The Power of Persistence

Machu Picchu and clouds

Machu Picchu, Peru

By Wael Abdelgawad |

Here’s a true story about the power of persistence:

Once, many years ago, I arrived in San Francisco on a warm July day with no friends, no contacts and only a little money in my pocket. I needed work. What I did have was confidence. I had been through some very hard times, and had learned to fight for what I wanted, and not to accept “no” for an answer.

I met a fellow who was a courier and he suggested that I try it. He gave me the names of some courier companies. I visited several and filled out applications, but there was one company in particular that I liked. It seemed well outfitted and professionally run. I spoke to the human resources manager and he told me that they did not need anyone but that I should check back in several months. “Summertime is slow here,” he said. “Try us in fall.”

I came back early the next morning. I couldn’t wait until autumn, and I wasn’t interested in sitting around and hoping for someone to look at my application and call me. I knew they had stacks of applications in filing drawers. I had decided where I wanted to work, and all that remained was for them to accept my reality.

The HR manager said, “Weren’t you here yesterday and I told you we don’t need anyone?” I said yes, but I thought maybe someone might call in sick and they could use me just for the day. The HR manager gave me an appraising look and said, “No, nothing like that. Why don’t you come back in a month?”

I came back the next day. This time the HR man smiled and said, “I’ll tell you what, come back in one week.”

I came back the next day. It was a Thursday. The HR man rolled his eyes in exasperation and said, “Listen. Come back on Monday and I’ll see what I can do.”

I came back the next day, Friday. He gave me a job starting that day. I worked for that company for five years and got promoted twice.

That’s a true story.

I know it’s harder nowadays with the economy in shambles. I’m not guaranteeing that you can get a job by following these tips. But it will certainly help your chances, Insha’Allah. And if you take that same persistence and apply it to every endeavor in your life, I believe you will find that even mountains will crumble before you.

And Allah knows best.

I’m really not a fan of Madison Avenue’s ubiquitous ad messages, but there was a Nike ad that I saw once that really resonated for me. In fact I tore it out of the magazine and pasted it up on the wall, right beside my bed. It said:

All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you’re not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you’re the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no’s become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly.


May Allah help all of you and provide for you and your families.

(O Allah), Guide us to the straight path; The path of those whom you have favored; Not those with whom you are angry; Nor those who go astray.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including and, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project,, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , Read 266 articles by
2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Zuber says:

    Awesome!!…. and I’m gonna ‘Just DO IT’ ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Magda says:

    This is inspiring. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

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