This Week's Character Strength Spotlight is on PERSEVERANCE


You complete what you start despite obstacles. You never give up. The concept of perseverance can most often be found in one’s active pursuit in overcoming obstacles. Perseverance is a uniquely human characteristic that identifies an individual’s ability to spend long periods of time devoted to a single goal or set of goals. Those who persevere are able to set goals for themselves and then take active, calculated steps toward those goals. People demonstrating high levels of perseverance are able to handle significant, sometimes repeated, setbacks in pursuit of goals.


For individuals, persistence can be directly connected to an individual’s ability to be successful throughout their life. Those who persevere through setbacks often reap the
benefits of the success gained by refusing to give up. Sometimes, this comes with the added benefit of increased knowledge and skill as a result of the work needed to achieve. Perseverance is also connected with bravery. Persisting in a task and failing, can result in depleted self-esteem. Therefore, it takes bravery to persist in a task despite the fear of failure. On a group level, perseverance can be contagious. A single group member’s ability or willingness to persevere can have a substantial impact on those working with
him or her and the team. Groups that show high levels of perseverance are able to achieve goals they may not have believed possible. The results benefit both individuals and the group. They will be more likely to: enjoy the victory; persist in the future when facing challenges; improve their skills and abilities; and have a greater belief in their capacity to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. Individuals with this strength are likely to think, feel, or behave in the following ways:

  • I can do this.
  • I am not going to give up.
  • If I work harder, I will succeed.
  • I am not so worried about how much time this takes, I am going to finish because it’s important to me.
  • Hard work pays off.
  • I am willing to try things many times without success.
  • It is important to keep pushing, especially when things seem difficult.
  • There is no growth without pain and suffering.


  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
  • “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow." — MARY ANNE RADMACHER
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — WINSTON CHURCHILL
  • “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.” — PELE

For an example of perseverance, please watch the below video, from 1928, of Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, describing how Helen learned to speak. Both of these women demonstrated tremendous perseverance — alongside numerous other strengths of character.


This Week's Prompt

Describe a bad habit you would like 'perseverance' to counter? How can you reframe cognitive distortions linked to that habit in reinforcing your drive to keep moving forward?
Bonus prompt:
   What blocks perseverance. What other strengths can you leverage to remain committed?