Be Persistent (The Brother’s Keeper #65)


Even Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men
Letter Thirteen: Be Persistent

Dear Y.B.M.,

You might be talented. You might be educated. You might be well-trained. But, all of that means nothing if you aren’t persistent. Persistence is what sets apart people who accomplish things and who are consistently successful from people who don’t accomplish things and who are not successful on a consistent basis. If you want to make an impact in life, you must be persistent.

The following verses from Scripture compel us to be persistent in all manner of things:

We ought to be persistent in doing good so that we might reap the rewards. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We ought to be persistent in prayer. Luke 18:1 says, “Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

We ought to be persistent in the pursuit of righteous living. Proverbs 24:16 says, “A just man falleth seven times, but he riseth up again.”

We ought to be persistent in pursuing the things that we need and the good things that we desire. Luke 11:9-10 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Persistence is very important if you want to live a life of fulfillment and blessing. Here are three keys to developing persistence in your life.

First, develop strong habits. If something in your life is working well for you, keep doing that thing over and over again. A car engine works the same way every time you turn the ignition. The car doesn’t decide that it wants to try out a new way to drive every day. Likewise, you must have strong habits if you are going to be persistent in life. Successful people don’t feel like doing everything that they do. But, they discipline themselves and do some things like getting up at 5 AM, spending an hour with God every day, and eating healthily instead of buying fast food, through force of habit.

Second, develop the ability to adjust. Just because someone is persistent, that does not mean everything goes their way all of the time. Persistent people get just as many roadblocks in their way as non-persistent people. The difference is, a persistent person will adjust, adapt, and roll with the punches. While you must have strong habits to succeed in life, you must not be so rigid that you freeze up when the unexpected comes your way. And, rest assured, the unexpected will come your way.

Third, develop a learning mentality. Persistent people are always pushing into new territory, and they must take the time to learn about the environments they find themselves in. A persistent person is humble, knowing that, at times, he must stop to learn about what lies ahead. Persistent people are not arrogant; they are willing to learn from others, particularly those who have walked a similar path. The knowledge you gain today may very well benefit you tomorrow.

In much of life, your success is up to you and your willingness to work hard, adjust well, and learn more.

Be persistent,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

Be Authentic (The Brother’s Keeper #63)


Dear Y.B.M.,

The people of your generation have come up with a term that embodies what this letter is all about — “keeping it 100,” which is synonymous with what we used to call “keeping it real.” A “real” person, a person who is “keeping it 100” is someone who is authentic. The words means: “not false or copied; genuine; real; representing one’s true nature or beliefs.” Authenticity has a lot to do with honesty, which we talked about in a previous letter. But, while honesty has to do with being truthful with your tongue, authenticity has to do with being truthful with your life.

The world is full of people who are trying to be like someone else. They curb and contort their lives, their personalities, and their passions in order to fit a mold that they have determined to fit. This lack of authenticity runs through big decisions like career choices and educational pursuits, to seemingly little things like the way we dress or the cars we drive. This lack of authenticity also causes us to hide our flaws and shortcomings, and other parts of our lives that we think others may not approve of or accept. But this kind of living is living a lie.

Authenticity is all about living truthfully — whether those truths be bad or good. If it is a bad truth about your life (a sin), then you must confess and repent of it, and strive to do right. But don’t lie about it. When we are inauthentic, we are walking in darkness, and that is not pleasing to God. First John 1:6-7 tells us, “If we walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Jesus commands us to be authentic in our behavior when he said in Matthew 5:37, “Let your communication [your lifestyle, the way you live] be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” An authentic person is one who is not performing for the sake of others, but is living fully in the life that God has given him. Being authentic lifts a tremendous burden off your heart and mind. If you have confessed your sins and are striving to do right, you can live freely, knowing that the only Person you have to please is God. He gave you the personality, the looks, and the abilities that you have, and you ought never to feel like you have to be like someone else.

Be authentic,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

C.S. Lewis said, “There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Christ will indeed give you a real personality. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.”

Brené Brown said, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

Charles Swindoll said, “I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.”

Albert Camus said, “Above all, in order to be, never try to seem.”