Rick Santorum-How Persistence Pays

I’ve been fascinated with the 2012 Republican primary process. A field of eight has narrowed to a field of four and of those only Ron Paul has had a steady following. After squeaking a win in the Iowa caucuses Santorum trailed significantly and many were wondering when he would follow his four compatriots in dropping out of the race.

But Rick Santorum persisted and kept showing up. It paid off. On February 7 he won two caucuses and a primary, putting him firmly back in the race.

Perseverance, or what some call grit, is an excellent leadership trait that is infrequently discussed. Research has shown it to have a measurable impact on success in education. Qualitative research reveals perseverance as a common thread among successful individuals.

This doesn’t mean that you should continue down a dead-end path on a project, however. Balance is needed when encountering obstacles. I find it helpful to keep one eye outside looking around to get a sense of whether or not it may be time to adapt and change course or stay on the current course.

And so, as I continue to monitor the Republican primary process I am reminded what the great sage Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Sometimes that’s all you have to do.


  • Perseverance frequently wins the race when others have caved
  • When obstacles arise exercise balance in deciding how much to look around for alternatives

Keywords: leadership, persistence, perseverance, grit


  • Doskoch, P. (2005). The winning edge. Psychology Today, 38(6), 42-52.
  • Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087
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