By Ndukwu Chibundom Kaosisochukwu - June 04, 2024


Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize Laureate)

Psychologist Angela Duckworth presented an interesting question in her book, ‘Grit’. She asked: ‘How many of us start something new, full of excitement and good intentions, and then give up- permanently- when we encounter the first real obstacle, the first long plateau in progress?’

The answer? Far too many of us.

The truth is that once the fuel of motivation that propels people to work towards their goals runs out or they begin to encounter difficulties and failures, most typical people just stop pressing towards their goals and dreams. The atypical ones are those that press on despite a distinct lack of external reward for the efforts that they are putting in and despite struggles, challenges and failures.

And I have often asked myself why. Why do people give up on goals and dreams and targets? Why do so many people begin projects that they never complete? And what is it that marks out the people who persist in their goals and dreams despite obstacles, difficulties and failures?

Well, I think I have found a good answer to the last question. That distinct marker that differentiates between the quitters and the persistent go-getters is a single quality.




Doggedness: (noun) marked by stubborn determination.

Synonyms: perseverance, persistence, single-mindedness, tenacity, determination, indefatigability, staying power

Essentially, doggedness is marked by the ability to persist even in the face of difficulties. It is being willing to “give it a go” even when the outcome and the way to proceed are uncertain. It is the acceptance that success does not come easy and not being frightened of finding things difficult. It is having a high level of “stickability”, and being able to readily recover from frustration. It is the ability to “hang in” with your goals and dreams even though you may, for a while, feel somewhat confused or even anxious. It is the ability to dust yourself and try again even after falling.

Simply put, doggedness is not quitting even when giving up seems to be the only reasonable step others might take. It means not losing focus when failures nibble at your determination and begin to sway the conviction of your vision. It is, tapping from the words of George Bernard Shaw, the willingness and ability to be a force of fortune instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.



Malcolm Gladwell in his book, ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’, stated that success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.

There are numerous people who exemplify the truth of Gladwell’s words. We have the famous Abraham Lincoln, who seemed to be the epitome of political failure before emerging the renowned president of the United States, Thomas Edison, who never stopped looking for opportunities to learn from his recurrent failures before becoming one of the lead inventors of his day. We have Lee Myung-bak, who was born into a wretched family and eventually rose to be the president of South Korea, Harrison Ford, who faced multiple rejections during his early acting career but eventually, through perseverance and hard work, rose to be the star that he is today. In Nigeria, we have Cosmas Maduka, who rose from selling akara on the streets at the age of seven to becoming the CEO of Coscharis Group, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, and Mike Adenuga, who used to work as a taxi driver to help fund his university education and is currently the third richest person in Africa.

Here’s the thing; as a Chinese proverb states, a gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a person perfected without trials. Most people are born with tremendous potential. The real question is whether they employ diligence and doggedness to their maximum. In the end, it is those who are dogged enough to resist the trials and difficulties that come with pushing towards goals that will be the winners in this journey of life.

Therefore, to achieve success, you need to be fearless, tenacious, and determined never the let the strong tide of failures, opposition and woes drown you. You need to face the obstacles head-on and be determined to stand your ground even as the storms threaten to knock you off the ground. You need to be dogged.

It helps to understand that for great things, the rewards don’t typically rise early. There are no overnight successes, in the true sense of the word. But here’s the thing about those later rewards, those that emerge after facing storms and difficulties and obstacles. Most of the time, they’re explosive. And very loud.

Hence, for anyone who suddenly shoots to the top, we all need to understand that he or she was propelled by a solid base of doggedness, resilience and tenacity. 




‘Whatever it is that you want to do, you’ll find in life that if you’re not passionate about what it is you’re working on, you won’t be able to stick with it.’- Jeff Bezos.

The passion that is required for doggedness does not merely equate to intense feelings or emotions, but rather, deals with the inner drive that births consistency over an extended period of time. This type of passion does not deal with mere interests that come as quickly as they fade away but rather, what a person wants to achieve in life, the legacy a person wants to leave behind. It deals with a person’s purpose in life. It deals with an ultimate goal that a person is ready to loyally care about and put effort into.

The logic of the necessity for enduring passion is quite straightforward. If you do not know, in a very deep way, what you want in life and why you are pushing towards your goals, it becomes very easy to throw in the towel at the slightest wind of resistance or difficulty. It becomes easy to create those exquisite excuses we often use to delude ourselves from the truth of the fact that we just do not have the sustaining passion and drive to build up the diligence that keeps people pressing. It becomes easy to give up with few to zero regrets.

Resilience requires fierce resolve, fortitude. And same cannot be cultivated without having the right levels of passion to keep a person pushing.



In developing doggedness, changing the way you think about failure is a fundamental requirement. We give failure more credit than it deserves, interpreting it as implying things that are much deeper than what it actually implies. Hence, most times, we give up at the first instance of failure or difficulty because we have come to ascribe failure as implying a lack of ability, lack of talent, or just plain unbreakable incompetence. But quite frankly, it is folly to give up and consider future attempts as a lost cause simply because your first couple of attempts weren’t successful, thereby allowing those failures to stop you from reaching your goals. Your projects and goals should not be considered impossible simply because they did not work out the first time. To put it quite simply, no one is perfect and everyone is bound to experience failures and difficulties whilst attempting to push towards dreams and goals.

Changing your opinion about failure and obstacles can be the one milestone to cross towards becoming dogged. The first step towards changing ingrained views regarding failure is to replace your irrational opinions about failure with the understanding that, as Robert Kiyosaki said, failure is part of the process of success and therefore, to avoid failure is also to avoid success. The truth remains that failures are going to happen on the journey to success and how one deals with them are the most important determinant of success.

The next step is to understand that failures are simply a sign of taking on challenges and that everyone has the ability to overcome failures. Then the last step is realising that there is a surplus of historical evidence that presses to the point that bouncing back after failure will only make an individual stronger and wiser.

And understanding these three truths will not only transform your mind, but will give you the fortitude and mental strength to persevere despite failure. Remember that the worst thing you can do to yourself is to let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses.



‘…once you have done the work to create a clear vision, it is the discipline and effort to maintain that vision that can make it all come true. The two go hand in hand. The moment you’ve created that vision, you’re on your way, but it is the diligence with which you stick to that vision that allows you to get there’ – Pete Carroll in his book, ‘Win Forever’

Here’s an unfailing truth: diligence is more important than natural talent. In fact, in several studies done to determine which, between diligence and natural talent, leads to success, diligence has always taken the lead. Always.

It comes, then, as common wisdom that a person simply cannot be dogged if the person is not disciplined and diligent. Diligence comes, in fact, as a condition precedent to developing doggedness. It is diligence that pushes a person to spend long hours learning, growing, engaging in deliberate practice, and putting in work irrespective of failures, obstacles and difficulties. Doggedness requires the ability to put one’s head down and go as hard as one can. It requires the ability to press on in the midst of impossibilities. And it is only diligence that grants a person the ability to do all that is required to be truly dogged.

All in all, doggedness is making the commitment to aggressively pursue goals that you believe in and value with discipline, tenacity and hard work. It is being ready to face all the risks that come one’s way in the journey to success. It is hard work, it is persistence, it is fierce determination. And it is impossible to succeed in life without cultivating doggedness.



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  1. Definitely a good read❤️

  2. An excellently educative piece (A must read by all)

  3. Really enjoyed impactful 🤍

  4. Great read, as usual.

  5. This is wonderful piece, Chibundom. Articulately and excellently written. I recommend this piece for anyone and everyone wanting to achieve success in life — because Doggedness is a needed quality to achieve desired success. Well done, my girl.👍🏻