I've been thinking a lot about this word recently.
Persistence is a common trait between a lot of my favorite artists, musicians, authors. And I've had the honor of hearing 2 of them speak in person this week in New York.
Chuck Close is an artist that paints 9 foot tall portraits. The amazing part is he breaks the canvas up into a grid and paints each small square individually. When viewers are in close proximity to the canvas they see only squares of patterns, but once viewers stand back, an image of a person's face appears. He said it takes about 4 months to do a black and white painting and over a year to do a color one. It was pretty darn inspirational to hear him speak in person about his technique and how he sometimes goes over and over the same square 100's of times. His art work has always impressed me in museums and he was equally impressive speaking about his art in person and hearing how involved he gets in each portrait.
I also has the pleasure of hearing Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon speak on the 100 mile diet that they started and the book named
It's really impressive to hear how these successful people have decided what's important to them and they devote their time and energy to that cause. They come out with a very simple and clear message, allowing people to see something in a different way.
I can't talk about persistence without mentioning another favorite of mine which is Johnny Cash and his song One Piece at a Time. The song is about a worker on an auto assembly line who decides to make an entire car by taking pieces off the line one at a time. He takes the pieces home in his lunchbox. Over the course of 20+ years he finally has enough to build his dream car. It doesn't exactly go together as he planned, but with some modification he has a drivable car - all for free (or sort of anyway).
I think persistence is about deciding what's important to you and working for that, diving into it, no matter who you are or what you do - artist, author, songwriter, mother, father, friend, designer, garbage collector... auto worker.