Thursday, January 14, 2010


I took two years of typing class during my sophomore and junior years of high school. Our teacher was an eccentric older gentleman named D. W. Seay. He taught my brothers and sisters before me and I was lucky enough to have him as my teacher. What a valuable skill he taught me.

I mentioned that he was eccentric. He would often come out to our class and begin talking about a particular point having to do with good business practices and then get side-tracked and talk endlessly on other subjects completely foreign to the original topic. We loved it because it made the class hour zoom by and it was sometimes humorous.

He also had some persnickety rules for us to abide by. One was that when we approached his office, we were required to knock on his door handle, not on the wood side of the door itself, as this would get oils on the door and more quickly deteriorate the wood finish.

One day, I was typing on an assignment and needed a better word for the passage on which I was composing. I properly knocked on the door handle, he beckoned me in and I stated my plight. I told him I was searching for a word that was better than the word “stick-to-itiveness”. Without batting an eye he suggested the word “pertinacity’. I had never heard that word before, and I took his advice and used that word.

Pertinacity! Resolute, determined, purposeful.

It also suggests “sticking power.” There is a song in the Disney children’s movie Beauty and the Beast sung by the character Gaston. They use the phrase “Screw your courage to the sticking place.” I love that.

That means we have staying power, sticking power, fortitude to see to the end whatever we set out to accomplish.

How is your pertinacity? Do you have staying power?

People who write books have pertinacity.
People who aspire to become the President of the United States exhibit pertinacity.
Lance Armstrong had pertinacity to overcome his cancer and win the Tour de France bicycle races.
Abraham Lincoln had pertinacity.
Victor Frankl had pertinacity to endure the Nazi concentration camp for three grueling years.
Mother Theresa was the epitome of pertinacity in order to accomplish her important mission of demonstrating compassion to the world.
Runners who complete marathons have pertinacity.

Any great and worthy achievement is a monument to the spirit and attitude of pertinacity.

You go get ‘em! Show your pertinacity.

And “screw your courage to the sticking place”!

Michael Biggs is a speaker, writer, speech coach and vocal soloist. He lives in Edmonds, WA. with his wife Carolyn. His company is called Up-Words, “Offering Hope, Encouragement, and Inspiration One Word at a Time”. Michael’s business experiences include Director of Sales and Director of Marketing in music publishing, Regional Director for Sylvan Learning Centers, and retail sales/management, and sales success in insurance and real estate. He is available to speak to your business or organization. Please contact him at 206-349-1888 or email him at

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