and other times it is still, quiet, with small waves barely lapping the sand. But it is never still. It is always moving, pulsing, and within it a million dramas are playing at the same time. As an engineer, I was taught that perpetual motion was impossible due to frictional losses, and so on. But the ocean itself is proof that perpetual motion is not only possible, but normal.
And this relentless quality is also a trademark of remarkable people. At times it’s obvious, and at other times barely perceptible, but they are always busy, always moving, always improving, always risking, always striving. In Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich”, he describes the rich and famous remarkable people of the early 20th century. He has chapters on Persistence, Faith, Desire, Imagination, Decision and Organized Planning. He does not have chapters on Luck, Fate, Short Cuts or Silver Spoons. The remarkable people have always worked from the inside-out, and don’t stop until their goal has been achieved. Many people might be successful, but the relentless, remarkable person becomes a force of nature. As Nelson Mandela has said “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
What do you need to be relentless about?
Our Live2Lead conference in October features five relentless people! More information at www.live2lead-capetown.co.za.
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