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Take This for Tenacity

boy on plane

Take This for Tenacity – What a Boy on a Plane Can Teach Us About Steadfast Determination


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“Successful people are tenacious, which means they keep the faith much longer than the average person does.” 

– Jen Sincero, “You Are a Badass at Making Money”

How tenacious are you?

What is your stick-to-itiveness like?

Do you hold fast to whatever is you want in life? Or are you comfortable with, dare I say…settling? Click To Tweet

I recently read a story about a boy on a plane that has stuck with me. I laughed out loud the first time I read it.

Whenever I’m in need of a kick-in-the-pants reminder about not settling for anything less than my heart desires, I think of that determined kid on the plane and smile. Click To Tweet

Then I get back to work.

I came across the story in the hilariously brilliant book, “You Are a Badass at Making Money; Master the Mindset of Wealth,” by Jen Sincero.

“Successful people are tenacious,” writes Sincero, “which means they keep the faith much longer than the average person does. Because of this, the average person tends to look upon the successful person, before they have become successful, as insane, ridiculous, give it a rest already!”

“I remember seeing one of the most impressive displays of tenacity on a flight once while waiting for my plane to take off,” the author continues. “A woman came bursting on with her two sons just as they were closing the doors with that sweaty, disheveled, wild-eyed look.”

“We’re all sitting there,” Sincero explains, “a captive audience strapped into our chairs, watching her try to find a place for their luggage in the overhead compartments, deal with getting kids in their seats, and apologize to the entire plane for the holdup. She obviously booked the flight last minute, too, because they weren’t sitting together, they each had middle seats, one in front of the other, which made it even more difficult for her to get everyone settled.”

“But her real difficulty,” Sincero continues, “was with her older son, who refused to sit down. He was about nine years old, and as he watched his little brother climb into his middle seat, he quietly informed his mother that he wanted a window seat. She responded with something about him being out of luck and that he needed to sit down right now, to which he calmly replied, “No, I’m sitting by the window,” to which she hissed, “Sit down,” to which he said, “No,” to which she shot another apologetic look down the aisle.”

“I’m sitting there,” says Sincero, “trying to figure out if I should give him my seat and end her torture, give him a talking to, or hire him as my coach. I’d never seen such unshakable, calm resolve in the face of such great danger—an entire airplane full of pissed-off grown-ups. Yet this kid, without being bratty or pitching a fit, held his ground until the guy in front of me got up and switched seats with him.”

“His desire for, and vision of, his goal outweighed and blinded him to all other options: public humiliation, verbal abuse from adults other than his mother, no screen time for the rest of his life,” writes the author. “He had the stick-to-itiveness to pooh-pooh one of the biggest blocks to success known to man: the need to be liked and fit in.”

“Your desire to grow into who you’re meant to be,” advises Sincero, “must be firmly placed in the very front of your mind at all times—as must the specifics of the life you’re creating for yourself, and the feelings associated with it, so you have the courage to stay your course.”

Wow, wow, wow! I hope you find this story as inspiring and insightful as I did. Of course, I’m not a parent 🙂

But…when it comes to living our ideal life and reaching our highest potential, I do think it is imperative that we develop the tenacity to be able to stay focused on—and keep working towards—whatever it is we want—whether that’s a window seat on a plane, becoming the very best we can become at whatever it is that makes our heart soar, making the world a better place, running a business, thriving in a happy and healthy intimate relationship, and so on.

And a big piece of the tenacity puzzle is, of course, developing the wisdom, ability, and courage to say no to anything less.

How about you?

Where in your life do you exhibit tremendous tenacity? Click To Tweet
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Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.

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6 thoughts on “Take This for Tenacity”

  1. I guess everyone see things from a different perspective. But I didn’t see that story as inspiring. I see it as selfish. A 9 year old throwing a fit until he got what he wanted! There’s no way I would let my kid get away with that. He had lack of respect for his mother and every other person on that plane and he got rewarded for it. Yes it’s true some people get ahead in life by stepping on other people but it’s not right. And I do believe in karma. So the getting ahead in that way won’t last.

  2. Wow, we sure saw that story in a different way, Jac! Very interesting perspective you bring to it. I can see your perspective, too. But that’s not what I took from the story. I thought it was great how firm the kid stood his ground. But I can see your point. I suspect the author did a much better job than me (in her book) of telling the boy on the plane story in a way that illustrated her point of the importance of having tenacity. Context is key…and it may have got lost in the shuffle when I re-told the story in this blog.

  3. What an inspiring piece Maryanne, I was born in the ’60s and my basic upbringing was to be quiet, small, and most of all polite! It took forever for me to find my voice and the courage to speak my truth. I have raised four children, two girls and two boys, I tried very hard to encourage their voice, especially the girls. This sort of backfired in their teens but they grew into confident and successful people who I believe greatly benefit our world today. I am very susceptible to the opinions of others and I wish I was less so, this little vignette about the young boy inspires me to not only hold space for myself and stay there regardless of the opinions of others. Outstanding post Maryanne, lots of food for thought here, thank you. All my best, C

  4. Thank you so much for your comments & insights, Cheryl, on this blog! I resonate strongly with your experience…it took me forever to find my voice AND muster up the courage to use it (still working on that). I was raised to be polite and I am very thankful for that. But sometimes I take my politeness too far and don’t speak up because I don’t want to rock the boat. I hate conflict of any sort…still do!

    I have heard comments from a few people on this particular blog and I certainly understand people’s perspective that the boy’s behavior on the plane may be construed as crossing a line…between standing his ground for what he wanted and inconveniencing other people. I totally get that.

    But I think the FAR more important take-away, which I don’t think I captured in the blog (but the author did beautifully in her book) is this:

    We need to figure out what we want in our life. We need to get very clear on what we want to achieve, how we want to live, who we want to become, and how we are going to allow others to treat us. Then when we figure all this out, we need to stand our ground and stay true to our dreams and not settle for second best/the middle seat.

    Perhaps the boy on the plane story wasn’t the best way for me to illustrate this point. So I shall write a second blog to clarify my intended take-away/message 🙂

    Thanks again for reading the blog & posting feedback!
    Take care & happy writing!

  5. Hi MA

    I totally agree about having tenacity and standing up for what you feel is right. Also about finding your voice and standing your ground. Those are very important. Now as much as ever!
    Maybe it’s the mom in me that if I was in that mothers position I would not be a happy camper! I felt he stood his ground because it’s something he wanted. Not necessarily want he believed in. That’s all. It seemed more like a temper tantrum than standing up for a belief.

    My kids very much have a voice at home here and out in the world but they’d never show disrespect like that over a desire. And I think sometimes people let their kids get away with a incident like that because they think that it will do them good in life because it means they will have a strong voice. But I don’t think that’s the way to get a strong voice. We still always need to remain respectful even when we are standing up for ourselves. And that is quickly being lost in society right now.

    I appreciate how we can have a different perspective and that’s okay. I know you like feedback on your blogs. So I hope there was no offence. Just my take on it.

  6. Thanks for your feedback, Jac, and additional comments! I am glad you shared your perspective & insights on this particular blog. It gave me lots to think about…both in terms of standing up for one’s self – but also, from a writing perspective, in terms of choosing a story that will illustrate one’s key point/take-away clearly & effectively. But then again, sometimes it is these side tangents we go down, without planning to, where we learn the most!

    Take care & talk soon,

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