About Bite Down and Don't Let Go

Over almost two decades as an educational leader and another decade as a high school and collegiate athlete, few things have served me as well as the character trait of persistence. As I embarked on earning four degrees and a handful of certifications it not only required persistence but persistence seemed to be everywhere in the research I was conducting. During that same time, every theme I utilized with my varsity basketball teams seemed to promote persistence as well. Themes such as 'keep sawing', 'keep digging', 'keep chewing', 'don't let go', and 'get back on the bike' all highlighted the importance of persistence.

'Bite Down and Don't Let Go' was an idea that came about after reading a quote from John Calipari's book, "Players First" where he said an important lesson that coaches teach players is to 'not let go of the rope'. About the same time I read that, I came across this great story about Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister that led England courageously through World War II. I don't even know if it's true, but as my father says, 'don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.' The historical setting is that for the first part of World War II, the United States had not yet joined the war and England was the only real world power fighting the Nazis. The Nazis were mercilessly bombing England and things looked very bleak. Under these circumstances, Churchill gave his famous 'never give in. never, never, never...' speech and gained a reputation as incredibly persistent. Churchill often brought his bulldog to meetings with him. Someone finally gathered enough courage to ask Churchill why he had his bulldog with him. Churchill's response: 'He can breath without letting go.' Bulldogs have noses that are slanted backwards so they can plunge their face into something, bite down really hard, and hold on while still breathing in and out of their nose. What an incredible visual of persistence!

I don't know if I'm very good at being persistent, but I love the ideas and stories about it. The book I try to read the most, the Bible, speaks to persistence all of the time. One of my favorite writings in it is Proverbs 24:16, 'though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.' I also believe that the most valuable persistence stems from being intentional about anything...about everything. The most incredibly fulfilling things you'll experience in your life will probably require enormous persistence. And that is where all of these writing come from; a spirit of being intentional that produces persistence. Whatever you are facing in life or would like to accomplish in life, I'd encourage you to make a plan, bite down, and don't let go!'


Dr. Chris Hobbs is an educational leader and Director of Athletics at The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. He’s earned a few degrees and won some awards. He's happily married to his high school sweetheart and they have three teen age children. Life is messy and complicated most of the time. You can follow him on Twitter for all sorts of inspirational thoughts and good laughs.