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Cynthia L. S. Pury

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Perseverance is the intentional continuation or reapplication of effort toward a goal despite a temptation to quit. Perseverance (also called persistence or industriousness) allows us to continue to work towards a goal when, at some level, we would prefer to be doing something else. Nearly all of the advances that make modern civilization possible require extended or repeated effort in the face of failure, fatigue, or boredom. Remove modern civilization and its precursors and perseverance is needed to keep searching for edible plant matter in winter or to stalk yet another antelope after the first two have fled. Living in modern society likewise requires perseverance, as anyone who has earned a degree, taught a child to tie her shoes, or even tracked down the right person in customer service can attest. Modern sayings attest to the fact that “Quitters never win, and winners never quit,” and “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.” Intentionality in pursuit of a goal may differentiate perseverance from perseveration , unintentional repetition of movement or vocalization, and from automatic habits. The goal may or may not be socially desirable, and may or may not be attainable. Stalkers, terrorists, and embezzlers may show perseverance, as may a blind person who wants to obtain a commercial pilot's license. Perseverance has been measured by researchers as both time-on-task, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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