If At First You Don’t Succeed

When was the last time you watched a Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon?


His intentions may not be pure but you have to give him this…he keeps on trying. No matter how many times you watch Wile E. he just doesn’t give up. Imagine if we put that kind of energy and ingenuity into a goal we are striving to accomplish?

Here is a little background on the famous quote that has been used, miss used and mocked over the years, but truly has merit:

“IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN. Don’t give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end.”

The proverb has been traced back to ‘Teacher’s Manual’ by American educator Thomas H. Palmer and ‘The Children of the New Forest’ by English novelist Frederick Maryat (1792-1848). Originally a maxim used to encourage American schoolchildren to do their homework. Palmer (1782-1861) wrote in his ‘Teacher’s Manual’: ‘Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’ The saying was popularized by Edward Hickson (1803-70) in his ‘Moral Song’ and is now applicable to any kind of activity. From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996, Page 154).

Would you approach a project or goal differently if you started knowing that, no matter what, you were not going to give up? Would you enlist the assist of others who might be able to offer different perspectives or view points on how to handle the task? Would you do more research?

If you go into a project knowing that you won’t quit until you succeed – then isn’t that the same as saying “I’m going to succeed no matter what!” What a positive approach.

Connie, editor of This Way to Joy says “The sky is not your limit…you are.”

Sheri Venner asks if we are being persistent enough. Her favorite quote is from Edward Eggleston about being persistent.  “Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.”  She offers some great insight into what holds us back from success in her article.

A poll was taken at eHappy Life. In an article about Leadership Qualities – one of the key qualities of a leader is persistence.  When asked what age group is the most persistent in getting what they want, the survey says…..38% said those under the age of seven. Think about it. Our children are single minded about what they want. They may start by trying to get our attention with a smile, a gesture, a quick please and thank you. If they aren’t successful, they raise the stakes; tears, foot stomping and yelling may enter into the equation followed quickly by a protruding lower lip and puppy dog eyes. In the end…most times (unless it is an issue of safety) they win the battle.


If at first you don’t succeed…try, try again.