Through persistence comes strength – 継続は力なり

Through persistence comes strength | read more at marcikobayashi.com

During my first year in Japan, back in 1992, a dear friend taught me a Japanese saying. He wrote it on a piece of paper and tacked it to his wall. The saying was short and easy, and I’ve never forgotten it. I remember his handwriting, the paper, and even the color of the wall. Nearly 30 years later, that saying still guides me.

In Japanese, the saying is keizoku wa chikara nari. Keizoku means to continue doing something, to carry on, to persist at something, or persevere. Chikara means strength and power. Altogether, the saying implies that strength or power comes from carrying on with something.

Through persistence comes strength.

There are many similar sayings in English. They talk about having or asking for the strength to carry on. The English quotes imply that we first need the power, or need to find the strength to continue. This Japanese saying turns it around. We don’t need the strength to continue. Instead, we gain strength THROUGH our effort to keep going.

It makes perfect sense to me. The power of water and wind are two examples of how this works in nature. Trees and their slow growth into powerful beings are another. It also proves true in relationships and business.

I quit my last full-time job in December 1999 and have been my own boss since January 2000. At the time, I didn’t associate myself with the word entrepreneur and never imagined becoming an online entrepreneur. All I knew is that I had to keep going. I had to keep at it.

Like any tree, my business has lost some branches along the way and we’ve weathered a few storms, but I keep going.

Continuing is what makes me strong.

Though I have big dreams, I don’t have to accomplish everything all at once. I simply need to keep going, keep growing and keep doing a little more. And then a little more.

Some days I don’t feel like I have any power. Then I remember this saying and take one more little step. The action, however small, makes my blood flow, and then yes, I feel my power!

Note: This was originally published in September 2014 and was updated in January 2020.

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Marci. When I'm not writing, building websites, or coaching clients, I love walking the streets of Japan and discovering spirit in all shapes and forms. Here on the blog, you'll also get a peek into what it is like to live with and care for my Japanese father-in-law who has Alzheimer’s. Enjoy!

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2 Comments

  1. m.tokyo on September 17, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    You’ve been learning a lot from nature,right?
    You give me a courage. I’ll take one more little step to get my English goal.



    • Marci on September 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      Yes! Nature is always teaching me. Sometimes nature teaches me something I already knew and had simply forgotten. I think we have all the knowledge we need inside of us. Sometimes we forget how to access that knowledge and nature reminds us!